If Only They Could Talk: The Miracles of Spring Farm

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9780743464864: If Only They Could Talk: The Miracles of Spring Farm

Welcome to Spring Farm, where animals and people come together -- to explore their own natural ability to communicate with each other....
Something magical is happening on a small farm in upstate New York. Animals of all shapes and sizes are living side by side -- talking, listening, learning, and loving -- along with caring people who have come to learn the secrets of interspecies communication. It's a gift that all of us are born with, as long as we're willing to open our hearts and minds to the gentle creatures who share our world.
This is what happened at Spring Farm when two very special women gave shelter to animals that were sick or abandoned. As trust and affection grew between them, so did their capacity to exchange feelings and thoughts. Today, the miracle of Spring Farm CARES is shared through communication workshops for visitors, students, and animal lovers. So come discover the magic of Spring Farm. Humans are more than welcome....
You'll meet Ricardo the duck, who explains that he won't leave his warm nest in a nearby chimney even if the house owners disapprove... Chubby the horse, who shares her feelings of despair when her barn catches fire... Elvis the kitten, who wiggles like a rock star... Sugar the Shetland pony, who dedicates a poem to her long-lost herd...and a whole menagerie of mouse-friendly cats, loving llamas, gregarious guinea pigs, delightful dogs, and other amazing critters.

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About the Author:

Bonnie Jones Reynolds was raised at Spring Farm, near Clinton, New York, and is the bestselling author of The Truth About Unicorns, The Confetti Man, and Bikram's Beginning Yoga Class. Her cofounder Dawn E. Hayman is one of the world's foremost Interspecies Communicators, and helped establish Spring Farm CARES in 1991.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1: The Halloween Inferno

To my dying day I'll relive the moment in that Halloween night of 1993 when Dawn burst into the bedroom where I was sleeping.

"Bonnie! The barn's on fire!"

In Spring Farm parlance the "arena" and the attached "stable" were the places where we kept our horses. "The barn" was home. Everything.

I pulled on sneakers and, in my nightgown, ran behind Dawn out the back door of my mother's house into the darkness and fog and fourteen inches of wet, heavy snow that had fallen in a freak snowstorm that night. Flames were dancing behind the windows of the kitchen in the barn.

"Call the fire department!" I cried to Dawn and began running through the snow as best I could.

"Let's see how bad it is first," she said, running beside me.

Surely it was already so far out of control that we couldn't put it out by ourselves.

Yet as we plowed toward the barn, I wondered wildly about the quickest source of water.

Snow! We might be able to throw snow on the fire.

We knew that if we opened the eight-by-eight-foot overhead door that was the entrance to the barn, we'd be feeding oxygen to the fire. We knew it could flash over and engulf us. But some of the small animals of the Spring Farm CARES sanctuary were in there. There were twenty-eight of them throughout the barn.

The door was warm to the touch, not hot. We threw it up.

Two of the dogs were right inside, in the spots where they always slept. Cookie, a miniature German Shepherd crippled in the back legs, snapped to attention and pulled herself out into the snow. Spangles, a black Labrador cross, seemed drugged. We dragged him out. None of the others could be seen. Or heard.

Any thought of extinguishing the fire was gone. We were looking at a wall of smoke -- black, ugly, hot, and noxious. In that smoke was an inferno in what had been the kitchen. There was no hope of saving possessions or structure.

But please God. The animals.

The evening had begun as usual. We finished our chores in the stable at 7:30. Remarking on the sudden heavy snow and sodden mist, we went to the barn -- the old Spring Farm cow barn, converted into home, Spring Farm CARES offices, small animal and conference facility, thrift shop, library, and workshop. There we fed and walked dogs and topped off water bowls and cat food dishes. We'd recently turned the old granary in the second-floor haymow into an office, where Dawn could conduct her animal communication consultations in peace. There we covered the parakeets Babcock, Chartreuse, and Dove for the night and left the cats George Bump Bump, Peaches, Blackie, and Cauliflower curled in favorite spots. In the main nave of the haymow, the cats Tessie and Thistle were crunching on their kibble. In our second-floor apartment, connected by a spiral staircase to the first-floor bathroom, a dog named Keisha and ten cats -- Marsha Mellow, Archibald Peabody III, Pazazz Purr, Sidney, Sylvanna, Timothy Tyler Butts, Rikki, Julie, Otto Sharie, and Heidi -- were settling into their preferred spots, as were the animals on the first floor, in the large open area that was our office, kitchen, and meeting room -- the dogs Buddy, Zoe, Daffy, Spangles, and Cookie, and the cats Oliver Augustus Perrier, Queenie, and Pink Flower. Never thinking that it might be for the last time, we bade our friends "Sweet dreams" and went to the house for supper and TV with Mother.

With us, in his carrier, was a six-week-old kitten named Georgie Belinda. I nearly left him in the barn that night. He'd begun sleeping right through, never crying for a bottle. But at the last I couldn't leave him. "I'll keep him with me for just one more night."

My eighty-six-year-old mother hadn't been feeling up to snuff of late, so I'd been sleeping in the house with her. We'd usually all sit late watching TV, but that night I turned in early. Dawn habitually watched the first fifteen minutes of the eleven o'clock news, then went out to the apartment to sleep. She'd check on the horses in the arena, then enter the barn through the haymow door, entering the apartment by the door from the haymow. She'd be asleep within minutes, blanketed by Keisha and the cats.

Had she followed her usual routine, she'd have died in the fire, overcome by smoke.

For we know when the fire started. The electric clock in the stable stopped at 11:35, the moment the power surge entered the downstairs of the barn, frying our electrical entrance and setting the refrigerator on fire.

But both Dawn and Mother fell asleep watching the news. Dawn woke at 11:45 and started for the barn. Once out the back door she stopped, staring at the kitchen window of the barn. Had we left a light on in there?

The light began to dance.

She ran to my bedroom.

"Bonnie! The barn's on fire!"

It's all a blur, really. Comfortable in our beds, we've all often wondered, "What would I save first in a fire?"

We learned that night that smoke, even before fire, will make your decisions for you.

Desperately, with Cookie and Spangles out, we called into the smoke for the other three dogs and the cats. No response.

We ran to the bathroom windows just beside that door, smashed them, and began calling there. The cats Archie and Rikki sometimes slept in that bathroom, and maybe some of the others would come down the stairs from the apartment above.

If anything, however, the smoke in the bathroom was worse than in the main office. Only silence answered.

"Call the fire department!" I cried again. Dawn sped off while I ran back to the main door.

Then I heard a meow. I dived into the smoke and snagged Pink Flower -- our shyest cat, yet there she was, letting me grab her. Quickly I stashed her and the two dogs in Mother's car, then ran to the back of the barn and up the barn bridge to the haymow door, hoping to save the animals in Dawn's office, in the haymow, perhaps even some from the apartment.

But as I opened the door, fire from the kitchen below exploded through the floor and shot up the wall opposite where I stood. A wave of heat seared over me. It was impossible to reach the apartment door just in front of that sudden wall of flames and smoke. Surely, though, I could reach Dawn's office and save the cats in there. That door was only twelve feet away.

Just twelve lousy feet.

I couldn't make it. I had to back out.

Writing this, I conjure the scene in memory and say, "You could have done it, Bonnie, you could have saved them."

But nothing is ever as bad in memory. There in the heat and smoke, unable to see, unable to breathe, not knowing if or when the fire would flash over and engulf or trap me, there was no going forward.

I propped the door open, hoping that at least Tessie and Thistle would escape and ran back down to the front door. By now Andy Magyar, who lived upstairs in Mother's house, was there with a flashlight. And we heard a dog crying in the smoke. I got down on my belly and crawled into the blackness, calling out, groping toward the sound. Twelve, fifteen, twenty feet. From the cry it was either Zoe or Daffy. So close, right there in the smoke ahead of me. But my flailing arms couldn't connect with a body. And I couldn't breathe. I should get out. Immediately. Or I wouldn't get out at all.

I got out. Leaving my friend still there, crying, lost and confused in the smoke, was the hardest thing that I ever had to do. But shock is a blessing, insulating from pain, and certainly all of us were running on pure shock at that point. Still calling, Andy and I propped the main door open and prayed.

Dawn was back, moving her truck away from the building and calling out that firemen were on their way. Realizing that I was still in my nightgown, I raced to the house for clothes.

Mother was waiting inside the kitchen door, looking, I remember with a stab of guilt, bewildered and alone.

"Is it bad?" she said.

"It's gone, Mother. We can't save a thing."

I wish I'd stopped, taken her into my arms. But I had no arms to give at that moment, I was on autopilot. I raced to the bedroom, got on slacks and a sweater and ran back out.

"Bonnie!" cried Dawn. "Thank God! Where were you?"

"Getting clothes on."

"I thought you'd gone back into the barn to try to save animals. I thought you were in there!"

Several volunteer firemen, including our neighbor Alan Lloyd, had arrived. One of them, tall and authoritative, took me by the shoulders to be sure I was paying attention.

"Is there anyone in there?" he demanded.

"Yes!" I cried. "All our animals." And I started telling him how many and where.

He sort of shook me and said, "Do you know where the main electrical breaker is? Go and throw it. We need all power off."

Dawn ran with me, back to the house. We found a flashlight. Dawn went down into the cellar and threw the breaker while I turned on the burners of Mother's gas stove. Leaving her with the stove and flashlight for light, we ran back to the barn.

The tall fireman, who turned out to be the fire chief, was waiting.

"How many horses are in your stable?"

Dawn and I stared at him stupidly. "About twenty-five," I said. Then the light dawned.

"They're in danger, too?"

The fire chief laid heavy hands on both of our shoulders and said, in tones calculated to pierce the smoke in our brains, "They've got to be evacuated. Now. Not out this way" -- he gestured at the arena door, so close to the barn bridge -- "all of them out the other side of the stable. They've got to go away from the fire."

It was a blessing, really. We didn't have to stand there and watch our dear old barn burn. We didn't have to watch as flames reached our trapped friends.

Yet as we plowed through the snow to the arena, I was thinking that he was crazy. Why drive the horses out? Surely the fire couldn't get to them where they were.

Shows you how well you think at a time like that. The west wall of the arena was just a dozen feet from the burning barn.

One step into the arena brought me to my senses.

"My God," said Dawn. "I can't believe the...

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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER, United States, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 226 x 152 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. Welcome to Spring Farm, where animals and people come together -- to explore their own natural ability to communicate with each other. Something magical is happening on a small farm in upstate New York. Animals of all shapes and sizes are living side by side -- talking, listening, learning, and loving -- along with caring people who have come to learn the secrets of interspecies communication. It s a gift that all of us are born with, as long as we re willing to open our hearts and minds to the gentle creatures who share our world. This is what happened at Spring Farm when two very special women gave shelter to animals that were sick or abandoned. As trust and affection grew between them, so did their capacity to exchange feelings and thoughts. Today, the miracle of Spring Farm CARES is shared through communication workshops for visitors, students, and animal lovers. So come discover the magic of Spring Farm. Humans are more than welcome. You ll meet Ricardo the duck, who explains that he won t leave his warm nest in a nearby chimney even if the house owners disapprove.Chubby the horse, who shares her feelings of despair when her barn catches fire.Elvis the kitten, who wiggles like a rock star.Sugar the Shetland pony, who dedicates a poem to her long-lost herd.and a whole menagerie of mouse-friendly cats, loving llamas, gregarious guinea pigs, delightful dogs, and other amazing critters. Bookseller Inventory # AAV9780743464864

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Book Description Gallery Books. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. 320 pages. Dimensions: 8.9in. x 6.0in. x 0.8in.Welcome to Spring Farm, where animals and people come together -- to explore their own natural ability to communicate with each other. . . . Something magical is happening on a small farm in upstate New York. Animals of all shapes and sizes are living side by side -- talking, listening, learning, and loving -- along with caring people who have come to learn the secrets of interspecies communication. Its a gift that all of us are born with, as long as were willing to open our hearts and minds to the gentle creatures who share our world. This is what happened at Spring Farm when two very special women gave shelter to animals that were sick or abandoned. As trust and affection grew between them, so did their capacity to exchange feelings and thoughts. Today, the miracle of Spring Farm CARES is shared through communication workshops for visitors, students, and animal lovers. So come discover the magic of Spring Farm. Humans are more than welcome. . . . Youll meet Ricardo the duck, who explains that he wont leave his warm nest in a nearby chimney even if the house owners disapprove. . . Chubby the horse, who shares her feelings of despair when her barn catches fire. . . Elvis the kitten, who wiggles like a rock star. . . Sugar the Shetland pony, who dedicates a poem to her long-lost herd. . . and a whole menagerie of mouse-friendly cats, loving llamas, gregarious guinea pigs, delightful dogs, and other amazing critters. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # 9780743464864

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