Giving up a thriving eleven-year teaching career, Kathy Stevens bought a disastrously rundown farm on a vast number of acres, and with sheer determination, boundless compassion, and limited funds, turned it into an acclaimed haven for abused livestock, the Catskill Animal Sanctuary. Her books, Where the Blind Horse Sings and Animal Camp, present heartening stories of the difficult work that has gone into saving more than 2,000 lives since the sanctuary's 2001 founding. Stevens lives in Saugerties, New York.
She had a small animal carrier in her hand as she entered the barn. Her face was partially hidden behind long, dark hair and an oversized hat, but I could see enough to know that she was nervous. As I approached her, I reminded myself of the early morning’s conversation about feral cats. Absolutely no more, Lorraine had said.
“Are you Kathy?” she asked.
“Sure am...hi,” I responded.
“Hi, Kathy! I’m Pam!!” she exclaimed. “Here he is!!” I had no idea who Pam was. No earthly idea who “he” was, either.
“Isn’t he beautiful!!” she cooed as she lifted the carrier until I was eye to eye with a scrawny brown duck.
“Hey, little fart,” I said, smiling at the wary animal as I took the carrier from the woman’s hands. “I’m sorry,” I said, “but are we expecting you?”
Pam claimed to have spoken with someone here, and to have left several messages.
“Someone told me you could take him. Oh, please, I’m desperate!!” Pam began to cry. “He doesn’t stand a chance out there: someone just dumped him. He’s all alone!! The coyotes will tear him up!”
I placed the carrier on the barn floor, opened the door, and reached in gently for the little bird. All fluff and feather, he weighed no more than three pounds. And he only had one leg.
I wanted to lecture the woman about how manipulative it was to show up unannounced on a frigid winter morning, to claim to have talked to “someone” who agreed to take a one-legged duck. But I had neither the time nor the will. 170 animals were waiting for breakfast, and this little duck had one leg.
All right,” I answered. “We’ll take him.” And so began another day at Catskill Animal Sanctuary.
More than anything else, Where the Blind Horse Sings is a book about love. Written by the founder of Catskill Animal Sanctuary, a haven for abused farm animals, the book depicts a world in which distinctions between “human” and “animal” are meaningless, a world where care and affection trump years of neglect and abuse. Readers will meet animals like Dino, an old toothless pony who survived an arson that killed 23 horses; Rambo, the sheep who informs the staff when an animal needs assistance; Paulie, the former cockfighting rooster who eats lunch with the humans and accompanies the director around town on her errands; and dozens of other critters, all larger than life. Side by side with them is a staff of hilarious, irreverent, but always loving humans, for whom every animal life—even that of an injured frog rushed to the vet for emergency surgery—has merit. These tales will profoundly—and joyously—change your life.
Read Biography Kathy Stevens