by Pam Owen
Hello! I am Puff, a Miniature Pony, and a most recent addition to Big Sky Ranch Sanctuary. I am about 27 years old and my life has been a rough one. Virtually forgotten and neglected, I was finally rescued and arrived at Big Sky Ranch. My hooves had become so overgrown that they curled up and were causing my legs to bleed. The wonderful people here at Big Sky whisked me off to the vets and, over the next year, I am expected to be all shipshape again! I am looking forward to many things now.
I do not wish to dwell on the past. That is behind me now! Andy, head gatekeeper here at the Sanctuary, has promised that I will live out my life here, surrounded by love and compassion. I am so very thankful that, when so many of our local residents began to answer the plea for financial assistance this winter to help heat the barns, I was invited to speak out!
I will try very hard to include all of the wonderful people and organizations that have, and continue to help, the animals at Big Sky Ranch. Earlier this year, when it was so very cold, Andy spoke about having a difficult time with vet bills, animal food costs, but above all, the costs of heating the barns. A radio story broke, North Grenville Times carried a story, and both were picked up by various media locally and beyond. Donations came in via so many diverse methods. Also from as far away as Calgary, Toronto and, closer to home, Ottawa. Yet, it was a local force of many that started stepping up and fundraising!
All funds are gratefully accepted and listed in no particular order. First off, I Puff, would like to thank individuals who contribute each year and who upped their donations in response to the needs here; the people who contacted my translator, Pam, personally to ask how they could donate; and the volunteers who give so much of their time.
VCA Canada Bayfield Animal Hospital, LCBO Kemptville Branch, Canadian Tire Kemptville all held fundraisers and accepted donations, RBC held a bake sale and had homemade items available, CIBC are running raffles of various gift baskets and items. Sue Laewen is raffling off opportunities to win homemade birdhouses. A Trivia Night in the Russell Arena, organized by Connie Johnston, and a novel idea with 97.5 Juice FM’s Jonny Parks spending a night in a stall with his new Bunkie ‘Archie’, a resident goat in conjunction with Kika’s staff at Brewed Awakenings serving up coffee and her scrumptious goodies. Heather Struthers of Performance Horse & Rider, and Orange Horse Studios Photography took pet photos for interested folks and a particular whinney out to Claire Larabie for her support and assistance in getting the word spread around!
This humble pony is overwhelmed by the response from our younger generation! Kemptville Public School and Parkdale Montessori held bake sale fundraisers, complete with colourful posters and LOTS of enthusiasm. Heritage Academy from Ottawa came out for a visit, bringing animal food, donation and supplies. 100 Youth Who Care donated their collected funds after a heartfelt presentation from Ethan. Five year old Avery decided to donate her birthday money to help the animals, while Addyson, Taylor and Piper collected funds and ran a bottle drive with everything going to the Sanctuary.
Puff gives all of the generous people four hooves up! He calls them his Big Sky Heroes and invites everyone over for a visit to see him and all of his new friends. Thanks to everyone who “helps us help them”!Puff says he is enjoying the nice spring weather, safe and secure here at the Sanctuary. For more info, or to donate, you can visit www.bigskyranch.ca