Jesse Mendes, one of my new Twitter friends introduced me to BrightHaven Healing Arts Center for Animals, a non-profit, holistic animal retreat. Usually I click right past opening videos and Flash presentations. Not this time. I watched the whole thing, with a lump in my throat and a smile on my face.
Jesse called BrightHaven a “hospice retreat centre for animals”. That’s an apt description. The animals who find refuge there are diseased, injured or just old. What Gail Pope and her staff do is accept and respect them, giving them a quality of life that acknowledges limitations but focuses on strength.
The Web site introduces visitors to the residents. There’s Edie, who came to BrightHaven to die but now figures she’s boss cat. Harley the Hog is a 900-pound pig with a sunny disposition. Bruce the goose is loved in spite of his having become overly protective of his mate, Georgette.
Death is a regular visitor at BrightHaven. Every animal is honoured, and the Web site carries obituaries for each of them.
BrightHaven offers wise advice on a natural diet for pets. And when it is time to let go of a beloved animal companion, they have a booklet that explains what to expect and how to be a wise and loving support.