From frog songs to photosynthesis, here is some hope in these dangerous days.
Every day seems to bring news of another mass killing of people by a person or persons. Guns and knives and suicide bombs feature prominently in our nightmares. Here in the United States and around the world, political systems are in upheaval. As hate surges in so many ways, discord among proponents of peace and justice makes it difficult to imagine homo sapiens ever sorting out our difference among ourselves, much less learning to rejoin the family of animals as equals rather than conquerers.

At such times, we find it useful to remember that the world is much than people. Here are some ways for you to do that:

Notice how many different animals there are in the world. Pay particularly close attention to animals who are very different than you. 

Here at the sanctuary, of course we draw people’s attention to the many ways that nonhuman and human animals are the same: We all want freedom. We all feel pain. But, in order to take good care of everybody, we also must take careful note of the ways that animals differ from each other… and us.

We find it heartening to be amazed by the diverse capabilities, characteristics, and ways of creating communities among other-than-human animals. From the extraordinary sensory capacities of duck bills to the deep-pitched emu rumblings that carry over remarkably long distances, the abilities of sanctuary residents never cease to inspire us. We also feel awed by, and know that we can never truly understand, the ways of wild animals who choose to visit us.

Yesterday, we saw wild ducklings swimming underwater in “Seagull Pond.” What were they doing? Just playing? Or perhaps diving all the way down to the bottom of the murky water to dibble for nutrients in the muck? We can’t know!

And the frogs we heard, and then saw, calling to each other from the rocks and weeds at the edges of one of the smaller ponds: What were they saying? We saw, and were thrilled by, a frog's yellow throat seeming to shine as it expanded with each twilight call. Was that color, along with the sound, part of the signal? Might frogs be like lightning bugs?

Like the dragonflies who also populate that pond, many of the animals you encounter will be insects. Notice them carefully too, and not just when you are worried about them biting you. What does the world look like to that beetle? Where did that multicolored moth come from, and where is she going? More important than any answer to such questions is the act of wondering and imagining what it might be like to be an emu, frog, or different kind of person.
Speaking of weeds, another way to remember that the world is much more than people is to notice the plants that keep on growing no matter what people do. From the sunny dandelions that burst from the cracks of urban sidewalks to the intrepid “superweeds” that have evolved resistance to pesticides, plants remind us that people do not, in fact, have the power to rule the world.

Quite the contrary! All animals, including all people, are entirely dependent on plants for survival. From low-crawling vines to towering trees, plants turn sunshine into the calories we need to eat while also exhaling the oxygen we need to breathe. Take a moment each day to marvel at the miracle of photosynthesis and you will find it much easier to resist human hubris.
This is not to say that humans do not have great power to cause harm, to each other, to other animals, and the planet. But thinking of people as just some of the many animals inhabiting the planet makes the variety among people more evident. One of the most important characteristics of human beings as animals is what biologists call behavioral plasticity . Human beings can, have, and will continue to behave differently in different circumstances. Our job is to shift the social and material circumstances in which people make their choices, in order to promote more peaceful and equitable behavior. That’s hard, but not impossible, to do, especially when we remember that photosynthesis is on our side.
Sanctuary News
Each of the past three weeks has seen an influx of children to the sanctuary. We thank the Upper Valley Humane Society for incorporating VINE Sanctuary into its summer camp schedule of activities. Each group of campers received a sanctuary tour, including facts about animal agriculture and information about veganism, before pitching in to help out with sanctuary chores such as picking up fallen branches from pastures. Of everybody at the sanctuary, Blake the cow was happiest to see the campers, many of whom were persuaded to share parts of their vegan lunches with her. 
Please join us in welcoming our newest sanctuary resident! Mona is a survivor of dairying who was discovered at a kill lot by people who were there to rescue horses. Mona approached the horse rescuers, clearly pleading for them to take her away from that hellish place. They couldn’t say no! They did manage to secure her freedom but then had nowhere to place her. Even though we were already one cow over what we consider our maximum capacity, we couldn’t say no to Mona either.

When Mona arrived at VINE, she was so weakened by the combination of recent trauma and long-term exploitation that she could not stand.

Thanks to everybody who donated to our infirmary campaign last year, we had the medication on hand to give her an immediate injection. Everyone was so relieved when she finally stood up and walked toward the hay ring.

Mona immediately latched onto Coco, also a dairy survivor, seeming to draw comfort from the elder cow. This was wonderful for Coco too, as she has needed a friend since the death of her brother Norman earlier this year.

But listen: We’re now at 42 cows with a budget that only covers 40. The horse rescuers were able to cover some, but not all, of our costs in transporting Mona to VINE. Of course, we called the vet out to examine her after she arrived, and we will be responsible for all of her vet bills going forward. In addition to hay, Mona will be needing nutritional support as she recovers from the traumas she has endured and develops muscle tone.  To make matters worse, donations to the sanctuary always ebb in the summertime.
You can change that this year. Give today, and join us in saying, “Welcome to your forever home, Mona!"