Above, Flurry and Dodi watch visitors at our annual Open House, Memorial Garden event and 8th Annual Ride for Their Lives, an annual summer happening at Home for Life.
Where has summer gone? Today is Labor Day and fall is upon us. We had a short summer but once warm temperatures finally arrived, the weather was hot and tranquil with no major storms or tornadoes as with previous years. We are thankful for the serenity summer brought when contrasted to the uproar many parts of the country had to contend with.
The only day that was strange weather-wise was July 30, the day of our Open House. The forecasts were all uniformly optimistic: 85 degrees and sunshine. But just as everything got rolling, a wierd cold front blew in, and it seemed like a raincloud parked itself right over the sanctuary and downpoured on everyone. Guests and staff ran for the tents. Then just as suddenly, the clouds withdrew, and the sky cleared. According to Herb Sam, the Native American Spiritual Advisor who presides over our annual Memorial Garden event, the wind was the spirits of the Home for Life animals who had passed the previous year, making their presence known that day.
We had a great turn out of riders this year- about 85-90 bikes . Here they are arriving to the song "Ride with the Wind" Thanks to DJ Matt for creating great musical ambiance for the day!
Our tours are always escorted but on event day, we open the doors to all the buildings and post staff and volunteers so guests can wander and visit the animals as they like. Below some of the supporters greet small dogs in the feline leukemia building: Pumpkin and wirehair fox terrier, 15 year old Christopher Robin, who uses a cart now to help him get around town.
Above guests pet 14 year old italian greyhound Marco while feline leukemia kitty Pricilla makes sure every hair is in place. In the next photo, Herb Sam blesses the ashes of our animals who have passed the previous year during the moving Memorial Garden ceremony.
Mark was at the sanctuary in August this year to capture the Home for Life animals savoring the wonderful summer weather. This extraordinary photo of one of our senior dogs, brown lab mix Molly, captures the natural beauty of the sanctuary grounds. Something about being in nature, being able to run on real grass,feel the sunshine and wind and smell the breeze, is very soothing to animals. I think many behavior problems seen in dogs are due to their being so disconnected from the earth,and the opportunity to run and play outdoors as dogs were meant to do. We see amazing improvements with many dogs surrendered to Home for Life for behavior issues, especially nervous and anxious dogs like Molly, who finally have the chance to be outside and enjoy the natural world around them.
Summer also brings the chance to take our dogs swimming on the Apple River on humid, hot days. Our paraplegic dogs and dogs who have suffered terrible injuries, like Kitchee, can build their muscles and flexibility safely as they are buoyant and weightless in the water. The river's gentle current provides the perfect resistance for the dogs to swim against to restore their mobility and strength in a safe and fun way.