The Blessings of Miracles
We are forever grateful for the many miracles we have seen occur on this farm. Miraculous stories of amazing healings and of lives that have forever touched ours. We may be the human caretakers for these incredible beings, but they are the teachers. We have learned so much about faith and hope and never giving up. Below are some of those stories. We hope they touch your heart the way they have touched ours.
- Barak - The story of a feral cat finding his way to a new life
- Hannah - A heart-warming story about a Pit mix and her healing and growth.
Barak upon arrival - left
Barak 6 months later - right
Barak was a barn cat at a local farm. One day in May, he wandered into the barn in horrific shape. Something had attacked him, badly cutting his neck open from ear to ear, as well as many other puncture wounds all over his body. The wounds were not fresh and were probably several days old. Infection and decay had set in. He was brought to SFC as part of a feral cat spay/neuter program. Barak was semi-feral. He would come around people but not let anyone touch him. An immediate decision had to be made whether to euthanize him or to try to treat him. Dawn was called in to see what Barak wanted to do, and two vets began to try to at least examine the extent of his injuries. He was first sedated, and then they began clipping around his wounds so that they could determine how bad he was injured. It was bad. Not only was the wound to his neck severe, but he had many others all over his body and infection and necrotic tissue was already setting in. But even with all of that, Barak told Dawn that he wanted to give it a try and he wasn't ready to end his life just yet. We knew it would be a long haul if he were to recover and we would need his full cooperation to treat him. He signed on so we did too.
The veterinarians cleaned him up as best they could. He was put on antibiotics and pain meds, and he was also put on a 6 month rabies watch, as we did not know what had attacked him. The rabies watch added an additional level of concern. He would have to live in isolation with only our senior staff members handling him. Again, we went to Barak, and again he still wanted to try. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle.
Barak did not want to be handled. But his neck wound needed to be treated and examined daily. The vets thought that he would require plastic surgery to eventually close the wound. But first we needed to see if we could stop the infection. Our staff treated him by using a long flexible "wand" with a gauze pad taped to the end. Barak would let them do that and amazingly it worked. But a few days into treatment, it was clear that things were not looking good. We changed course and began treating his wounds with a homeopathic regimen. The effect was almost immediate. Daily we could see the wound changing from dead tissue to new living tissue. And soon, right before our eyes, the wound began to close. When the veterinarians examined him 2 weeks later, they could not believe their eyes. The remarkable healing journey of Barak was well on its way. The photos tell it all.
Six months later, a healthy and gorgeous Barak, was taken off of rabies watch and integrated into our feral cat room. He spent the first couple of weeks hiding but today he is starting to come out and move about the room. We have seen him lounging on the top of a cat tree, and spending time with his new cat companions. He clearly is happy and content and very happy that he made the decision to stay. We are amazed and honored to have helped him. To many, he was just a feral cat that should have been euthanized. But to the veterinarians who wanted to give it a go, to our staff who dedicated so much time to treating him, and to all of us here at the farm, he is a wonder and a precious being, as deserving as any other being for a chance to live his life.
And this photo is Barak today! The once feral cat that we'd only see streaking across the room and hiding at all costs, suddenly has become one of the most loving cats you can imagine. He follows us around the room begging for attention. He loves to be picked up and held and snuggled. We know that just the right person is going to fall in love with him and take him home. A cat that was nearly dead, who wanted nothing to do with people, stretched and grew to an amazing degree. We are so proud of this guy and how he faced his fears and learned to trust again. Everyone here is in love with Barak. The photo says it all!
Hannah's story is not a miracle that happened quickly, but her's is a story of a miraculous turn-around and healing for a dog who had very little hope to make it in this world. Hannah's story represents what Spring Farm CARES is all about. But it didn't just happen by accident or luck. An enormous amount of work by several humans and most especially the work of Hannah herself made this all a success. This is the story of a dog who reached far outside of her comfort zone, who learned to trust in a way she never had to trust, and who bravely walked into a new experience and made it her own. This is a happy tale.
Hannah is a pit bull/beagle mix who arrived at our farm in May 2003 at less than one year old. She was a live wire who was very energetic, very confused, and very chaotic. She wasn't supposed to stay with us. We had picked her up from a lot where she was tied to the bumper of a junked car and left there. It was Memorial Day and nothing could be done but she was supposed to be transferred the next day to a rescue group who dealt exclusively with pit bulls. Unfortunately, as we went to transfer her, they informed us they couldn't take her. In fact, no one wanted her. So she stayed. Her stay soon turned into a nightmare when we discovered she was dog aggressive and had a very high prey drive and wanted to go after the cats. Handling her safely began to be really difficult. Yet, under the chaos of a constantly hyper-active, off the wall, unthinking dog, was a heart of gold. All of us knew that dog was in there, but it was buried under a lot of rubble. A local humane investigator thought he may have traced her origins back but could never confirm it. It appeared though that the rest of her littermates met their demise at a shelter after they had bite incidents. We realized in short order that Hannah would be staying with us. In fact, the question arose more than once if we'd have to euthanize her if her behavior became dangerous.
There was no other way around it. Hannah was a difficult dog. She shredded anything we gave her in her room. She stole things and then would growl if anyone came near her. She would spring at her door growling and snarling when anyone walked by. Then one of our staff members took a real liking to her and began working with her. Hannah adored him and did anything for him. She began to get some manners and began to learn about life outside her room. She got to spend days at his desk with him, go for rides in the car with him, and even meet people at humane education events. A new Hannah began to emerge.
Unfortunately, when another job took that staff person away, Hannah no longer had that special person in her life she could trust. Our staff moved into action and began working with her. Slowly, over many years, she became more reliable. But for several years, there were only 2 or 3 people who handled her. No one else liked her. And no one else trusted her. And it began to eat away at her psyche. Again we began to ask the question just what kind of life did she have here?
But something happened that changed Hannah's life forever. We moved a big Newfoundland/Chow mix named Prince into the room next to hers. They could touch noses and socialize through their wire wall. She loved him. It was clear that her Prince had come. The friendship that followed for these two dogs was enormous. Prince who was so thunder phobic that he chewed through walls, calmed down being next to Hannah's strong presence. And Hannah who seemed so difficult and "hard", watched how everyone was with Prince and began to soften.
In the last couple of years, we have learned that Hannah is slowly going blind. We weren't sure how she was going to deal with that. But during this same time, people have watched how Hannah has changed. They began treating her differently. Now she has several human friends who walk her, sit with her, play with her, and trust her. It is a trust she has earned. It is a love she deserves. And it is a story that just keeps getting better. Sadly, Prince died this summer. Again, we worried as to how Hannah would handle this. But Hannah reached out through her grief to the people she had come to trust and love.
This Christmas we witnessed the culmination of an incredible miracle. It took over 7 years, but we stood with tears in our eyes as the real Hannah emerged. One of our small animal caretakers, Caitlin, has been especially good with Hannah. Every Friday, when she cashes her paycheck on her lunch break, she takes Hannah with her. Hannah goes to the bank drive-thru where she is quite well-known now and gets her weekly cookie. And then its off to whatever fast food place they are going, and its lunch with Caitlin. Many times she is given a toy from the fast food place and Caitlin brings those back to the farm with her where they are put in Hannah's window, like the trophies that they are. Trophies of a champion who beat the odds and ended up with an amazing life. Each toy signifying the trust that now surrounds her and that she has earned each and every step of the way.
On Christmas morning, Caitlin arrived with a huge wrapped gift for Hannah. It was a huge package filled with stuffed toys and treats - all of Hannah's favorite things. We stood at the door and watched an amazed Hannah. At first, she didn't know what to do. Then Caitlin showed her how to push on it with her foot and open it. Hannah took the first toy out and ran to her chair with it. Caitlin showed her there was more. She couldn't believe it. "More? You brought this all for ME?" Hannah was beside herself with joy.
I cannot tell you what it felt like to witness this transformed dog. A dog who has grown past her own fears, her own insecurities, to become a dog who is loved, adored, and cherished. Seven years ago, we'd never have thought this possible. What this dog has learned in this lifetime and how she has grown as a being is incredible. It wasn't easy, for us or for her, but to see the happiness she has found in her life is a miracle. To see how much she is loved by so many people now touches our hearts deeply. To understand the role that Prince played in all of this is also very touching.
A life that was once filled only with chaos now finally makes sense to her. It is a transformation we are proud to be a part of and witness.