Friday is St. Patrick’s Day—a fun day that always reminds me of my Irish ancestry. Though I haven’t seen the Emerald Isle yet, I hope one day to visit its famed castles, museums and—of course—its shelters and sanctuaries! Here are four inspiring organizations dedicated to helping make animals’ lives better. This St. Patrick’s Day, consider supporting one of the following (even a small donation helps!):
Eden Farmed Animal Sanctuary
Eden promotes “liberty, equality, veganism.” About 100 rescued farm animals now live in peace at this sanctuary, which started in 2008. In addition to rescuing animals from farms, Eden is committed to spreading the word about veganism; its inspiring Go Vegan World advertising campaign uses billboards and TV ads to challenge people to reconsider their use and acceptance of animal products. See Eden’s beautiful farm and animals here:
Horses have always been the great loves of my life. Even as a small child, I could feel the healing power of just being in their majestic presence. It was so wonderful as an adult to realize that I could give back to them through the healing power of Reiki!
In honor of horses and all the wisdom and compassion that they bring to the world, I have written my latest book, Heart to Heart With Horses: The Equine Lover’s Guide to Reiki. It includes a foreword by world-renowned holistic veterinarian Allen Schoen and is written from my heart to yours. Through real-life stories, inspiring case studies and simple Reiki meditative exercises, this book illuminates powerful ways that compassionate presence can heal.
As residents and cities still try to dig their way out of the blizzard of 2016, which dumped more than three feet of snow on parts of the East Coast last weekend (thanks to winter storm Jonas), heartwarming stories of animals have begun to emerge. Especially in times of crisis and hardship, it seems animals always find a way to crawl into our hearts and help us—either directly (see the story of some powerful horses below!) or indirectly, guiding us to finding our compassion or reminding us there are still reasons to smile in challenging times such as theses. Below, we’ve rounded up six of the most heartful and amazing animal stories from the blizzard of 2016, sure to warm your heart on a cold day:
Piglet saved from freezing in the snow
When Perry Smith noticed a shivering piglet on the side of the road, stuck in the growing piles of snow, he and his 13-year-old son rescued the little guy from certain death. The heroes then nursed him back to health with warm blankets and plenty of healthy snacks at their ski resort hotel room. Wee Wee thrived and has since been placed at an animal sanctuary in Washington State. Here, check out Wee Wee enjoying a banana from his hotel bathtub.
Horses help to plow the streets
When even snowplows aren’t enough, local citizens, including farmers, kind neighbors and even the Amish, pitched in to help clear the roads. In fact, someone took a photo of this Amish man and his two powerful horses working hard to plow the streets in Auburn, Kentucky—and the feel-good snap soon went viral. As reported in this News Democrat Leader article (which also features the photo), the Amish often help out their neighbors when there’s a big snow; one local citizen has even set up a GoFundMe page to help out the local Amish community.
Southampton mayor’s cat returns after getting lost in the blizzard
When animals get lost during a blizzard, we often prepare ourselves for the worst. But luckily for 13-year-old Lilly, a beautiful tuxedo cat belonging to Mayor Mark Epley of Southampton Village, New York, she miraculously made it home safe. The entire community came together via social media to help spread the word and offer support, but as reported in Southampton Patch, she came home safely on her own.
Adorable blizzard puppy videos fill social media
Being snowed in for days on end can be tough for us humans—but for our dogs, it’s just another excuse to play! After animal lovers took to Twitter and Instagram to share pics and videos of their dogs hopping and playing in the snow, Gothamist rounded up the best of the bunch. Click here to see puppies acting like “tiny buffalos,” making snow angels and just having a blast! Kathleen and I especially love this pic: what an impressive “snowdog”!
A quick-thinking Twitter user called @ltrayers captured this amazing video of four deer leaping through the snow-piled streets of Washington, D.C. What beautiful, elegant (and playful) creatures they are!
I got to pet a super soft koala bear for the first time this week while visiting Featherdale Wildlife Park in Sydney, Australia. This trip Down Under—seeing the native wildlife, helping shelter cats and teaching Reiki classes—has allowed me the opportunity to slow down a little and reflect on the vital role animals have played in my career and life. I’m so grateful for all of the lessons they’ve taught me through the years, and all of the heartful connections I’ve been able to make. So as my Aussie trip winds down, I’m reminded of my favorite, most inspiring quotes about animals. I’ve always loved the sentiments behind these 12 quotations (do they make you smile, too?):
Scoobie is a small black horse residing at Remus Memorial Horse Sanctuary in Essex, England. Diagnosed with chronic laminitis, a deadly disease that causes lameness in horses, Scoobie lives with some pony friends in a special barn with soft flooring to help comfort their sore feet.
Recently I brought a group of Reiki practitioners to share Reiki with Scoobie and the others in the laminitic barn. I gave each student a meditation to do, focusing inward on the breath. I explained to stay 10 feet or more away from the horses, allowing them to choose to come forward if they wished. Scoobie was standing quietly in one corner of the barn, shifting on his feet a bit uncomfortably. Clearly he was not feeling well that morning. He was completely ignoring his food and standing with his back toward the other horses.