Today, with much sadness we have proof of Steinbeck’s quote. Bonnie, our sanctuary figurehead and first rescue, passed away (surrounded by her goat friends) early last evening from gastrointestinal cancer. She was the sweetest elderly lady who enjoyed basking in the sun, snacks, kisses and rubs between her horns. A true lady, she preferred to do her “business” outside of the barn and had discriminating eating tastes, she’d turn her nose up to banana peels. She came to us early summer from here in Shenandoah Valley. At around 16 years, we knew then that each day we had her as part of our family was a gift so we worked hard to shower her “golden years” with constant love. She made us legit, she made us ramp up the rescue work and most importantly- she made us love.
Bonnie pausing just long enough for a glamour shot
Thank you Bonnie for touching the lives of many, you are a true blessing. In her memory we will continue our farm animal sanctuary work and share her story with visitors, as her story IS the story of Peaceful Fields sanctuary. We are comforted by the knowledge that it was not a long, painful battle with tumors and thanks to the compassion of doctor Fred and team for both her care and fighting in her corner with non-stop treatment. Her remains will be cremated and we’ll pay tribute to her memory. Thank you to our supporters and friends who have helped Bonnie along the way with snacks, prayers, well wishes and sponsorship/gifts. Thank you sweet Bonnie, rest in peace.
Bonnie, enjoying Jennifer & John’s wedding bouquet.
Bonnie the day of her arrival to PFS!
Meet Beatrice who arrived today at Peaceful Fields!
She came from Harper’s Ferry, WV where she has been seen wandering in a neighborhood for months. We don’t know if she initially escaped or was set loose/abandoned. Patrick and Nena have been kindly keeping an eye on her and when it got cold made some shelter and provided food and water. As it isn’t legal to have chickens in the town, they reached out to us to see if we could provide her a forever home. It was quite the tense trip with bad winter weather and road conditions but we made it there and back safely.
Beatrice is settling in at her new home and getting acquainted with many new friends. She seems to be in good health from our initial exam. Help us welcome Beatrice, the hen a snow storm couldn’t stop and thank you to Patrick and Nena for their compassion, care and sponsorship of Beatirce! Kind people like that give hope and a bright future for animal friends in need. Isn’t she beautiful?! The iridescent sheen as the light plays on the jet black plumage is awesome. She might be a Black Australorpe.
She’s sweet and enjoys being held. Quick as well, like Miss Prissy. Be sure to follow along as she enjoys life at the sanctuary!
Thursday we were contacted by a friend, Valerie. Her friends Dan and Beth found an injured chicken on the side of the road near their home by Harrisonburg, VA. She was injured but alive and had likely fallen off a transport truck. When asked we agreed to take her even though we were already at capacity. We just couldn’t say no! Chickens are fairly delicate and can sometimes have broken legs, wings or necks as a result of their rough handling. The goal when they load the transport truck with chickens is speed, not the safety or comfort of the birds. Food and water is usually withheld from them before transport as well. During their transport they are not protected from the elements at any time of the year. How scared they must be.
So on that cold and windy February day in Virginia an entire family’s heart warmed to a hungry, thirsty, broken little chicken. Dan and Beth have four young children, and their four year old girl Emma, named her after a popular Disney character, Elsa. We made contact with them on Friday and they were happy to bring Elsa to us on Saturday afternoon. They purchased food for her and got some straw for bedding and took very good care of her while she awaited her new home. As a result of her fall she has some abrasions which Beth reported had healed up considerably since they first found her. Her lower beak has a small crack, but she was eating and drinking just fine! She did lay a broken egg, which is not unusual given the circumstances. She doesn’t appear to have any broken bones.
So Dan and Beth and their children took a road trip to give Elsa her forever home. And we really enjoyed their visit! The kids had a fun time petting and feeding the chickens, and we were happy to educate Dan and Beth on the grim conditions chickens face in “modern agriculture”. They seemed very receptive and we hope the compassion that Elsa ignited will carry though to other aspects of their life. We have two missions at Peaceful Fields Sanctuary. The first and most important is, of course, to provide a safe loving home for animals, but the other is to educate people and to help them realize they too can live happy, healthy lives without harming the wonderful souls that exist within every animal.
Elsa is now resting on our porch, still healing from her ordeal. She has some more healing to do before joining the rest of the flock and just needs some peace and quiet we suspect. I just love the honesty and pureness of heart with which children speak. Emma, the four year old, and I (Jen) were talking and she told me two things that melted my heart. First she said she no longer wanted to be a baker when she grew up, she now wants to be an animal doctor. How exciting! The second, and most profound is that she will no longer eat animals. I told her they are too nice to eat anyway. She nodded in agreement. She made my day. They all want to come back and visit Elsa and all the other animals in the Spring and we would be delighted to have them visit again. Thank you Dan and Beth for stopping when you saw a soul in need of compassion and thank you Valerie for reaching out to us. Elsa is in good hands and will warm many more hearts in her lifetime, I’m sure.