The inspiring hero behind one of my favorite sanctuaries

Today I’m at one of my favorite places in the world: Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary in Essex, England. My “Everything Animal Reiki” class starts today! (Looking forward to seeing you if you’ve signed up.) Situated on 40 beautiful pastoral acres in the English countryside, Remus was founded in 1983 by Sue Burton. Here are a few of the reasons why Sue is such an inspiring animal hero to me, including a closer look at what makes Remus so special:

1. What was once a post-war dairy farm is now home to more than 200 rescued farm animals—among them horses, donkeys, cows, goats, sheep and the resident cats and dogs.

2. Sue founded Remus partly because, as she states on her website, “I have always had a great belief in wrong and right and total respect for all living creatures—be they animals or humans. I could not believe that in this country [England] we could stand by and watch an animal suffer and die needlessly and that we would not all move mountains to ensure it never happened again.”

3. Sue makes sure that holistic remedies like Reiki take center stage at Remus, and for a variety of ailments—including tumors, cancer, colic, Cushing’s disease, chronic emotional problems and end of life. Sue says of the animals, “They’re all Reiki sponges up here.”

4. Thanks to Remus’ cutting-edge Elderly Horse Campaign, local horse people are educated about the various things they can do to help their horses thrive in their golden years.

5. Sue and her staff of 10 (and more than 50 volunteers) take extra special care of the animals. “We want to actually make their life better,” she says. “Not just look after them, but give them something back.” In addition to food, water, veterinary care and love, these animals—who previously found themselves in abhorrent conditions—also get sugar-free feed; natural herbs; soft, sandy floors; and even a solarium.

6. An amazing 70 percent of the rescued horses at Remus are more than 20 years of age—including the adorable Orchid, who just celebrated her 49th birthday. In fact, Remus is currently petitioning Guinness World Records to recognize Orchid as the world’s oldest horse.

7. Remus has won many prestigious awards. In 2011, the sanctuary won Best Horse Rescue Center in the UK from The Wetnose Burgess Awards.

8. In 2014, Remus won £500 as runner up in the Heart of Essex Awards, which honor the most deserving unsung heroes in the community.

9. Remus is also a “Best Place to Visit With Your Dog,” according to The Kennel Club’s Open for Dogs UK awards.

10. Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex, Sophie Rhys-Jones, is patron of Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary.

Who is your animal hero? Share with us in the comments below!

Photos copyright Charlotte Jensen and Kathleen Prasad.

My 10 favorite things to do in London

I’m so excited to fly to the UK this weekend for my Everything Animal Reiki and Equine Reiki Training classes at Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary! (If you want to sign up but haven’t yet, don’t worry—there’s still time!)

I always spend a few days in London before heading into the beautiful countryside to Remus. And now that this is going to be my third trip across the pond, I feel like I’m really getting to know London. With that in mind, here’s my ultimate top 10 list for visiting London:

1. Fave lunch spot: Ottolenghi restaurant in Notting Hill

Imagine the most delicious (and beautifully presented) vegetarian dishes you’ve ever tasted. I can promise you, I will be eating here at least once next week!

3 tips for finding more peace in your day

Have you ever noticed your days, weeks and even months sometimes slip away without you even noticing? That’s a sign you’re moving too fast—and possibly losing sight of your sense of inner peace. To live more mindfully, reclaim your days as your own, and find more peace each and every day, try these tips:

1. Set your alarm 20 minutes earlier. It’s amazing how a change so small can accomplish so much. When you’re not rushing to get out the door, you can take a few extra minutes for yourself. Read a few pages of the book at your bedside, sip your coffee, meditate, or snuggle with your cat. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, just as long as you’re taking a few peaceful moments for yourself. Starting each day with a few minutes of quiet time will help you tackle the rest of what’s ahead.

2. If necessary, schedule some downtime. Many of us with chaotic, hectic lives forget to plan quality time for ourselves and our friends and families. Yet that’s exactly what we need every week to feel rejuvenated and peaceful within ourselves again. Also, having something fun to look forward to with those that you love (human or animal) has this surprise benefit: Studies show that merely anticipating a vacation or weekend away actually boosts happiness. You don’t have to take a vacation, though, to feel the positive effects of downtime. Those that find it difficult to take time to relax and unplug actually need it the most, so try setting aside a few hours in the weekend to relax and have some fun. Your busy weeks will feel more peaceful knowing you have that to look forward to.

3. Practice gratitude. It’s so easy to constantly compare yourself to others. They have it easier, the better house, more money and on and on. But learning to be grateful for what you do have (while remembering we all have struggles—even those who seem to have it so “easy” on the outside) can help you to put it all in perspective and bring more peace to your day. As Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy”—and I certainly believe this to be true.

What are your tips for finding peace in your day?

15 warning signs you like animals better than people

They don’t argue back, they’re wonderful listeners, they love cuddles, and they never lose enthusiasm for seeing you at the end of a long day. Animals are the best, aren’t they? They’re so awesome, in fact, that sometimes I think I like them better than people (my family excluded, ahem). Here are some warning signs to look out for to see if you, too, tend to like animals better than humans:

1. When you get some great news, the first “person” you want to tell is your dog.

2. When you snuggle up on the couch to binge-watch Downton Abbey, the warm body next to you has furry legs and paws.

3. That secret ingredient in your amazing coconut-vanilla cupcakes (and all of your cooking, really) is 1 dog hair.

4. When your cat starts to cough up a hairball (again), you’re at the ready with a towel or paper bag to catch the mess before it hits the floor.

5. When holiday shopping, you can easily spend 30 minutes deciding whether she’d rather have the pink or red heart-shaped chew toy.

6. “Vacation!!” means hitting the road for some fun in the sun at your favorite pet-friendly hotels, beaches and restaurants.

7. When the person next to you on your flight to New York brings a ferret on board as an “Emotional Support Animal,” you don’t bat an eyelash.

8. You actually think rat tails are cute.

white rat

Fact: Rat tails are cute.

9. When your neighbor adopts a dog from the local animal shelter, your first question is, “Is it a boy or a girl?”

10. “Deathly afraid of needles” quickly turns into “superstar subcutaneous fluids-giver” when your cat becomes diagnosed with kidney failure.

11. When your best friend talks about her new shoes, you immediately think of your horse’s shoeing appointment you forgot to schedule.

12. The first thing you see in the morning when you wake up is your cat’s stomach laying across your face.

13. Your favorite smells are puppy breath and fresh manure at the barn.

14. When you find a spider in your apartment, you summon all your bravery and find a glass (or wide-mouthed jar, depending the size) to safely put it outside.

15. Your dog knows how to eat off a fork.

What about you? (Guilty as charged?) When did you know you were a delightfully unapologetic animal person?

5 awesome projects you can help to support right now

Have you seen Kickstarter? This amazing crowdfunding site lets you support a variety of creative projects for very little cash. Kickstarters set a financial goal (say, $1,000) and a target deadline. People then start sending donations—and the person behind the campaign gets to keep all that cash (and more) if they hit or exceed their financial goal by their target date. And, of course, if you have an idea for a project of your own, you can launch a campaign on Kickstarter, too!

Though some of the projects can be, ahem, a little bit strange (such as “Pug-let: The First All-Pug Production of Hamlet” and “A Dr. Who Concept Rap Album”—OK, I admit I’d probably watch/listen to both!), the following are actually some really solid ideas and goals I’d like to see come to fruition—some even help animals, too! Just this past Tuesday on Kickstarter, Walkzee, a free online platform that matches shelter dogs needing walks with “dog lovers looking for a walking buddy,” surpassed its $20,000 goal! I look forward to seeing the Walkzee site someday soon. Here are a few more projects that look interesting:

HOLD YOUR HORSES!

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