Saturday, September 9, wasn’t an ordinary visiting day (wonderful as they are!) at Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Rather than welcoming the public from 10 to 2pm, CAS welcomed 200 ASPCA staffers and friends, including President and CEO Ed Sayers, for the organization’s annual picnic. I think I can speak for many of us in stating that it was one of the most meaningful days in our history.
As we waited for most folks to arrive on buses, the early birds clustered around the chicken house to meet Jailbird the rooster. And honestly I’m not sure who was more excited—the ASPCA, many of whom were meeting farm animals for the first time; the CAS crew, profoundly honored to have the chance to share our haven, and to say to devoted animal advocates, “See who these guys are, too;” or Jailbird. Jailbird loves visitors, and perhaps even sensed that he had a job to do!
Our guests went on hayrides, planted herbs and took them home, and ate a scrumptious lunch prepared by Chef Roni Shapiro of Healthy Gourmet to Go. Children made masks and played educational games in the children’s tent, and grown-ups watched our videos on a screen in the hay room. All the while, the booty-shakin’ bluegrass music of Two Dollar Goat was the perfect backdrop. Most importantly, though, 200 people who advocate tirelessly for companion animals looked into the eyes of pigs and chickens, goats and sheep, cows and horses. At least for some, who shared this with us….something shifted in them.
And all day long, as our friends walked the farm, met the special needs barn gang, stopped at education stations, stroked cool snouts and warm muzzles, CAS pulsed with love. That’s simply the best way to describe what I, and so many others, felt—including, no doubt, the animals….
Check out our photo album from the event!