Dear Spirit to Spirit friend,
This past weekend I was at Catskill Animal Sanctuary in Saugerties, NY for a special event: a celebration of the sanctuary pilot program that provides vegan mentors for those who want to transition to a vegan lifestyle:
I am honored to be part of the program and serve as a mentor.
As part of our event, we were given an up close and personal tour with the animals. We spent a great deal of time with the cows- Tucker, here in the photo. Now a 3,000 pound gentle giant, he was rescued as a baby from a petting zoo. A mom and child who visited him frequently and loved him dearly- when they learned that he was no longer considered useful and was going to be sent to slaughter, they rescued him.
We met Sadie, a shy being who had suffered terribly as a dairy cow years ago and still, at 23 years of age, finds it difficult to trust humans. Youngsters Benjamin- rescued as a baby from a beef farming facility that was closing. And Blossom, rejected by her mom at a beef industry farm and brought to sanctuary. Miraculously, Sadie decided to adopt them and in that action she began to heal her wounds of being deprived of being a mom in her early life.
One of the most touching moments was with Sadie. As we came closer to her and her "kids"- even though we were quiet and at a respectful distance- she took up a protective stance and watched us closely. As we stood softly nearby, acknowledging her beauty and her choice, admiring her young ones, we saw her make a decision. She decided that we were okay, that we could be trusted. She moved away from her youngsters and went off to graze and let us stroke and scratch and coo over her babies. That broke my heart wide open- witnessing her decision to trust us with what is most precious to her in life.
As I stood there, I found myself pondering, about each unique being, each unique life and story. Here at the sanctuary, we have the privilege of meeting just a few of the billions of farmed animals on our planet. We get to discover the heart, the soul, the intelligence, the charm, wit and humor...the heartache and healing challenges of each individual. We get to know this one being. And, it is easy to assume that this one is special- which s/he is!- but somehow different than the others that we don't see. The others that make up the numbers of animals we cannot imagine.
It's easy to forget, to not be able to hold in our minds and hearts that each one of those billions of animal beings is no different than Sadie, Tucker, Blossom and Benjamin. Each one of those that we do not know is equally smart and clever and loving in his/her own way. Each one- each one animal being- whether we know him/her or not- IS this one. IS this sweet Tucker, this cautious learning to trust Sadie, this joyous Benjamin and darling Blossom.
Each and every homeless animal, each and every shelter animal, each and every farmed animal, each and every wild animal...each one is this one. If we could meet each and every one, we would experience the uniqueness, the preciousness, gloriousness of that soul... of that one.
Can we look around our world and see that each one..is...this one.
That each one...is...Tucker, Sadie, Benjamin, Blossom.
That each one...is...our animal beloved.
Each one...truly...is...this one.
In Gratitude & Love, Joanna