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Surviving Winter, Embracing Spring: The Resilience of Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s Senior Animals

(Photo: Senior Horse Barclay led by Animal Care Team Leader, Gabby)

Even when it’s unusually mild, winter is tough on old beings, no matter their species.

At CAS, we do our utmost to help our elders through winter safely and comfortably, yet at the back of our minds, the question “Will they make it through the winter?” always looms. Loads of extra bedding, custom diets for extra calories, supplements to ensure calories are absorbed and aging joints are supported, blankets at night (and sometimes during the day), special shoes for fragile hooves, alternative therapies from acupuncture to laser and more…this is just a partial list of what we offer in hopes that our old horses–from 35-year-old Callie to 34-year-old Barclay and 33-year-old Buddy, our beloved blind horse, our nearly 20-year-old cow Zsa Zsa, and dozens of senior goats, sheep, and chickens–sail through winter to once again experience the warm sun on their faces and the feel of spring grass beneath their feet.

And guess what: they made it! All of our eldest animals, supported by our tireless and super smart health care team, are going strong–well, as strong as possible given their centenarian (in human years) status! Blind Buddy is missing nearly all of his chewing teeth; Barclay had a scare that required hospitalization and weeks of aftercare; Callie – keeps on ticking despite bouts with cancer, and so on: but they made it through winter–and to this team that never gives up, they are important reminders of the power in what we do each day.

Happy spring, old friends. May the sun feel good on those old bodies and the spring grass taste mighty, mighty sweet.




Herd Around The Barn


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