Living A Life Of Purpose

Living A Life Of Purpose


When  my children were growing up our house was home to a myriad cache of animals, four- legged and otherwise. I think the only creatures my salary was not feeding were those without legs and crawled on their bellies.

Dogs, cats, water fowl, rabbits, gerbils, turtles and birds, both wild and caged, were given TLC and a haven in our home. After a long day at work, I was never sure to whom or what I would be feeding and giving a forever home when I opened our front door, kicked off my high heels and threw the keys on the entry table.

I admit, my three children and I are all animal lovers. My daughters drooled ‘dog’ and ‘horse’ when letting their parents know they were getting the hang of expressing themselves as humans, but honestly, I point my now over-fifty finger at my middle child, Alison, for the menagerie on Ballinswood Road. Her first word relating to a four-legged creature (that should have been a red flag for sure) was an omen that her family then and now would have to accept her compassion for animals big and small.

Today, five decades later, Alison is still caring and giving shelter to rescue animals on her 75 acre thoroughbred farm, Tower Hill Farm, near Lexington in Paris, Kentucky. It’s a family affair – the three of them working as a team, she and her children giving a home to retired race horses, fostering dogs through the local humane programs and caring for and nurturing their own horses and pets.

A single parent of two active teens with a full-time job, I touch base with Alison daily on my iPhone, finding her most often in the barn late at night caring for the horses after a long day at work, followed by chauffeuring her children to and from their sporting activities. The phrase ‘a farmers work is never done, from sun to sun’ rings true for my daughter. Her passion for animals and caring for abandoned creatures sets her above and beyond most. Out of her own pocket she has been funding this humanitarian cause for years, because it is what she was called to do.
Veterinarian, farrier fees, feed, hay and other related expenses for these rescues are all a part of Alison’s humanitarian efforts to save these beautiful animals from the reality of being sold off at auction for slaughter to meat/dog food industries, or sold to medical industries for experimentation.

With all of the chaos and hate around us in the world that is out of our control, I would like to see something positive happen that IS within our grasp right here. Right now. I have set up a
GoFundMe account to help these animals in need and to assist Alison in proving a safe haven for others as well as these horses and foster dogs in need of a deserved forever home.

If we can assist Alison by raising at least $2,500 for hay for the rescue horses it would be a great support for these beautiful animals who don’t deserve to be cast aside.

Thanks ever so much

Sandra Hart
Hay For Horses Go Fund Me Account won’t you please donate now.

The Rewards Of Prison Life

Sofi, My Prison Dog
She was running. Running from what she could never reveal. Running to go home, sorry she ever left? Running for her life? We’ll never know because the authorities picked her up before her end game could unfold. If she even had one.

She must have decided her escape route would be the backroads of Oldham, a small town north of Lexington in Kentucky. Safer, or maybe a better way home. The county sheriff apprehended her. Ended her plans. Picked her up with her hair all askew, her primitive tattoo obscured by the unwashed skin on her stomach. She was a mess in more ways than one. Nothing else to do but throw her in prison. Lock her up safely behind bars to keep her from running again.

Well actually it was the Luther Luckett Correctional Complex in LaGrange, the first security institution to be built in Kentucky since the Kentucky State reformatory in 1937. The mission there is to prepare incarcerated felons to be capable of contributing to society in a positive manner upon release through the use of constructive classification, program and work assignment opportunities. What better place for her.

It was during her eight week incarceration there, that I first heard about Frannie through my daughter, Alison. She has always been active in rescuing those in need and when she met with Frannie, she immediately realized that her mother and Frannie would be able to help one another. Kindred souls, so to speak.

Frannie was in Camp Canine at the correctional complex, a joint venture between The Humane Society, Animal Control and Dr. Phil Heye LaGrange Animal Hospital. The program has 14 inmates and 12 dogs. Twelve trainers,one clerk and one janitor to take care of the messes. The inmates are responsible for the dogs 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Frannie was assigned to one of those inmate handlers. During the course of this program the dogs are trained in basic obedience commands, so they will be more adoption friendly. Each dog must pass the AKC “Canine Good Citizens Test”.

I was on pins and needles during Frannie’s jail time. I was accepted as her adoptive mother, so that hurdle was jumped, but would she pass her tests and graduate? With my three children (none of whom have ever been in jail, thankfully) I had already been there and done that, so I was not too keen at my ‘over fifty’ age on going through this one more time. I was in love with my new little girl and did not want to be heartbroken if she had to stay longer or, as in some cases, not graduate at all.

Finally, the call came and I boarded a Continental flight to Cincinnati where Alison drove me to the Correctional Complex. Without phone or anything that would ‘bling’ I passed through the metal detectors and my Frannie was brought out with a bright yellow lead around her neck. She was beautiful and, for me, it was love at first sight. She was a year old cream-colored Lhasa Apso with a flowing plumed tail curled over her back. I cried. The administrator cried. I was told Frannie’s handler (we are both anonymous to one another) also cried as he handed her over for her jail walk to meet her new mother.

My husband’s late mother was named Frannie, so it was rather awkward calling our new dog the same name. Frannie quickly became Sofi (we live in Sofi in South Beach, Florida) and she has been a wonderful part of our family for four years now. Each Christmas Sofi sends a card to the folks at Camp Canine with a request to hand it over to her handler. And every time she curls next to me or looks up at me with that sweet face, I am so glad that she got in trouble and wound up in prison. Sometimes prison can be a good thing under certain circumstances. Incarceration in her case gave both of us a second chance for a new and better life.*

*My husband and I had been mourning the death in the months prior to finding Sofi our six year old Harley, a Shih Tzu.