Our end of year newsletter is not only a call to action – a call for your financial help so that we can continue operating – it is also chock-a-block full of news about animals and reflections on sanctuary life. Well worth a read!
“It takes a long time to become young.” – Pablo Picasso
When I’m called out to shear sheep or alpacas for people, they might point to an animal and say, “oh sorry, that one is old.” But they should be glad! Their animal has had a long life. She might require more gentle handling, a soft touch, that is all. And you KNOW she’s seen it all. I think there is much to be said for having seen it all: we oldies carry a certain acceptance, calm and, most importantly, humor. And so, this letter celebrates “Aging with Gusto!”
― George Burns
Sometimes people witnessing a physical weakness in their loved ones (animal or human) wrongly assume an accompanying mental decline. They may speak to them as though they are unintelligent or “out to lunch”. What a terrible mistake! Everyone wants to be spoken to like an adult—even a goat. Probably especially a goat. Because we take in so many aged ones, we anticipate the physical changes: preparing safe and cozy spaces, specially made food (soft mash for those with fewer teeth), coats for those who grow less hair, medicine for arthritis, lots and lots of hearty love, and, it should go without saying, intelligent conversation. One of the main missions of Star Gazing Farm is to provide a soft landing spot for elderly (“retired”) animals.
Please, won’t you donate to Star Gazing Farm to help us give the best care possible to these precious beings? $50, $100, $500—whatever you can afford to send as a gift will help ensure that each and every resident has their specific needs attended to.
The passage of time sometimes means losing your best friend, and quite often without warning. That’s why we have an active “lonely hearts club” here. Our lonely hearts adoptees usually adjust within days, often claiming their new “mate” almost immediately, such as Dingy the 18 year old llama who found his love Pepper here, and Caroline the widowed 12 year old Pygora goat who told Tony from day one that he was HERS. (He was fine with that since he had just recently lost his lifelong friend Vinnie). Lonely hearts are temporary at this farm.
We value and treasure our elderly animals; they have lived long lives, and have also escaped so much: a lonely euthanasia at the pound; the betrayal of the slaughterhouse; the willful ignorance of abandonment. The old ones are a daily miracle and we love them. Won’t you please make a gift to help? Your tax-deductible contribution of $50, $100, $500, or even $1,000 goes right into purchasing feed, bedding, and veterinary services and supplies.
Thank you on behalf of the animals!
“I’ve seen a lot in my day”
I remember it as though it were yesterday. Henry and I had escaped from a horrible place. We were running down the road and were pretty excited about being free (although I remember wondering where we’d find dinner that night) when it came to pass that some humans in uniforms drove by and
put us in a big growling metal machine. I was nervous and I pooped. A lot. Poor Henry just shook from head to tail. Then came the cages. The murmurings, “very unsocialized”, “unfriendly”, “what are we going to do with them?”
But a miracle happened.
This lady showed up and talked to us in words we understood; she had a lot of hair on her clothing and she smelled good; there was lovely manure on her shoes! She asked us, “hey, are you guys farm dogs?” I don’t know how he found his nerve, but Henry piped right up and said, “ayup!” That was a good day. Henry was my best and only friend for a long time. But previous beatings had left his spine damaged and shortened his life. Finally, though, he did learn to trust people. I grieved so terribly for Henry; but what I could not ever anticipate was that this farm is a never-ending stream of friendships. Sam the big white caretaker dog helped me in my low moments, and Evelyn the kitty cat would swoosh her lovely long tail in front of my nose. They have also both joined Henry, and how pleased he must have been to see them again! Now… look, I’m a pretty down to earth dog. I like to roll around in smelly things and cover my already messy coat with pine shavings which I drag into the house with me. I don’t chant or look at crystals or read my horoscope. But there is a feeling at this farm…. like everyone who has been here is still here, and the ones who have not yet arrived, are somehow already here, too. Ok I’ve said it. Had to get that off my hairy chest. It’s a cool place.
Please give to help us dogs because we really eat a lot (especially Winston – sorry dude, but it’s true) and our veterinary care costs a LOT. Any amount will help! I’m just so glad that, as I get older, I know no one will put me out on the street. Or turn me into the animal shelter. Or just replace me with a puppy. I used to work full time, looking after the sheep and goats, but now I sleep next to my human’s bed and sometimes her foot edges out from under the covers and gives me massages! Eight years ago such a thing would have been unthinkable. The money you have sent us has helped me directly. Without you, I would not have so many wonderful friends. Without you, I wouldn’t even be here. My farm needs your continued financial support. Will you help my farm today by making a donation? You can donate in so many ways: on the Internet through our web site (stargazingfarm.org/donate), through Venmo (@Star-GazingFarm), by writing a check, by coming to our visiting days, or by sending us some of the supplies we need. Please, help us maintain this kind and just place where everyone is given a chance. It’s amazing what you can help us do. And we need you.
Please donate to Star Gazing Farm—my home. Woof!
The new kids on the block
What wonderful friends we welcomed to the sanctuary this year! Some young and hale and hearty (Hank, Lucy, Winston), some older but hanging in there (Dingy and Caroline), and some with serious medical needs.
Both Gilbert and Wilbur had, initially, very poor prognoses. Incredibly, the miracle of veterinary medicine plus persistence on the part of the surgeons ushered them into recovery. Both were hospitalized for quite a while, but they are back home and SO adorable. I expect they have completely forgotten the pain they were once in—and that is the point, isn’t it! We are so grateful that they could be helped, although the hospital bills exceeded $12,000, putting our veterinary budget in the red.
The thing is, once we promise to take in an animal, we do absolutely everything we can for them that is reasonable and humane, sometimes at great cost. Without your help, we could not promise to take
in such animals in need. But we really do need more donations to help us with veterinary costs.
Could you please help us by donating $50, $100, or even $500 to help make sure we can always afford to treat the sick and wounded who come to us?
If a particular animal resonates with you, you can also sponsor one or more—for yourself, or as a gift for your animal loving friends and family. Sponsors can come and hang out with “their” animals!
(stargazingfarm.org/sponsor) Join us in caring for and enjoying these amazing animals.
In Loving Memory
“How lucky am I to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” – A.A. Milne
Rudy & Roger
Life and death are inextricably intertwined, and those of us who care for living beings will ultimately be called upon to bear witness to their passing. Saying goodbye (and often making painful decisions) is the hardest aspect of running a sanctuary. Each of us at the sanctuary strives to develop discernment and a deep respect for life’s process. We grieve when our friends leave, but we also know we have given them dignity. Always.
Hail the furry and feathered travelers!
Watch Our Calendar
Stay tuned for dates and details on our early
JANUARY: Fundraiser at Seven Locks Brewery (some of our animals in attendance!)
FEBRUARY: Valentine’s Day Animal KissFest
MARCH: Celebration of Life: memorial service for animals who have passed on. Visitors are encouraged to bring photos and memories of their beloved pets.
The Golden Years Barn Project
Three years ago we started a campaign to raise funds to build a new barn—a beautiful open space to accommodate our older large animals in inclement weather, with a modular open-model stall area for our smaller infirm animals. The structure will also double as an event and learning space. BUT…COVID hit and life went on hold for so many activities including our barn. Subsequently, prices of lumber have skyrocketed and now we find ourselves in the position of needing to raise more funds to be able to build this very important shelter.
The exciting news is that the preparation stage for construction has been done: trenching for electricity (to put up a new sub panel at the old barn) and water lines (new frost-free hydrants!). The barn pad has been created and leveled, and swales made for proper drainage around the site. The bad news is that the cost of putting up the structure has nearly tripled from the time we started planning. We really need your help on this! Please visit stargazingfarm.org/barnraising to learn more about the project and donate.