Straight From The Heart: The Joy of a Pleasant 15 Minute Conversation



I continue to share with the odd reader who continues to read a saga, which seems to have no end in sight.


If you are merely looking for a detailed explanation of whom I am seeking to take over the Free Farm Animal Home, you can skip this rant and read the previous blog.


I am not embarrassed to admit I have suffered from extreme bouts of depression and anxiety, a condition which has plagued me from a very early age caused from what I can only describe as a violent and abusive childhood, growing up in slum areas of Montreal with a single and very angry parent. So what, I say. I have never taken the self-pity mode and looked for government disability handouts or pill remedy medications. I left home as a very young and angry teenager in search of emotional calmness that has only begun to surface here in my endeavours in Smiths Falls, working to make life a healthier existence for animals. I confess at times I have felt lonely in my life quests,  but after this last world wide viral social media episode in my life, I now find solace in being alone.


It is true, working with animals has some therapeutic solace but it is obvious it is not a cure all for all that ails a person. The big healing drawing card for me still is the irregular but memorable pleasant few minutes of absolute delight in communicating with animals. I look at this by turning back the clock to the time my then wife was dying of breast cancer at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital, over two decades ago. She shared with me, in her brief remaining days. some wisdom about the meaning of life that has resonated with me since: One of the biggest pleasures in life is having a pleasant chat with someone, even for a brief fifteen minutes, sharing positive feelings of acceptance.  Not fifteen minutes of fame that Andy Worhol pontificated. Rather, just a simple,pleasant lighthearted conversation. I have found that same  calmness working with animals that I have found in experiencing a pleasant conversation with human acquaintances,. This joyful  experience, however fleeting, is uplifting for my spirits and provides a warm outlook in my life. Life in those 15 minute connections can indeed be beautiful. I  do at the same time acknowledge the new worldwide fad for “animal therapy”  where humans and animals communicate with each other,  but believe one can find that with a horse as well as with a mouse or for that matter with another human being. The lessons in tranquility are not in my view measured in the interaction with animals per se. It has to do with an understanding and acceptance of reality and our place in it. Some of us have been dealt certain favourable cards in their early lives, while others may have found the hand they were dealt with was not quite as positive. One can be angry at the world and try to get whatever they can from whomever as if to say they have a right to expect good things because life has treated them unfairly. Not me. I still feel the need to do something positive or decent with this project of mine, this rather lovely property and animal home. I still believe there are some well deserving people out there who may not have the resources to engage in this ambitious project yet, with the opportunity I am offering,  can gain something positive with taking part in a quest to establish an animal sanctuary or home, where unwanted or difficult to adopt animals can enjoy life without the torment of being part of a petting zoo, or the fear that they will be put down because of poor health or a lack of available resources to enhance their quality of life.Those are the people I am trying to reach, like minded humans who believe they can make a difference and are willing to try. It is needless to say a big leap in faith to jump into this arena.


As noted in my last blog, even though my campaign reached a dizzying fifty million hits world-wide through endless social media platforms, and over 17,000 emails and letters flooded my life since April, I have yet to realize a sincere candidate that could show me they had the resolve to move this project from its infancy and plug away until it becomes a sustainable farm and domestic animal sanctuary, complete with a base of volunteers, foster participants and fundraising efforts.


It is an uphill battle for me to weed through letters that lure me into endless conversations on the telephone and for the few, actual initial visits and for the even fewer applicants to actually getting their feet dirty and working here for an hour or longer. Not easy to do, even though I have the background of having owned and operated a private investigation agency and at one time a determined investigative journalist who published in leading media outlets. I have been fooled in this quest to the point of facing violent threats and equipment disappearing. This still has not deterred me because I believe if you have a resolve to achieve a project that can do some good in society, this one for animals and humans alike, success is inevitable even if it takes a long time. I still continue to hold out hope.


The last few weeks have been typical. Applicants ignore my blog and the ad itself, throw me curveball letters, enticing me to call until I realize they haven’t taken the time, or they cannot focus, on what it is I have been seeking or they simply do not have anything to offer proof of being an acceptable candidate. In short, self-seeking individuals who can only focus on the seemingly picture perfect surroundings of a stone house on a historic waterfront property.Not so much work.  Nothing to do with animal welfare.


Mind you, I am not the only one who has tried such a campaign. For example, I just learned of  a major free farm campaign recently ended in disappointment with the Bluebird Hill Farm Essay Contest; with respect to the turnover of an organic farm hear Raleigh, North Carolina. The owners who had toiled away and experienced true love in their sweat equity, offered a complete legal transfer of their farm, which was similar to mine, for free if someone swayed them with a one page essay on why they should win the contest. In the United States, with the pit bull IRS hovering over all citizens, this campaign had all sorts of starts and stops. Basically, the owners set the rules that visits to the property were not possible, and there was a three hundred dollar fee required to register. This idea attracted a substantial greater interest than my viral affair mind you but there was a stated caveat that the couple needed at least 300 applications to pay off their mortgage and pass on fifty thousand dollars of seed money for the capable couple who would take over. It was meant to capture the hearts of some well-intentioned couple that truly desired to run an organic farm but lacked the funds. The owners genuinely wanted to make a difference. But after an extended campaign, which lasted nine months, they pulled out because they could not realize the numbers. All deposits were returned of course.


Looking at this I have to wonder about the outcome of my goal, which does not require a fee but neither does it pass along the actual legal title transfer of ownership either.


I feel a certain common goal as this American couple appears to have had in that I sincerely wish my efforts to succeed for the good of a worthwhile cause. I interviewed the family who launched their campaign and was encouraged  to continue with this goal of mine by focusing on the positive applicants that were bound to come. rather than by ranting about those who were tire kickers. Many armchair critics have emailed me with concerns as to how exactly I intend to achieve my goal. After all, once I leave my farm,  how is it possible to protect the animals, hundreds of them, without someone looking over the new caretakers? This was an intelligent question and the reason why I eventually narrowed down my own contest to seeking what can be referred to as an apprenticeship to launching and maintaining a full fledged animal sanctuary. As well, aligning myself with an ongoing vet who would make visits to ensure everything was being done in the best interests of the animals on hand, currently hundreds of them.Some applicants found it strange that I set  up a video surveillance system. This dear readers, as  you can imagine with some of the people who have come out of the woodwork, was necessary to protect the animals and certainly worth every penny I spent on it.


The concept of this animal home, further unraveled, is such that the potential candidate is knowingly investing some money into the project, covering basic operating costs as well as donating sweat equity or hard work.


My role is to cover the never-ending avalanche of veterinary bills and vast specialty animal foods, which cover dozens of categories.


What can possibly cost so much? Let me share these past ten days. A visit by a vet to examine my cow who has suffered from some sort of leg trauma. $145. Two kittens whose eyes ruptured with an infection and required the removal of eyes to survive. $1500 Another older cat today diagnosed with a rare eye disorder requiring quick surgery or the unthinkable of what the vet offered, euthanasia. $1000. This excludes medications for the forty kittens that are all at risk of eye diseases now, the endless high quality foods they require, and the truckloads of food for the other animals.


I continue and plan to continue to care for the wellbeing of these creatures, and carry the expensive trail privately to get it done. I do not have the time and energy to further this animal sanctuary and seek outside assistance as other sanctuaries do.There is just so much I can handle as a single, lone participant in such a massive project.


So my continued role is an important ingredient in the fulfillment of this worthwhile endeavour. By removing myself from living here I can also help on a fundraising drive through a virtual reality written narrative, sharing the inner workings of what it takes to launch such a facility, the heartaches and joys of loosing and saving animals and bringing in people to share the joys of engaging in a life that matters. As such, I have not sought to merely sell off and walk away and hope I have found an honest applicant to carry forth this work.


There will be heartaches along the way for sure. With so many animals this is bound to happen. But I can honestly say there is an abundance of joy in loosing oneself in a project that shares joy all around, a profound joy in the 15 minutes of pleasurable communication with our friends in need as I alluded to above.


Some applicants have expressed a concern, after seeing a picture of a rather old fart, me at age 62 looking like he is going on 90, fatigued in appearance and all, what would happen if I suddenly found myself six feet under rather than above the ground. For those who worried as such, I offered to draft a legal will allowing them to carry on the work without fear of being swept away. Whether I am here or not the need remains and success is still a worthwhile goal.

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