As all but our intrepid animal care team works from home, we’re doing our best to support each other, our caretakers, and the beloved members of our CAS family…in other words, you—our volunteers, animal sponsors, members and donors whose lives have been upended, just like ours.
Glib messaging that ignores the life-altering nature of what humanity is experiencing is inappropriate, in our view. Yet at the same time, how we need our touchstones, the animals! Beyond that, I believe we humans also desperately need to see signs of normalcy right now. When our own human lives are upside down, it’s reassuring to see that Tucker and Scout, Michael and Buddy are doing…just…fine. The Underfoot Family – our free-ranging goats and sheep, potbellies and chickens and turkeys, are doing what they always do: jumping in the hay truck, sneaking into the kitchen, demanding love. Russell the potbelly pig trots the length of the farm and back at least once a day, stopping to check for leftovers at each horse and cow pasture—that boy knows where to get his groceries! At 34, Buddy the blind horse is the same insistent, hilarious, pain-in-the-ass that he’s always been. You need to see these images and videos. We get it. So do we.
This is the balance we’re seeking—trying to uplift, to reassure, that for the animals, at least, all is well, while also acknowledging the fear and uncertainty that’s present in every home across America.
Our tagline, Love Spoken Here, takes on new meaning during this uncertain time. All the anxiety, fear, disruption to our lives notwithstanding, this moment is also an extraordinary opportunity to operate from a place of love—to challenge ourselves to be our best in thought, word, and deed: to ourselves and those who live with us; to our co-workers as we reinvent ourselves, our working relationships, and our organizational plans; to our community as we engage in “socially distant” ways (how we appreciate warm smiles from strangers); to the world at large as we engage on social media. In fact, I suggest that this moment requires that we each be our best.
At Catskill Animal Sanctuary, Love Spoken Here guides all that we do: how we engage with each other. The content and tone of our media posts. The warmth and encouragement visitors experience on weekend tours. We stumble and trip on occasion, for sure, but we right ourselves quickly. We operate from love. No other way makes any sense at all. Especially not now. In fact, those three words have become a mantra that I repeat each morning as I set my course, gathering strength to face the latest development, equanimity to guide my interactions and decisions.
What does your very best look like, friend? We’ve always needed it, but today, you simply can’t deny the urgency of stepping up. May these three little words, Love Spoken Here, guide how you show up for the world, not just during the Covid19 scare, but for every waking moment of the rest of your life.
If you have a special story of love, hope, and community, you can share it with us on social media by tagging us and using the hashtag #LoveSpokenHere.