A Blessing on Home for Life: Guest Blog by Rev Candee Moser,Trinity Luthern Church,Stillwater,MN

Our annual open house, Memorial Garden event and Ride for Their Lives was July 21. The day started off with pouring rain so while we had a nice turn out, most people arrived via cars. At the event guests enjoyed a summer picnic lunch, had the opportunity to meet our animals and staff and see our facility, and be part of our touching Memorial Garden event, where the cats and dogs who have passed away the previous year are remembered and cherished. We thank Reverend Candee Moser of Trinity Luthern Church of Stillwater, MN, for the heartfelt and touching ceremony she conducted in honor of our beloved HFL animals. Photographer Susan Wagoner visiting from Michigan commemorated some of the highlights of this special day. See more of her photos here.

Below is an article by Reverend Moser about her impressions of Home for Life and her visit to the sanctuary. The article was published in Trinity's September,2012 newsletter. Rev. Moser has graciously allowed us to reprint it here:
On July 21, I had the privilege and honor of officiating at the annual memorial service at Home for Life. Home for Life is an animal sanctuary located on 40+ acres on the Apple River near Star Prairie, WI. It provides lifetime, loving care for cats, dogs, birds and other animals, some with special needs who cannot find a home, but who can still lead a quality life.
Sanctuary employees have great empathy for animals that is then passed on to others through various community outreach programs. Sanctuary residents that have been rehabilitated after past rejection and neglect are then able to give back in such positive, life-changing ways that are impossible to measure. For example:
  • Peace Creatures is a collaborativev program with the Tubman Family Alliance of the Twin Cities and the Women of Nations Shelter in St. Paul that uses volunteers, staff and animals from the Sanctuary to teach peaceful conflict resolution to families impacted by violence.
  • The Renaissance Project pairs younger dogs with at-risk teens from several local high schools. The teens train the dogs and bring them on visits for therapy work with the elderly, families at domestic abuse shelters and patients at the University of MN Medical Center- Fairview and the Minneapolis Veterans Administration Medical Center.
  • Sit*Stay*Heal serves adults and children who are hospitalized at Fairview University Hospital. In addition, the animals provide comfort to those at the Aseracare Hospice facility in the Twin Cities. Injured veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan receiving treatment at the Minneapolis VA Medical Center’s Polytrauma Unit, one of just four such units in the country, are also the beneficiaries of the healing love and acceptance of these animals.
  • Through the Senior Outreach Program, Home for Life staff, volunteers and animal residents visit nursing homes throughout the Twin Cities for therapy work with the elderly. God has blessed us with amazingly beautiful creatures who love us unconditionally, comfort us, offer us companionship and bring us joy. And God calls us to be good stewards in how we care for them. I’m thankful that Home for Life offers these animals a second chance and in doing so, offers humans a second chance and/or improves the quality of life for all involved.

Rev Candee Moser's first dog, Joe the dalmatian
After spending some time at the Sanctuary, speaking with Lisa LaVerdiere, the executive director, observing the bond between the animals and those who care for them and meeting “Candy,” a 20-year-old male cockatoo, who is also the Home for Life mascot, I was moved to action. I now sponsor a beautiful Dalmatian – the same breed as my very first dog – who, at the age of 5 months, was found starving and beaten by the side of the road.

A kind, loving farmer found her and brought her to the Animal Ark in Hastings and in turn, they brought her to Home for Life. Now she returns loving kindness to others as a certified therapy dog. Oh, and by the way, her name is “Faith!”