If you live in Polk County, North Carolina – this probably isn’t news to you. And while I “took” these two photos, I think you can see I “took them” right off the pages of today’s Tryon Daily Bulletin.
But we all like good animal stories and this one is worth repeating. All of these dogs (plus one cat) are running for Tryon’s first Dog Mayor. And this election is the only one where it’s legal to stuff the ballot box…with money!
The dog with the most money in his/her ballot box wins! Ummm, sounds like real politics.
Money raised goes to the Foothills Humane Society.
Dogs have been campaigning, holding rallies, sponsoring meet & greets, and this coming Friday will gather in downtown Tryon to finish up voting.
If at all possible, I’m going to try to get myself and my camera over there to get some real photos.
Rusty Bunshine, the lone feline running for position of dog mayor says, “My platform is for a better Tryon is Jobs and the Econony…who says a dog has to be the first dog mayor?”
The winner gets to help lead parades and serve as one of the town celebrities. Polls close at 6:45 PM.
Click on each photo for an enlarged version and a caption.
It’s always a good day to be in the park – the Landrum Community Dog Park that is. I stopped by this wonderful dog park the other day just to check it out. And at that same time two folks were checking it out with some brand new (to them) dogs.
Jennifer and Braden from Campobello were visiting with their two newish dogs. The big boy is named Sherman. He was formerly a service dog but had to be retired from work when he was injured. The little girl they’ve named Betty. She followed them home recently and instantly became part of their family.
Sherman and Betty immediately took a liking to each other and to Jennifer and Braden as well.
The Landrum Community Dog Park is located behind Stone Soup Restaurant.
It's not often you see a kitten learning to walk on a leash, but it was my lucky day. Here's "Mooji," a pretty young kitten out learning the technique with his owner. They were out by the Veteran's Memorial in downtown Columbus.
The oldest animal here is a standard donkey named Phinneas who is 46 years old. He gets some special care but they all do. I saw one stall set up with a bed (a real mattress), toys, and a mirror for its equine inhabitant. I met Nick, a 36 year-old donkey with three teeth who had escaped from the Oklahoma City Dog Pound – which is a whole other story. The entire sanctuary is crammed with stories. Each animal could be a book in itself. It’s a remarkable organization.
Mary and her amazing staff know how each animal reacts with others and what makes them the most comfortable. And it takes an entire village to run this village. The Sanctuary at Red Bell Run has 25 staff members. Some of those are maintenance, some are primarily in the office, and most are out with the animals taking care of their needs. The animal to equine staff ratio is an impressive 8 to 1. During my visit I saw numerous animals being groomed, walked, talked to, petted. You can see the love in the eyes of each of the staff members and that love was being returned by the equines. Mary’s work starts most days by 5 AM every day of the week all year long. And even when bedtime finally comes, she knows there’s a good chance she might have to go out and check on one of her animals at anytime of the night.
Mary has always had a heart for animals of all kinds. In addition to all the equines, there are also dogs here and there including Phoebe, an 18-year-old Irish wolfhound rescue who serves as assistant farm manager. Phoebe was happy just to sleep on a sofa while Mary did the talking. Mary says her passion for people and animals emanated from her family. She grew up in a home where taking care of others was the most important lesson one could learn. Her dad, Wally Adams, started a foundation that gave to those kinds of causes. Much of the operating income from The Sanctuary at Red Bell Run comes from a division of this foundation but eventually the Sanctuary hopes to make opportunities for “sponsoring” an animal available as well as working toward receiving grants and other gifts. The Ark Watch Foundation of Los Altos, CA provides financial support for the animals it has placed in Mary’s care. Eventually she hopes there will be a formal volunteer program. The Sanctuary is already sponsoring various workshops and in the future plans to start a program in equine agility (kind of like dog agility) and offer “read-to-me” opportunities for local kids to come out to read to an equine that is all ears.
Many of these animals are on special diets, special medications, special physical therapy… they get what they need to make them as comfortable as possible. Even the layout of the barns and pastures is with their safety and comfort in mind. The sanctuary uses a “paddock paradise system” which enables equines to move and follow their instincts to travel while having the security of a barn, plenty of water, and food. I loved checking out Longears Manor, which is the group home for several of the donkeys. Every barn has its own special name.
Mary finished our visit by emphasizing, “We are here for the community and here for the animals. If someone has an equine issue or a problem, we’re here and happy to help. We’re not vets and don’t give veterinary advice but we can steer you in the right direction. We’re all in this together. There is a waiting list for placement at Red Bell Run, and they can only accept equines through other equine welfare organizations or law enforcement agencies.
The Sanctuary at Red Bell Run is a remarkable place and they’re making a difference.
More to know
Visitors are welcome and chances are Mary will give you the tour. You need to set up a visit in advance by contacting Sanctuary Manager, Amy Powell at 828/ 863-2017. More info about Mary Adams and the Sanctuary can be found on the website at: www.redbellrun.org.
Click on each photo for an enlarged view and caption.
This is Mariah, a spotted mammoth donkey rescued by the Ark Watch Foundation of Los Altos, CA and placed with Red Bell Run for permanent sanctuary. Mariah was largely untouchable when she arrived but has now become a staff favorite and is completely affectionate and loving. She suffers from some neurological deficits but other than that enjoys her life with Snowbelle and Winston. She wears a fly mask because like many white or spotted donkeys, her eyes are susceptible to cancer.
Apparently today is National Puppy Day, so what a perfect day to pay some homage to all of those senior dogs out there in need of care and a home. Mr. Minute (a 13-year-old senior) is canine spokesman for the organization and he was doing a good job of it in front of Landrum’s Bi-Lo this morning. Mr. Minute says, “Puppies are cute but so are seniors!” Forever Dream Senior Dog Sanctuary has been on the Foothills Faces radar for several months waiting for a good opportunity to do a story. So stay tuned to find out more about this non-profit that takes care of dogs that really need someone with heart to help them out. Look for my story in a few weeks.
In the meantime you can find them on Facebook or on the web at: www.foreverdreamseniordogsanctuary.org.
Fast-forward several decades and LJ and his boys were visiting the South Carolina State Fair in Columbia. LJ steered his sons to the barn with the birds and they loved seeing all the different types and colors and sizes. But when the boys learned that birds could be raced their eyes lit up and LJ knew they were hooked. That led to LJ starting his first loft and the entire family enjoyed raising and racing the birds. LJ and his family continued to race birds for several years but as the boys started to outgrow their interest, LJ’s excitement never waned.
The dove releases can symbolize all kinds of things depending on the event. It’s not always easy as some occasions are very sad and others joyous. But watching a release has an impact on everyone who witnesses it. His Homeward Angels reach into your soul. The dove release can help bring closure on one day and it can mark the beginning of something new on another. LJ says, “It’s not about the birds but about the symbolism and the birds are the conveyance of that special meaning.” Everyone who sees or participates in one of LJ’s white dove releases comes away a changed person. It’s a great feeling.
More to know
LJ Meyers provides professional white dove releases for private and public events and ceremonies. Fees depend on travel distance, number of birds requested, and any special services LJ might need to provide. He is, by the way, an ordained minister. LJ does a lot of releases as a community service at no charge. Photos are from a recent 9/11 ceremony and a Veterans Day release. You can contact LJ at 864/ 457-4676 (home), 864/ 357-5581 (cell), by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His website is: HomewardAngelsWhiteDoves.com. LJ is a member of the National White Dove Release Society.
A sample of a release. This is from an impromptu Veterans Day release L J provided in Landrum.
You can also see the video by clicking this link. This might help if the video below is slow to load.
L J recruited a few kids to help him with an unannounced dove release on Veterans Day at the Veterans Memorial in Brookwood Park in Landrum, SC.
Click on each photo below to see an enlarged version and captions.
Cherie has had an amazing set of career experiences starting with being one of the youngest students enrolled in Moorpark College’s world-renowned animal training program commonly known as “America’s Teaching Zoo.” She’s spent years at Marine World in California, served as Dogtown Manager at Best Friends Animal Society Sanctuary in Utah, taught SCUBA diving classes in a variety of places where she interacted with marine life, ran her own wildlife education program in Washington, worked on a cruise ship, and ended up a few years ago as a caretaker for several animals on a 200-acre estate in Waynesville. That experience led her to Polk County where she and Ron have lived for the past couple of years. Ron is “retired,” but Cherie has happily found herself in demand helping animal parents in the region learn how to make the relationship pleasurable for pets and their parents. She gets referrals from area vets, rescue programs, the local Humane Society shelter, and from her clients. Business is booming.
Cherie has advice for people looking for that perfect pet and it begins with doing your research. Just because you want a Jack Russell doesn’t mean it’s the right dog for you. Prospective pet owners should match their own lifestyle with the personality and lifestyle of the animal. Some are noisy, some are messy, and all take a lot of care. If you’re choosing a trainer, ask for references and watch a training session to see how the trainer and the animal interact. You can tell a lot by the demeanor of the pet during these sessions. They shouldn’t cower in fear, and that’s not the approach Cherie takes. She showers love and kindness on the animals and might use a bit of cheese (or other tasty treats) to use as rewards and the animals learn better that way than by fear and intimidation. Again, do your research.
Cherie has had her brushes with fame in the past. She’s trained a l,500 pound Hampshire hog to roll out a red carpet and bow on Hal Linden’s late 70’s TV show Animals, Animals, Animals. And once she taught a chicken to dance and play the piano for actor John Travolta’s birthday party. But while Cherie will help you teach your pet some tricks if that’s what you want, she’s more about helping you and your pet both enjoy being with each other. That’s what’s most important to her.
More to Know
Cherie has a busy schedule but does have room from time to time for new clients. In addition to her training work, she does occasional pet and farm sitting, provides help with medications and bandages, etc. Contact Cherie at email@example.com and check out her website at: https://allpetstraining.com.
They soon bought a bigger sailboat and decided to spend the Thanksgiving holidays on it in Florida. It was then they started to see that people could actually “live” on their boats. They started talking with year-round “boatsteaders,” researched the lifestyle of being on the water year-round, and discovered that there’s an entire “cult” of people who do this. In 2006 Sami and Barry took the bait and made a big lifestyle change that started a whole chain of events to fall into place. They sold their Landrum farm, rehomed the horses, Sami retired from her job, they bought an even bigger boat, and made the decision to become one with the sea. Okay two with the sea. They were soon living a new life on the water. Barry, a college professor, was able to continue teaching as long as they had an Internet signal…and they learned to seek those out.
Even with the services of an equine vet donating his time and using his own money to help the effort, they were unable to capture the mare at the right time to collect the eggs. ViaGen, a company specializing in cloning special animals was providing the special collection kit needed to store whatever they could obtain and the kits had to be refreshed constantly in order to have the proper storage solution.
It finally came down to getting the vet on scene as Nunki was living her last hours. The vet and ViaGen were working together on what to do next and in this case that involved getting a clipping of Nunki’s ear once she died. This had to be placed in the solution and then there was only so much time left to get the tissue back across the preserve, to a boat, to a jet, and to the lab in the U.S. On top of that, there’s this thing called Bahamian government red tape. With just minutes to spare, the government gave its okay to leave the island with the preserved specimen and the USDA gave its approval to have it enter the US, and the final chance to preserve this breed was on the plane to the ViaGen lab where it would be kept in the proper environmental conditions.
The possibilities are real. It could happen. What is mostly standing in the way now is money. There is a non-profit organization set up for donations and every bit helps. Of course, a few large donors could make this happen now.
Mimi is still down on the Abaco Islands maintaining the preserve in hopes of bringing a brand-new Abaco Island Horse home for good. And then another and another until a small herd can preserve the species. She has given a quarter-century of her life and her money to this cause. She needs help to change this from a possibility to a reality. Sami is committed to helping in anyway she can. Just imagine how equine history could be changed. Sami Bolton wants to be a part and you can too! It can happen. It needs to happen. It has to happen.
More to Know:
Sami and Barry moved back home (here in the foothills) about a year ago. Sami is very active locally. She’s on the board of the Foothills Humane Society and volunteers with TROT (Therapeutic Riding of Tryon). Sami invites you to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on saving the Abaco Island Horse and how you can help. You might be able to convince her to tell you everything I’ve had to leave out. You can also check out www.ArkWild.org for additional information on the Abaco Island Horse.
Dana Mayer lives and breathes compassion. She is the driving force behind Paws, Prayers & Promises- a local non-profit animal rescue and adoption organization. Dana can’t do it alone and is thankfully backed up by a small army of volunteers that help in every aspect of the almost three-year-old non-profit organization. Last year alone Dana and her like-minded volunteers helped over 500 cats and dogs find a better life. This doesn’t even include providing food for some of our area’s neediest animals.
Dana has loved, rescued, and taken care of animals all her life. For ten years she worked with the Foothills Humane Society as a board member and coordinator of the rescue, foster, and Po’ Kitties programs before leaving to form Paws, Prayers & Promises.
We are lucky and grateful in this community to have so many people willing to give of their time, talents, homes, and money to help others in need—including our animal friends. Dana Mayer is just one of many – but she’s also one of a kind. The Paws, Prayers & Promises website says, “We believe in miracles.” There is one happening every day with the help of Dana and her volunteers.
More to Know
Go to the Paws, Prayers & Promises website at: http://www.PawsPrayersandPromises.org to read about the organization. There you can also learn how to help the organization. Check them out on Facebook where you can get updates on new animals coming into their care and those finding their forever homes. Call Dana for additional info at 828/ 243-1852. Do visit P3 Consignment Shop at 112 East Rutherford Street in Landrum to see a couple of kittens looking for a home as well as some resident shop cats ready to welcome you as you peruse this amazing store.
Click on the photos below to see a larger image.
Is starting out retirement with this new endeavor - to bring you short snippets of life through photography, videography, and audio recordings of some of the wonderful people and places of the Carolina Foothills..