By Kerri Romeo
With the ladybug hitching a ride on her Wonderland Reboot guitar, Alice decides to take a break from the high-energy metropolitan environment and retreat from city to farm.
As she begins to make her way towards the train station for this next adventure a horse & carriage pulls up to the curb. A young couple exits, the girl holding a bouquet of roses wilting from the summer heat. The driver encourages Alice to climb on for a tour. Alice has been touring the city by foot and she cannot deny her feet are sore. It’s tempting. The horse whinnies, calling Alice’s attention. Wooow…he is even more magnificent than the creatures in Wonderland! Full of wonder she steps closer. But…something doesn’t feel right. Her heart starts to ache. She sees him differently. She sees him with her heart. And it hurts. He is absolutely majestic…but broken.
A wave of realizations about the purpose humans have created –on purpose– for animals rushes over Alice. A firm NO escapes her lips. Alice will not be taking a tour and instead she vows to find a way to help the Horse and the numerous horses she is overwhelmed to see lining up along the street.
‘I saw a sign say, ‘The animals have the right of way…You’d better stop, there’s animals ev’rywhere, And man is the top, an animal too, And, man, you just got to care. Wild life, what’s gonna happen to Wild life…”
Alice begins brainstorming as she continues to travel by foot. She begins to wonder about other tourist attractions (zoos, circuses, aquariums, elephant rides, horse races…ugh, what else?) in NYC and throughout the world that capitalize on the misguided idea of how the animal lover can connect with wildlife or a parent’s well-intentioned, but misinformed choice for family friendly entertainment. Alice and the Ladybug board the train. Closing her eyes for the train ride she begins to dream of a world that understands animals are sentient beings, not a commodity. They feel. They nurture their young. They are intelligent. They will fiercely protect their loved ones. Their natural instincts are on point. Are ours?
Within us we know. There is an innate sense that we are connected to all of life, including animals (for some especially animals). We speak different languages, but can communicate all the same. We have been conditioned to believe we are primary and animals are secondary. This created a drive for ownership, possession and separation. We are fascinated by animals, yet our choices as a society continue to harm them. How can we reconnect to the wild without exploitation?
Alice arrives at the farm sanctuary with new intentions. She originally set out to escape the hectic city and to simply love the animals. But now she is here to give. Give love; give care; give hope; give help. Not just for a day. Alice is rolling up her sleeves and ready to clean pastures as a weekly volunteer.
“Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends…”
The resident greeter, a gentle golden retriever rescue dog named Doris ushers Alice in to introduce her to her chickens, Desmond & Molly Jones, saved from a factory farm. A brother and sister duo of sheep, Eleanor & Rigby, abandoned when they could no longer be used to produce wool, watch Alice with curiosity.
Michelle ma Belle, a young goat dancing and kicking about, is finally starting to feel at home. Already pulled from her mother at birth, the sanctuary saved her from the “life” her mother had lived confined to producing milk on a dairy farm. Dylan (sometimes called Bob), a black and white steer, was found roaming the streets after escaping a certain end was now roaming acres of land. Found grazing on hay is Asher, who originally found himself at auction after a wild burro roundup .
Sergeant Pepper, a pig now weighing in at 200 lbs, was brought home to the sanctuary after being deemed the runt of the litter when he was born. Alice then meets a skittish white rabbit. Jude has been given a chance to finally feel love after spending years in a lab for cosmetic testing.
Take a sad song and make it better…”
Alice feels grateful for the founders and volunteers of animal sanctuaries who turn the bitter stories of animals sweet. At the end of her first volunteer experience she is dirty and exhausted. But it is worth it. Collapsing into a pile of hay with a smile on her face she feels inspired to spread the word. She picks up her guitar and sings …
“Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs, And what’s wrong with that, I’d like to know, ‘Cause here I go again, I love you, I love you“
”When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”Paulo Coelho
Take a romantic walk through the park instead of a horse & carriage https://www.nyclass.org/
Adopt don’t shop https://www.heartsandbonesrescue.com/
Follow reputable animal sanctuaries and learn about the amazing people and their non-fictional rescues Hogs & Kisses, Rancho Relaxo, Sleepy Pig Farm, Goats of Anarchy, Skydog Ranch & Sanctuary (and many more…)
Support those who support animals Compassion Fatigue
Get educated The Center for Biological Diversity
Shop cruelty-free Leaping Bunny
Kerri spends her days as an office administrator for a ballet barre manufacturer and her free time playing frisbee with her dog in NJ. Often at a loss for words in person, she writes to make sense of the world and connect with others. She wishes for more curiosity & kindness in the world.