Since I'm here this weekend doing my, "Therapy For Therapy Horses" clinics I thought it appropriate for Theresa and Live & Let Live Farm Rescue be our Feature Friday today. How better to tell the tale of how this wonderful woman came to create the largest shelter, rescue, and sanctuary in NH and all the good that is done there, than to share here the story I wrote for Trail Blazer. "Carrots For The Horses" was published in the July 2012 issue of Trail Blazer.
"Carrots For The Horses."
Just outside Chichester NH there are 70 acres of peace, love, healing and restarting for animals great and small who have, through no fault of their own, lost their homes, families and loved ones. This place is called, "Live and Let Live Farm Rescue (LLLF)." Teresa Paradis founded LLLF in 1997 with the love and support of her husband, Jerry, daughter Heather, and 5 horses, 2 dogs, 2 cats and a parrot she had already rescued. The only way to tell the story of LLLF and the healing that happens there is to let you know, who is Teresa Paradis, and perhaps just a bit about the journey that brought her here.
|Teresa getting love ...|
Teresa, coming from a troubled childhood herself, always looked to animals for her own healing, love and support. Her first recollection of how deeply animals can care for us was her little beagle, Tippy. Twice as a young girl Tippy intervened when Teresa's safety was threatened. Once when a pack of free running dogs came charging at her, Tippy, a tiny dog with a huge heart, disregarded his own safety and plowed right into the pack. Teeth gnashing and barking fiercely he drove the dogs away. Another time, as Teresa was walking alone a man stopped his car and tried to harm her. Tippy attacked with the viciousness of a dog three times his size and the man sped away. Teresa knew it was that love and connection between her heart and Tippy's spirit that forged the foundation within her to somehow, someday, find a way to help as many animals in need as possible.
|Mooney trimming the grass at the entrance|
As a young girl she lived within walking distance of a horse farm that raised and trained Thoroughbred race horses. She had always been drawn to horses, even though she never knew any. From a distance she loved and watched the beautiful horses graze, prance and play. She hatched a plan to do babysitting and use that money to buy a bag of carrots for the horses.
Only one problem stood in her way. She had no way of getting the carrots to the horses. She decided she would sneak to the farm's mailbox and put the carrots inside with a note, "Carrots for the Horses." Her system worked flawlessly. For weeks she would sneak to the mailbox and tuck a bag of carrots inside, and then sit at her favorite vantage spot and watch the horses.
One day as she approached the mailbox she was startled by a man's voice. "Are you the young lady who's been leaving carrots for the horses?" Sheepishly Teresa whispered she was. The man replied, "I'm Morris Vallee, would you like to give your carrots to the horses in person?"
For the next few years Teresa lived a young girl's dream. She had a series of fun jobs that allowed her to live within the horses' spirit. Morris was a kind and gentle man who had a special way with horses. Because of his gentle ways, his horses often did well in the races, and lived a happy life on the farm. Through him Teresa learned a happy and good side of the racing industry. His teachings helped Teresa learn to love horses even more. Too soon, while traveling, Morris died in a truck accident. The farm soon closed.
Teresa found work at Suffolk Downs Race Track in East Boston MA as a groom, walker and handy person. What a very different world this proved to be than the peaceful, wonderful world with her old friend Morris. It was while working there that Teresa was introduced to the other side of the racing industry. It was while working there that she realized that one day she would work at a rescue. She just knew she had to be a part of helping horses in a big way.
|Rehabilitation can sometimes require a little song|
Time and life marched on; Teresa married, raised a family, and divorced. "Life has its ups and downs and nobody knows what crooked roads bring us to the fields we settle on." Teresa said.
Teresa and Jerry knew each other for years, but each had their own lives. Then one day Teresa got word Jerry was very ill. Teresa had already been rescuing horses and other animals and it was that inner spirit that reached out and told her to go to Jerry. Through the illness and healing they formed a bond that would mold them together each filling a void in the other.
Jerry had the land, Teresa had 5 rescued horses and a passion. Together they set out to save, heal and restart precious lives.
Jerry does most of the construction and road building, yes the road building. One of the beauties of LLLF is the way Teresa and Jerry uses the land and nature to help heal the broken lives of horses, ponies, dogs, cats, goats, pigs, chickens, parrots and any animal who needs help. The farm is laid out along a wonderful meandering trail through the sheltering trees.
|Paddocks along the winding way ... This is the corner of Sanctuary & Rescue|
Along the trail Jerry built a series of spacious corrals each with run-ins that are home to 2 or 3 horses. Plenty of room to run, plenty to eat, a place of shelter, and an abundance of loving care and attention provided by the farm's several hundred volunteers.
|Puppies getting baths after arriving at LLLF|
The entire farm embraces visitors with the feeling of love, care and security. It's part of the healing magic of LLLF. Just walking the tour along the dirt road through the trees by the horse paddocks makes a person feel welcome and happy. That's exactly the feeling Teresa set out to create with the park like layout of the dirt road system on the farm.
|Socializing PMU babies - The offspring of mares from Pregant Mare Urine Farms - 2 years ago LLLF rescued 104 "Premerians" ... 40 were pregnant mares ...|
You see at LLLF they not only heal animal's hearts and lives, but people too. With no formal program, in fact nothing at LLLF is formal, everything is relaxed and free. There are many human hearts healed here too. Not only the hearts of the adopters, but many of the volunteers who care for the horses and other animals come for healing, too.
Early on Teresa recognized that many of the volunteers came from broken homes or were far too often victims of domestic violence, or other forms of life changing stress and challenges.
She also noticed how these volunteers began to heal as they did some of the hundreds of things that needed to be done each day to care for the horses. She began to set up loose guidelines, and she structures the teams and chores to allow each volunteer to receive the most healing that they might need as well. Each volunteer is allowed to proceed with their duties at their own pace, providing the time and atmosphere for them to absorb the healing that even an abandon and neglected horse can give the human heart.
While all the necessary veterinarian care is provided without hesitation, the farm practices natural and holistic approach to healing and care. All horses are barefoot and hooves well trimmed. On a regular basis clinicians are brought in to teach volunteers and adopters basic natural horsemanship skills. Patty Sanborn, a Quantumbio feedback specialist comes by weekly, and as often as needed, to administer care for horses and other animals as they recover from their ordeal. Because of their excellent care LLLF has an excellent recovery rate for the horses and other animals they rescue, but the few who can never be adopted can live out their lives in happiness and peace in the LLLF sanctuary.
Since 2002, when they became a 501(c) 3 Non-Profit, they have rescued and found forever loving homes for 50-60 horses a year with a 95% success rate. How do they do that?
Teresa has a program that is very unique and highly successful. She says she is not trying to just adopt out horses, but matching horses to the right people for forever homes. She lets the horses choose. The first step to adoption at LLLF is, "Sponsorship." An adopter signs up for 30 days as a horse's sponsor, which places the horse on hold, while the adopter visits and gets to know the horse, and the horse can bond with the adopter. During this time Teresa participates in the visits and activities and monitors the progress. If all goes well at the end of the sponsorship the adopter may take the horse home, or sign up for another 30 days. If she feels it is not quite the best fit, Teresa will suggest another horse or, as often happens, another horse may choose this human, and the "Sponsorship," will start again with a new horse.
LLLF has several more programs to help horses and other animals. One of those is their, "Outreach Feedbank Program." This program is designed to keep horses and other pets in their loving homes if their owners come upon temporary hard times. LLLF can provide hay, feed, limited veterinarian care and other support to those people who might come upon such hardships as layoffs, illness or other conditions that may otherwise force them to give up loved pets or horses. It is in the, "Help Thy Neighbor," spirit that Teresa and the volunteers work in an outreach manner to keep as many horses and pets and their loving families together, and prevent once cherished horses from a one way ticket to the auction barn.
Each Sunday afternoon the enchanted roads and trails are opened to the public for guided tours for folks to feel the love and meet volunteers and visit the horses. As the visitors stroll along the guides introduce each horse to the visitors. They stop at each of the 28 paddocks and enjoy the moment. It is often during these visits that new friendships that last a lifetime begin.
And many folks feel the tug on their hearts to become part of the loving family of volunteers who help re-start lives.
LLLF is run entirely by volunteers and survives on your generous donations.
To learn more about LLLF and their programs Visit their website, (HERE)
Please join them on Facebook (HERE)
And if you visit, please take carrots for the horses.
|Powder says, "Thank You."|