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God put it my heart early to have a sheep to tell the story of “Jesus the lamb of God.” I had sent emails to sheep farmers around our area and ask them if they had a baby sheep that we could have at the Trails. We had no money, so it would have to be donated. One farmer replied and donated a small sheep. We took her to the farm with us to see my Mom. While there, she followed their dog around. His name was Wilhe. So we decided to turn the W upside down and name her Millie. When she was old enough to breed, a family that my sons played basketball with raised desert sheep and made a donation. I had never heard of them, but they are a hardy and easy to raise sheep. She donated a male sheep to us so that we could breed Millie and have lambs each spring to tell the story of “Jesus, the lamb of God.” Dilly rhymed with Millie, so that is where he got his name.
When my son brought him home to us, he was so wild. We kept him in the garage for the first few nights and when we would try and pet him, he would go crazy. He would literally climb the walls to get away from us. It took a little time, but he gentled down, and even leads now.
Most people will look at him strangely trying to figure out if he is a goat or a sheep. He likes to stay in a barn and at that time we did not have a barn. He continually crawled under the fence and would go to the neighbors barn. They were patient with him until he started butting them when they tried to put him back. As he got older, he liked to butt people more and more. After he bred Millie, we decided to get him gelded. He is much more gentle now, and he goes to most of our events with us. His unique color and breed delight the children and make him a joy to get to know.
God had put it on my heart to have a live nativity from the start of New Life Trails. We didn’t have any money, so we were looking for someone to donate a donkey. We found an advertisement about a donkey at a kill lot that needed a home. They still charged, but there are individuals that will pay that charge if you give them a home. This was one of those time. Although, a mule had been pulled off a kill trailer and placed with the donkey and we would need to take both. We were lead to take both, and soon they were delivered to the New Life Trails. Lizzi was the name given to the donkey and we decided to keep it. From the start, we fell in love with Lizzi and her big ears and her loud brey.
They told us when we made the arrangements to take her that she might be bred, but they didn’t know for sure. With great anticipation we marked the date and waited impatiently!!!! So impatiently that we had the vet take blood to see if she tested positive for pregnancy. At that time, they could tell from the reading, so we went back to waiting. We waited a few more months, and had her tested again and this time, she tested positive. We were so excited!!! This was the beginning of our love for Lazzi!!!
We called him Lazzi because his mom was destined for the kill lot. We felt that we saved him or brought him back from the dead. If mom died, he would too. Lazzi was short for Lazarus.
I’ve never been there and seen a donkey give birth, so I was a little nervous about the event. It happened to my surprise earlier than I anticipated. My phone had died, and it was one of the volunteers from New Life Trails that came knocking on my door. He frantically stated that Lizzi had been in labor for 30 minutes and they had been trying to call me. They said that his nose and 1 foot were out, but she didn’t seem to be able to do anything else. When I arrived, their was a crowd of people watching. I quickly grabbed one leg, and a volunteer grabbed the other and we pulled slowly. It was just within minutes and Lazzi was here! He was absolutely adorable!!!!!
However, I was so surprised that Lizzi was pawing at him and biting him. My first thought was that something was wrong, but a vet showed up and told us that was Lizzi’s attempt to get him so that predators couldn’t get him. In wild, coyotes can smell and come quickly to get the new baby when it is vulnerable at birth. He finally made it to his feet and it was amazing. His ears looked like they would topple him over because they were so big. He has brought hours of joy and delight to New Life Trails!!!!!!
Mickey is 14 years old gelding miniature horse. He came to New life trails in 2016. A gentleman that owned him donated him to us. He had used Mickey with his grandchildren, but they are grown and moved away.
When we went to pick Mickey up, he was difficult to load. His owner mentioned that was one of his struggles. He also had hooves that were grown out extremely long. He was adorable though! A big ball of black fluff , with tiny black ears, and big brown eyes that would melt your heart!!!!
His owner mentioned that he loves apples and apple treats, so we used those to coax him into the trailer, but it didn’t work. We finally ended up pushing and pulling him to get him loaded.
Once loaded, we were so relieved, but he made a horrible sound that we could not identify. We fed him an apple to calm him down. He even made the noise while he ate the apple. We were very concerned! It wasn’t until after several visits to the vet that we discovered that he has COPD. That is a breathing disorder that can’t be cured.
He mainly makes the sound when he is running, or gets anxious. When we would take him to the vet, we couldn’t get him to make the sound, so we would try to record him making the sound on our phones. It was extremely frustrating.
The veterinary gave us two medications to give him, but he hated both of them. We tried them in his feed first, but he wouldn’t eat them. Then we mixed them and put them in a syringe. One of us would hold his head while the other put the syringe full of medicine in his mouth. He was so precious as he would just lay his head on our lap. We hated the medicine for him, but loved the time with him.Unfortunately, the medicine did not help him. I discovered this one evening when I went out to feed. He was laying on the ground just heaving and gasping for air. Frantically, I screamed his name as I was running to him. I thought that we were losing him and my heart was not prepared to embrace such a thought. I put his halter on him and pulled him to his feet. Upon standing his breathing calmed and he and myself regained composure!!!! Our neighbor to the Trails offered his back yard to house Mickey. It is all grass and has a shed in it for him to stay in when the wind is blowing and creating dust that irritates his breathing.
Mickey travels with us to all of our events, as he now trailers easy. The events do not seem to bother his breathing so we are very thankful. He is always the center of the show as he is so calm and embraces all the love and hugs that given. He gives small rides and loves for small children to sit on him.
He and we are enjoying the new life that God has given him at New Life Trails.
Miracle is a rescue mule. She was loaded on a truck that was leaving to go to Mexico to a kill lot. She had a huge sticker on her hips that was her kill number. The manager made a statement that she did not know why she chose to pull her off, but had a strong feeling that she should. We know that God had a special plan for her life with us. When we made arrangements to get a donkey, she had been penned with the donkey. They had bonded, and the shipper said that they had to go together.
When Miracle arrived, we were shocked. They had told us that she was blind in one eye, and crippled, but we had no idea how bad the shape was that she was in! She wasn’t blind in one eye, she didn’t have it, and her feet had three layers of hoof which made it terrible difficult for her to walk. We didn’t know what we were going to do with her. We had a vet and a farrier suggest that we put he down, but we just felt that was not the story that God had for her. We found a farrier that thought that he could help her and we started on that journey. We are happy to say today that she can walk well!!!!
Although, she is not a beauty to look at, she is loved by many. Her favorite fan is a young girl from Marland Children’s Home. She chose Miracle over all the other animals to be a unicorn for her birthday party. She loves to come and walk with her and spend time just being together.
We use Miracle to help individuals understand that when the world says that you are not useful, God has a plan!!!
Since the time that God began bringing animals to New Life Trails, we had wanted a donkey so that we could have a live nativity. We did not have money to buy a donkey, so we were looking for a free donkey. One day, we found a donkey on a rescue site. We let them know that we wanted to give her a home. However, we found that there was a high charge even for rescue donkeys. Fortunately, some one paid that price so that we could get her.
Shortly, after we made arrangements, we were notified that the donkey had been penned with a mule that was blind in one eye and crippled. We were informed that they had bonded and if we wanted the donkey that we would have to take the mule too. We thought that we would be a good home for the mule, too, so we made the arrangements.
It was only a few day and they brought them to us. When they arrived, the donkey was what we expected, but the mule was so sad. She was not just blind in one eye, it was gone. She wasn’t just crippled, but she couldn’t walk. Her front feet had 3 layers of hoof on them from being foundered. It took forever just to get her to her pen. I was devastated! I didn’t know what we had gotten ourselves into.
She laid down a lot because it hurt her to stand. We put her hay and water close to her so that she would not have to get up. On her butt was a big circular sticker, that had her kill lot number. We found out later that she was already loaded on a kill wagon to go to Mexico. The rescuer told us that she just felt so strongly that she needed to take her off of the kill wagon, so she did, and she put her in the pen with our donkey.
We name our mule, Miracle, because we felt that is what God would have to do for her to survive. We took her to vet and found out her age by looking at her teeth. She was about 20 years old. The vet recommended that we have her put to sleep as she could see very little hope for her recovery. We also saw a farrier that had the same opinion. We couldn’t understand why God had brought her to us, just to have her killed. We looked into what it would cost and what to do with her body, but we just couldn’t do it.
We found a second farrier, and he said that he thought that he could help her, so we began work on her feet. She gained weight and began looking better;however her feet were still in terrible shape. We even tried putting a horse boot on her. They helped her, but they would not stay on. We questioned God’s purpose in all of this, until the children’s home brought their children out to see the animals. The children ran to and loved Miracle! One young lady loved her even more than the rest. She said that she was going to adopt her in her heart. She wanted to have an unicorn birthday party,and she wanted Miracle to be her unicorn, even though there was a much prettier white horse. Everytime she came out, she wanted to spend time with Miracle. It was as though their hearts had always belonged together.
This young lady had major back surgery and a sponsor in town sent her balloons with a picture of Miracle.
We have had Miracle for two years now, and her feet have finally gotten well enough for her to walk. I watched her the other day walk, and it truly was a miracle.
When we tell Miracle’s story, we share the similarities of Miracle’s story and our own. We are all on a wagon with a death sticker. The Bible says that all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 and The wages of sin are death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23
Just like Miracle was saved from the kill lot, Jesus saved us from eternal death if we will believe in our heart that Jesus is God’s son and that He died and rose on the 3rd day and that He paid the price for our sin, and confess with our mouth that Jesus is our Lord, controller of all things in our lives. Romans 10:9
Satan tries to tell us that we have no purpose, that we are too damaged, but just like Miracle, God has a plan and purpose for our lives.
There was a man that rented the adjacent pasture to our at the Trails. He had 4 mares, but he never checked on them and two were very poor. I knew that they were getting ready to foal, so I checked them daily. It was a rainy morning, when I found a little sorrel filly in the pasture. It still makes me smile when I think of the first time I saw her. I entered the pasture and began petting her mother, but she would not let me touch her. I stood by her mother for quite some time before she finally let my hand touch her little nose. It was a moment of delight!!!! We did this repeatedly for several days, and then noticed that her little ears were filled with ticks. The only way to remove them was to get her to the ground and hold her while I removed them. Having grown up on a farm, I knew how to throw a calf, but I had never thrown a horse. When I first grabbed her, she reared into the air. When she did, she fell over onto the ground, so that solved the problem. As I pet her small face, I noticed the brown spots on the white blaze. They looked like rain drops, so I named her Rain.
We made a fence around the wooded part of the Trails, so that we could bring the mothers with their foals up and we could watch over them. We haltered Rain and played endlessly with her. She was gentle to brake to lead and loved the nurturing that we gave her. However, her mother got sicker and sicker. Then one day she died. We got Rain a supplement and bottle fed her for the remaining time that she needed the nourishment. She became the farm pet, which is not always a good thing for a horse. She picked up some bad habits of trying to kick the other animals when it was feeding time. We are still working on that habit. However, she has gone to a trainer now to be broke to ride. I know the training will help her and she will be a wonderful addition to our riding horses.
My daughters grew up on farms off and on, up through their adolescent years. My youngest daughter has been living in town for some time. I guess it just got the best of her because one day she went and bought a batch if baby chicks to keep at her house. Well, that didn’t work very well, and she contacted me to donate them to New Life Trails. Rocky was one of the chicks that has now matured. I am amazed as I look at the brilliance of his colors. God is such a One of details!!!!! Which should be a reminder that He cares and is involved in all the details of our lives.
Because I have another rooster, Rocky stays outside the chicken pen. He roost on top of the duck pen on a board at night. When I feed after dark, and he has already roosted, I’m a little nervous about going in to feed because I am pretty vulnerable. He has never tried to flog me, and I’m thankful for that. With a rooster, you never know when that behavior is going start. I just hope he doesn’t catch me by surprise someday!!!!!
weedle Dum is a female miniature pygmy goat. She is three years old. She and Tweedle Dee came to us from neighbors by the Trails. They had bought them for their grandkids. I can still see them when they were so little in their yard. I fell in love with them. At first, they just ran when they saw me. I would take feed to the fence and put on the ground. They would slowly come to eat it. Then, I would reach through the fence to pet them. They were very reluctant at first, and then they tolerated it to get feed. It wasn’t long before they would call to me when they saw me come to the Trails to feed the other animals. Even though they weren’t ours, I considered them part of the family.
A month passed and the adults were disappointed that the children wouldn’t spend the time with Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. They were still very wild. The neighbors ask me if we would be interested in them for the Trails. I said, “Yes!” So we brought them to the paddock. Keeping the older goats in was difficult, these little goats were impossible. We have coyotes behind the Trails in the wooded area. I was so concerned for the safety of these two. “Oh, my!”, we would chase them for hours when they would get out some small hole or crack in the fence. Getting a secure pen finally made, we could rest in knowing that they were safe!
Since they were older when we got to handle them, they were difficult to gentle. They had an instinctive fear that kept them from our love.
You might wonder where we came up with their names. They were so cute growing up, and they always moved side by side. It reminded me of two characters in the cartoon Alice in Wonderland, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. While these were cute names, they were impossible to remember. It wasn’t until Tweedle Dum became pregnant that I could remember her name through association; Tweedle Dum had a baby in her tum, and Tweedle Dee was a he. Crazy! I know!!!!!
Tweedle Dum has been pregnant twice. Her first pregnancy, she had twins. We were sooooo excited!!! They were both males, and we named them Oreo and Creme. Oreo was black and white like an oreo cookie. Creme was almost all white, so we name her after the creme inside. After Tweedle Dum had her babies, she became so much more gentle. We could pet, halter, and lead her. We were able to take her to events for New Life Trails, and she interacted wonderfully!
Silver Bells is the daughter of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. She was born on a sunny afternoon surrounded by the New Life Trails family. We name her Silver Bell because she was born with ears that looked solid silver, and they hung down like bells on her frail little body. Her facial markings were almost identical to her mothers. All of our goats are males so I was so happy for Tweedle Dum to have another girl to hang with! In the days that followed her birth, we enjoyed watching her bounce around like a little ball. It is a characteristic of the miniature dwarf goats and makes them a delight to watch.She is a joyful part of our New Life Trails family!
Wilbur was purchased by my youngest daughter. She did woodworking and traded a cabinet that she had done for him. She got him as a baby and raised him in the house. His favorite thing was to jump on her bed and sleep. When she had to move, she was not able to take him with her, so she donated him to the New Life Trails. The children loved him! He was always willing to take a cracker, fruit snack, cookie, or whatever you offered to him. He would even take it out of your mouth.(No lip touching either!!!) Our first events were at church. He visited our Wednesday night children’s program. While he loved to interact, he didn’t like to be picked up and he would squeal like crazy!!!!!! We didn’t train him to wear a halter, so we would have to herd him to the location or carry him. One time, he got away and we had 20 people from the church chasing him. Finally, a friend of mine and I tackled him. It was crazy!!!!!
The Trails did not have good fencing at the beginning, and Wilbur was an escape artist! He loved to go to a trailer park near us and eat chestnuts from a tree there. He would come back home after he was done, but I worried that someone would keep him for the wrong reason. I called him our missionary pig because I got to know so many people in the trailer park! Unfortunately, animal control did not find his chestnut tree visit as entertaining as we did, and we were given a warning that a fine was coming if they caught him out. It was at this time that I put a plea out to my church to help me fix the fence. The response was heartwarming. They chose to come on the Great Day of Service and put in a new fence and clear the pasture of a lot of brush. It was amazing to see the 250 people gather to help the animals and the people they minister too.
Wilbur’s cutest moments were when he and Brownie were little and used to sleep together in the shed. I would love seeing them settled in for the night together. However, many times, I would think that I had lost Wilbur when he was burrowed under the hay so much that I couldn’t find him.
Wilbur got to be a daddy once and had 11 little piglets. One of his son’s still is part of New Life Trails. His name is Chunky. 2 of his girls went to a wonderful home where they even get to celebrate their birthdays each year!
Wilburs favorite thing is to get belly rubs. You start by rubbing his back and he will lay down so that you can get his belly.
He is a wonderful part of New Life Trails!!!!