My Amazing Weekend at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary

My traveling schedule can sometimes get a little overwhelming. For example, in the past two months I’ve been to San Francisco, Florida, the Bahamas, Seattle, Massachusetts (twice), and New York. Periodically, even seemingly awesome invitations – like speaking at the Sivananda Ashram’s Peace Symposium in the Bahamas – can feel like one more thing on the never-ending to do list. And my most recent invitation, to be the keynote speaker at the Catskill Animal Sanctuary’s (CAS) annual Shindig, was one of those where in the days leading up to the 16-hour round trip drive I wondered if it was all worth the effort, especially with our upcoming Summer Institute (July 27-July 1), first ever alumni reunion, and our 15th Anniversary “Crystal Ball” on July 2.

On the drive home from CAS that night, I called our executive director for the second time in a month to say, “Please remind me when I start complaining about my travel schedule to shut up.” I said this because what I thought was going to be a tiring effort on my part turned out to be (like the visit to the ashram in the Bahamas), so profoundly transformative and such a tremendous gift to me personally.

Let me tell you about the Catskill Animal Sanctuary.

Run by the irrepressible, giant-hearted, super smart, hilariously funny, deeply generous Kathy Stevens, who has all the best qualities of the people I most admire all rolled up in one person, this sanctuary oozes joy and love. The people exude it, and the animals bask in it and give it right back. It’s a place where people’s hearts and minds are opened wide. I met Rambo, a very, very special sheep whom I can’t seem to get out of my mind. You can read about his amazing transformation from killer sheep to fierce protector of his fellow rescuees – from turkey to chicken to pig – in Kathy’s wonderful books. Visit this sanctuary if you can.

The take home message I’m leaving with? Keep saying yes. Despite the busy schedule, which often feels like just too much, when I say yes, great things happen. I’m so glad I said yes to the invitation to speak at the Shindig. I left soaring, full of love, with new friends, and much hope and inspiration.

For a humane world,

Zoe Weil, President, Institute for Humane Education
Author of Most Good, Least Harm, Above All, Be Kind, and The Power and Promise of Humane Education
My TEDx talk: “The World Becomes What You Teach"

Images courtesy of Catskill Animal Sanctuary.

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