The colorful blooms of Summer transformed into the burnt orange leaves of Autumn, fluttering against a cobalt blue sky. The waterlily pond was an oasis of pink blossoms from June to October, where tiny frogs bounced among the pads and a miniature turtle scuttled along the bank. A large red coyote, who’s an old friend, has been spotted more than a few times loping around the pond. A newcomer on the scene – a baby gray coyote – has also spent time in our fields hunting mice and voles. He stood only a few feet away from the grazing deer, too preoccupied with his quarry to notice the majestic deer as he hopped straight into the air to pounce.
The industrious work of the beavers over the past year had expanded the lower pond, incorporating the nearby field into a swamp. By June, the lower horse paddock was flooded and we realized something needed to be done. Our neighbors were dropping polite hints, as they were getting terribly nervous that the beavers would venture their direction and re-engineer the whole landscape of their yard.
Searching for a humane method of relocation, sanctuary founder Susan Bandy was horrified to learn that in New York state, there is no humane removal of beavers. The standard practice is to obtain a permit from the DEC to have the beavers killed. As a sanctuary that practices respect for all life, this was completely unacceptable. She began placing calls to wildlife rehabilitators, who recommended that she speak with Jeff Redd, a local wildlife rehabilitator specializing in beavers. Susan dialed his number and explained the situation with the beaver colony, to which Jeff responded “Learn to live with them!” Well yes… but how?
Jeff agreed to visit the sanctuary and recommended the installation of beaver deceivers, which are large pipes placed in the pond to re-direct the flow of water. He graciously returned to install them, wading chest deep into the water. The beavers paid him no mind and we were relieved to see that the pipes had effectively stopped the rising tide. On one of his visits, he offered the gift of a leafy branch to an adult male beaver, who took it in his mouth and swam across the pond to store it for later use. The adult female also emerged to greet Jeff and before long, we witnessed a tiny baby beaver come splashing out of the lodge, paddling eagerly behind his parents around the pond.
We’ve been busy over the last four months preparing for the arrival of additional senior horses in need of a home, several of which were pulled from the slaughter pipeline just in time. In addition to helping us live in harmony with the beavers, Jeff Redd saw what needed to be done and began helping us to install paddock fences and build run-in sheds that were ready by the time the geese flew the pond in a southerly direction.
The Autumn season has historically been a celebrated time of harvest, abundance and thanksgiving. We have much to be grateful for, including a few nail-biting episodes that happily turned out well.
One bright day, Waverly and Sammir escaped the paddock and took a 60 mph joy ride around the adjacent field before storming the barn and demanding lunch in their stalls. Then there was the time our bouncy Shih Tzu pup Happy lost his balance and toppled down some stairs. He hopped back up without a care, but we are seriously considering getting the little dude a crash helmet. And we breath a sigh of relief when we think back to the emergency hospitalization in September of two of our horses, Waverly and Mister Ed. Both suffered an impaction colic which caused displacement of the spleen. Doctors were able to help Mister Ed at the clinic, but Waverly required surgery.
We are pleased to share that they both made a full recovery and are back home enjoying life at the barn. Despite the many challenges, we are so grateful to be caring for such wonderful animals.
We want to thank our staff, donors, and volunteers who make it possible for us to fulfill our mission of providing a safe, loving home to animals in need. And we wish all of our friends a joyful holiday season filled with many blessings!