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DIARY OF A DAY

Every day is different with new highs and new lows, changes, challenges and decisions.



People who work in Rescue and in Sanctuary are often deeply empathetic people whose hearts are wide open to both deep wounds and blessed joys.


6:20am - wake up, look out the window, and realize that there are white feathers visible outside at the forest edge by the house. Review the security camera footage for 24 hours and don’t see the source, but do see a coyote at 4:21am


6:22am - go outside and find white tail feathers with black edging. Realize with a sinking heart that that feathers belonged to Pilgrim the turkey hen.


Domesticated turkey hens still instinctively hide in the forest to lay eggs in the spring and summer


6:40am - find the last and most distant area with feathers and admit to myself that Pilgrim is gone. Cry, and set into motion a system here where turkey hens are wing-feather trimmed every February or March and placed into the minipigs area until after egg laying for the year ceases. All of us here want the birds to have a diverse life of forest duff digging, sunbathing, dirtbaths, bug hunting and more, Our system allows us to rescue about 5 times more birds, as long as we get them all into the coops at dusk each night. I take full responsibility for not spotting that Pilgrim was not in the Sweet Home Coop. We have two choices: take in a fraction of the birds into small pens, or get better at safe systems and walking the perimeter before dusk, plus trimming flight feathers. Her loss will wound me forever.


6:50am - try to calm down my mother in law currently living with us because she “wants to go home” and “has to get to class to teach” and “where is her car” and "when is her husband arriving" (deceased). She was a law professor, with solid intellect and a busy life. After graduating from hospice two weeks ago, we have had some sleepless nights watching her try to leave the second floor while confused and lost (and no longer weak physically as she was in hospice). Admit that we are no longer able to provide here what she needs. Make her breakfast and watch her eat while providing validation therapy “fiblets” and soothing her.

7am-noon - supervise high school senior for their senior project work onsite. Work with staff in group-think to make sure everyone is well and things are getting done. Today that included a permethrin dusting of the birds. Some folks were folding and organizing the shirt for our store.


Noon - prepare a meal for mother in law and sit with her and reassure her.


1:30pm -continue to do social media prep, supply orders, emails, bill paying and staff work, plus monitoring the high school senior


2:20pm - I have to tell my best friend that Pilgrim the Turkey is gone. Our Humane Education director has a special love for Pilgrim


3-5pm - Animal Care Circle for ten students 10-14 years of age. My spirits are lifted a little to watch the kindness and compassion nurtured for these young people.


5-6 - make dinner for my mother in law and do clean up while John eats with her and helps reassure her. Not able to make time to do a livestream on social media today.


7-8pm - get birds into the coops


8pm+ do office work and final social media posts and help get my mother in law settled in a bit for the night. Continue to check on my mother in law throughout the night to re-settle her and ease her agitation.


We are preparing to move my mother in law to a really excellent memory unit nearby (7-10 minute drive) because she is no longer safe here due to her confusion. She needs the stimulation of other people and activities. We can plan on going every day, and thankfully all her safety issues being addressed will allow me to get some sleep at night. I have the most amazing staff now at Unity Farm Sanctuary, and the humane education program has launched. I promise each and every one of you and myself too, I will do more, do better, try harder, love more (yes drink water and get sleep too)



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7 Comments


Judy Brown
Judy Brown
Jun 24, 2023

You’re an absolute miracle, Kathy! ❤️❤️

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Marie B
Marie B
Jun 08, 2023

You are an amazing example of love and Compassion (with a capital C)

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I miss pilgrim so much but she in a better place now -will

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Steven Locke
Steven Locke
Apr 17, 2023

John and Kathy, I am so sorry that your mother is having such a difficult time and appreciate the toll it takes on you as well. My mother lived into her 90s and developed dementia which progressed for the last four years of her life. She was in CA and my sister lived 20 miles a way while I was living in MA. My mom refused to leave her home for assisted living so we hired a live-in person who helped her and that fortunately turned out to be the best solution. But I hear many stories from friends and patients about the challenges of helping aging parents. It is one of the most challenging times in the life of…

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Kathy Calm
Kathy Calm
Apr 15, 2023

Poor Pilgrim! Maybe hang some coyote deterrent around the perimeter! I've been watching the sheep/Goat cam and they are running the sheep around, Winston is missing and it still looks pretty hot there for the woolly residents.

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