Summer 2022 Newsletter

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Wyatt listens intently to a beautiful musical performance by Laura Sodders

The leaves are turning red and gold as we wave farewell to another summer. But what a summer! Hot humid days, the smell of fresh mown hay, thunderstorms and fireflies. We enjoyed live musical performances throughout the warm months by Laura Sodders, who came to play for the horses. They loved it!  Wyatt, in particular, would stop his perpetual mischief-making to listen intently to the music. Thank you Laura!

We watched all the baby goslings, bunnies, and fawns born in the spring grow up before our eyes. The Lily Pond was bustling with wildlife that can be broadly placed into two categories: "The Scamperers" and "The Waddlers." In the former category, the fawns, bunnies, squirrels and chipmunks were quick and light on their feet. In the latter, the geese, ducks, opossums, raccoons, and a newly arrived woodchuck toddled languidly around the property. A family of raccoons moved into the barn and immediately began to wreck havoc, emptying

garbage cans and tearing into new bags of grain. We even found raccoon prints on the seats and gas pedal of the Kubota and strongly suspect they've been taking it out for wild rides under the light of the moon. Mama raccoon discovered that she could keep herself and her babies cool by napping in the rafters of the barn where the breeze from the fan made the hot days more bearable. The ring-tailed gang draped themselves over the narrow boards above Wyatt's stall and we all watched with nervous trepidation lest one should fall right onto Wyatt, who would be the last horse in our stable to put up with raining raccoons in a calm manner. In other official news, our neighbor's barn cat Missy has permanently

relocated to The Lily Pond. Our neighbor commented that he hadn't seen her all summer. We caregivers assumed a look of innocence and kept our mouthes shut. Missy and her two kittens have been enjoying three meals a day on the porch of our cat house. So there you have it... The Lily Pond is the place to be.

Before this year draws to a close, we want to comment on something incredible that occurred in May and has happened repeatedly throughout American history: the ability of a horse to inspire an entire nation. This is what Rich Strike did in the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby. We are well aware of the problems plaguing the racing industry. The illegal drugging of horses, with XY Jet sadly being a recent victim. The overbreeding that has resulted in a bone structure not strong enough to withstand the rigors of the sport, as the on-track breakdowns of Ruffian, Barbaro, Eight Belles and Emtech have demonstrated. The casual discarding of horses after their racing career, putting them in danger of the slaughter pipeline, as tragically happened to Exceller and Ferdinand. But this is not a commentary on the racing industry. This is a hymn to the horse.

Twenty horses were entered in the Run For The Roses, with Epicenter and Zandon as favorites. The night before the race, Ethereal Road was scratched. The next highest ranked horse on the leaderboard was Rich Strike, a relatively unknown three-year old colt owned by Rick Dawson and trained by Eric Reed. Rich Strike was therefore entered as a long shot at 80-1 odds.  He started from post position 20, furthest from the rail, with jockey Sonny Leon in the irons. The starting bell rang and twenty of America's best athletes thundered down the track at lightening speed. Rich Strike was at the back of the pack, still in 15th place after the first mile with a seemingly impenetrable wall of horses in front of him. And then something 

unbelievable happened... a stunningly strategic execution of high velocity maneuvers by Rich Strike and some of the savviest jockeying we've ever seen. Sonny Leon targeted every small opening and relentlessly pursued each narrow opportunity, weaving Rich Strike through the undulating sea of horses to the rail, where the horse unleashed incredible speed to pull ahead in the final furlong and win the race. It was game on: the jockey and the horse were clearly together in the zone. Sonny Leon knew what his horse could do. Rich Strike trusted his jockey and when Sonny asked him to go for the impossible, he did it without hesitation. It was the second largest upset in Derby history. Stunned, the crowded grandstand went wild and Rich Strike became a national hero.

Due to the publicity of the sport, there are many Thoroughbreds who have captivated an entire nation through their beauty, power, courage, and speed. Whether from humble beginnings, such as Seabiscuit, John Henry, or the hunter/jumper Snowman, or from the hallowed barns of the aristocracy, such as Man O' War, Whirlaway, Citation, or Secretariat, they touch and inspire the hearts of the people. Secretariat's performance in the 1973 Belmont is still considered one of the greatest races ever run. This superstar won by an incredible 31 lengths in 2 minutes 24 seconds, a track record which still stands today. Thousands of spectators in the grandstand - men and women - were weeping as Secretariat rounded into the home stretch, a vision of supernatural athletic perfection rocketing toward the wire to win the race and the Triple Crown. Even this writer has to wipe a tear from her eye when watching the video of Secretariat's dazzling Belmont run. And then there's Zippy Chippy, who ran 100 races and lost every single one of them. Nonetheless, Zippy had a huge fan base that nicknamed him the "lovable loser" because they could relate. Zippy Chippy didn't care whether he won, he simply had a grand old time galloping the race and would prance off the track with head held high, clearly proud of himself. People noticed. For Zippy Chippy, it was all about the joy of running.

So what do we take away from Rich Strike's incredible Derby run? 1) Seek out all opportunities and when they arrive, don't walk - run, run, run with them. 2) There is no room for self doubt. Go for the seemingly impossible at full gallop. And finally, 3) Spend time with horses. They are a triumph of evolution and a miracle of creation.

Bring On The Dancing Horses

Do you remember that 80's hit single "Bring On The Dancing Horses" by Echo and the Bunnymen? The song is about people gazing at three stone statues of horses. Well, we are pleased to announce the arrival of three trotting horses to The Lily Pond!

Roll to Thunder, Mastoris and Itzatrooper in the kill pen tagged for slaughter

In the spring, The Standardbred Retirement Foundation (SRF) put out a call for help for yet another group of Standardbred horses that had landed in a kill pen in Pennsylvania. Bail funds were being raised to secure their freedom, but the horses had no place to go. The Lily Pond reached out to offer a home to Mastoris and Itzatrooper. We saw the look of despair in their eyes. When SRF discovered that we are a 501(c)3 sanctuary in good standing specializing in senior horses with excellent vet references, the adoption coordinator jumped on the phone to ask could we please, please offer a safe landing to any of the senior Standardbreds they had already bailed from the kill pen but who had no home. Old and arthritic, they were of little interest to adopters who generally seek a horse they can ride and compete with in events. We agreed to take Roll To Thunder, a 23-year-old ex-racehorse that had been sitting in quarantine for over six months, lonely and unwanted. And so the wheels were set in motion. Roll To Thunder was transported

to the same quarantine facility holding Mastoris and Itzatrooper. We began fundraising for the cost of vetting, transport, additional hay and grain, halters and blankets while preparing a paddock that would be their future home. We want to especially thank Cynthia and Ernie Rao for donating the installation of electric fencing to reinforce the safety of the paddock. 

We know very little about the background of these three horses. Mastoris was bred at a harness training facility in New Jersey but never raced. Itzatrooper is also a registered trotter who never made it to the track. Perhaps they were considered too slow to compete. Roll To Thunder did race the tracks with 25 starts, but was not successful. With no wins and only placing 3rd a handful of times, he was sold to the Amish as a buggy

Mastoris as a 2-year-old

Summer 2006

Mastoris in the kill pen

March 2022

Mastoris at The Lily Pond

June 2022

horse like Mastoris and Iztatrooper. These three endured years of hard labor under less than ideal conditions. Roll To Thunder had a wounded leg and they were all severely underweight when finally dumped in a kill pen. And then their fate took a turn. The three arrived at the Lily Pond in June, with Itzatrooper needing medical attention due to an abscess in his hoof and a cut on his face from being kicked in the head by another horse while at the quarantine facility.  We were delighted to find that all three are very sweet, gentle horses. We nicknamed them Max, Trooper and Thunder. Max exhibited confidence and curiosity, happy to engage with people. At first we thought he was the alpha of the herd... but no, it's Trooper. He reminds us of a bulldog, pushing the others aside to be first 

Max, Thunder & Trooper the day of their arrival at The Lily Pond

Founder Susan Bandy with the  Standardbreds

Max, Trooper & Thunder

July 2022

to the food bowls and hay. Thunder was the lowest in the herd pecking order. Shy and reticent, we recognized the unmistakable signs of abuse in his past. He would need time and lots of love to establish a trusting relationship with us. We noticed that Thunder was having trouble chewing. The vet was brought in to float his teeth and confirmed that due to his advanced age, most of Thunder's teeth are worn completely down. So we started soaking his grain into a soft mash, which he loves! He was also given his own stall 

where he can eat in peace. This put him in the same paddock as Lou de Fontaine, another off-the-track Standardbred at the sanctuary. An unexpected friendship was born. Both are Standardbred Trotters retired from the race track. Lou was successful; Thunder was not. Lou is confident; Thunder is not. Lou had a loving home upon retirement; Thunder was sold into farm labor then dumped in a kill pen. Fate brought them together at The Lily Pond, where they became best friends. Thunder used to get pushed around by the more assertive horses in the herd... but not anymore! Lou is his champion and very protective of his friend. 

So our three dancing horses have settled in well in their new home. We want to thank all who generously donated to make this rescue a reality!

Thunder & Lou sharing a snack

Won't you please consider sponsoring one of these horses with a monthly donation? They have been through so much and deserve the best care we can give! 

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Binx The Miracle Cat

Sometimes when life is at a low point (and we mean head-in-a-mud-puddle low) miracles happen. The story of Binx begins with a woman who regularly feeds a feral colony of cats. One day, she arrived with food and spotted a black ball of fur laying lifeless in a puddle. Recognizing Binx from the colony and fearing that he was deceased, she approached him and was met with a small movement of his head and a soft, plaintive meow. This was an emergency situation. She scooped up his limp body and rushed him to the veterinary hospital. Binx was indeed close to death. He was FIV+, he had a bacterial infection and was so severely anemic and dehydrated that he had collapsed into a puddle without the energy to move. The medical team did their job well, treating the infection and dehydration. And slowly this little black cat made a recovery. The woman had contacted a friend in feral cat rescue, who brought him to her home to continue 

antibiotic treatment. She began networking to find him a home and that's when we got the call. We agreed to welcome Binx to our family and placed him in a catio in our special needs cat room.

Despite hailing from the streets, Binx clearly was once someone's pet. This black beauty loves people and will happily plonk down in your lap and purr for pets. So perhaps he ran away or maybe he was abandoned, forced to make a rough living as part of a feral colony. The hitch is that Binx hates other cats and will promptly pick a fight with anything sporting whiskers and a tail. We assume that tangling with feral cats is how he became FIV+. But this is getting depressing! Let's focus on the many talents of this funny feline! Frankly, Binx is a better

conversationalist than most people we know, happily chirping and chatting about politics, sports and the chipmunk family outside the window. He is also a master of goofy expressions, sometimes appearing shocked, sometimes cross-eyed. We figure he's a strong contender for any derp competition on social media. So let us know if you want to come cuddle with this floof and capture lots of funny pictures. If you win a derp photo competition, Binx wants half the winnings in catnip.

In Loving Memory
by Susan Bandy

We recently had to say goodbye to two beloved members of The Lily Pond family. These transitions are never easy... in fact they are devastating. One of the most difficult aspects of animal rescue is grieving the loss of their passing - a challenge we face regularly given our focus on seniors, special needs, and hospice care. We also acknowledge the privilege of supporting an animal as they cross over into the next phase of their soul's journey. These moments are sacred and full of grace. We find comfort in the special memories we shared with our beloved four-legged friends and the fact that they were living their best life with us... safe, well fed and cared for, and loved.

Always loved.

APRIL was a blonde beauty who holds a special place in our hearts. She was our first rescue horse at The Lily Pond, arriving with Sammir in 2018 from the Labrador Hill cruelty case in New Jersey. Unloading from the trailer, we were shocked to see just how skinny and starved she was. We immediately offered hay, but realized that no matter how hard she tried, April couldn't eat it due to missing most of her teeth. So we mixed up a mash of warm, soaked grain and that became her daily diet as we carefully built up her weight by several hundred pounds. We discovered that she was arthritic and also had an allergy to grain, causing problems with her coat.  We carefully addressed these issues and were pleased to see April's beauty blossom, with dapples appearing in her palomino coat. And thus began our training in developing protocols for rehabilitating neglected, special needs horses.

April was a beloved member of the herd, bonding with Sammir, Mister Ed and Zoom in particular. Over 30 years of age, April was also the resident matriarch with a sassy attitude. She wouldn't hesitate to scold other horses if they weren't behaving to her liking. Anytime we heard April yell, we knew to check on what trouble Mister Ed was brewing. But she herself was not above creating a little mischief. When mucking her stall, April insisted on being right there, following us around with the intent to nip at an arm

when the opportunity presented. We learned to dance with her while mucking, keeping just out of reach of her two remaining teeth. If she was feeling cranky, she found it entertaining to poop in her water bucket. Ugh. But April's little idiosyncrasies were far outweighed by her many wonderful qualities. She was a sweet horse with a big heart. She dearly loved her friends in the herd and was a loyal companion. She loved belly rubs and soft peppermint candy. And we loved her.

Founder Susan Bandy with April

April turned 32 this year, and we noticed that her body was slowing down. Her balance had been precarious for the last year. She lost her footing and went down in the paddock on more than one occasion, requiring three of us to get her back on her feet. And then she went lame in her left front hoof. The vet was called and we began treatment, but neither traditional medicine or alternative remedies were alleviating her increasing pain. It came to the point when April could no longer walk and was having trouble keeping her balance even while standing in her stall. Her appetite was decreasing. One day in August, we could see it in April's eyes. She was ready to make her transition and join her beloved Sammir and Mister Ed over the Rainbow Bridge. Her passing was very peaceful, surrounded by all of her caregivers. Our first horse; our matriarch was finally free to run across the stars.

Thank you April for gracing us with your beautiful presence and for befriending so many in the herd. You were a wonderful teacher. 

May you run free with the Horse Spirit Herd in the sky. ❤️🌈💫


ABNER arrived at The Lily Pond after being abandoned by his family at a rest stop off the freeway in the cold snows of February 2017. A witness had seen them open the car door, toss him out and drive off. Abner stood there alone, bewildered and shivering in the snow. The woman scooped him up and took him home but she couldn't keep him. She contacted several rescues and that's how we won the jackpot. Abner was delivered into our arms and we knew we were in the presence of a very special, wise soul. With an otherworldly gaze and an open, trusting personality, Abner befriended every single cat and human with whom he came in contact.

Abner was the king of goofy expressions, turning them into an art form. People have been known to catch a glimpse of him making a face and collapse on the floor in a fit of giggles. From his wide-eyed gaze to his fang-filled smile, he was a master of physical comedy.  It's a wonder to us that we never received a call from a Hollywood studio. 

Abner was fond of helping in the kitchen. Every time we dished out wet food for the kitties, he was up on the counter stepping in each of the bowls and taste testing to ensure quality.  Every time. But his most unique contribution to the general level of comedy at the cat house was his role as a feline pillow. For some mysterious reason, other cats felt compelled to plop right down on top of Abner and take a nice long nap. We've never witnessed this behavior with any other cat. Our green-eyed comedian didn't seem to mind, snoozing contently while smushed underneath some opportunistic kitty who preferred the comfort of Abner's floofy orange fur to the five hundred other cat beds scattered around the house.

In January, Abner developed an eye infection that resisted several rounds of treatment. And then a large lump appeared over his right eye. Our vet informed us that we were dealing an inoperable tumor. A cancer diagnosis was too shocking for us to immediately accept. We sought a second opinion. Diagnosis confirmed. We pursued traditional and alternative treatments, but the tumor was taking over his face while Abner was growing weaker and less interested in food each passing week. We treasured our remaining time with our beloved boy until the cancer finally took him from us one heartbreaking August day. And now we treasure all the joy-filled memories of this wise, goofy, magnificent cat who walked out of a snow bank and into our home and our hearts.

Thank you Abner for all the cuddles and smiles.  Your presence was a joy and a blessing.

May you rest in peace. ❤️🌈💫

Pitter Patter Paws

Thanks to the support of our wonderful donors, The Lily Pond family continues to grow. In addition to the arrival of the black beauty Binx, we welcomed three other former feral kitties to the sanctuary!

TYSON is a tabby with kind eyes that shine a gorgeous shade of green. At the age of fifteen, he's content to watch the world go by from the top of his favorite cat tree. In fact, he requires that we bring his meal to him rather than descend from the lofty height of his throne to mingle with the plebeian crowds around the food bowls. If he feels that service is too slow, he will jump down, march into the kitchen to voice his concern, then scamper back to his tree to await delivery of his meal. Tyson struggled with stomatitis as a feral until he was rescued by a kind woman. All of his teeth were removed, which greatly improved his comfort and health. He also has a respiratory condition that we manage with steroids. Sweet of nature, he has an endearing habit of placing a paw on your arm to request cuddles. 

MARLON is a gray and white kitty with fabulous whiskers. Upon arrival at the sanctuary, he was frightened and demonstrated an impressive talent for high-decibel hissing that is unrivaled in our experience. Fangs barred, he would shout his disapproval at the approach of any human. No petting here, thank you very much! But it didn't take long for him to realize that he is safe, although he still harbors doubts about the vacuum cleaner. Now Marlon scampers happily around the cat house, curious about all goings-on. We discovered the key to his heart in the form of kitty treats. All the animals receive treats at bedtime and this family tradition meets with his full approval. At treat time, Marlon's first on the scene.

SAVANNAH is a sweet, shy tabby. Her pretty name matches her lovely face. Her preference is to remain safely ensconced in a kitty condo. She is gentle and introverted, inclined to ponder the existential nature of life in quiet solitude rather than joining Toblerone for his mischievous antics or batting around catnip toys with the kittens. We're still getting to know her but can report that she definitely prefers a meal of smooth pate to meaty shreds or bits. Savannah was part of a feral colony in Newburg that frequented the yard of a local woman who fed them. Overwhelmed with the sheer number of cats in need, she asked for help. We suspect that Savannah once belonged to someone because she does not display any of the tough, reactive behavior of a true feral. Rather, she graciously welcomes gentle pets.

Thank you to all who came out to support the animals at our Jazz Picnic By The Pond!

Special thanks to our event sponsors:

Theresa & Joe Casal

CM Cookies

Cooper's Daughter Spirits

Nassau Country Value

Carley, Julia, Nicky & Sophia Neet

Sienna Sky LLC

Kimberley & Doug Travis

Whitney Vos

2022 Winner's Circle

A heartfelt THANK YOU to our generous donors, sponsors, and volunteers!

Malea Alberts says hello to Dutch and Waverly

We are so grateful to the members of our Winner's Circle whose generous support allows us to accomplish our work helping animals in need.

The Lily Pond Sanctuary is a

501(c)(3) charitable organization.

Our EIN Number is 37-1932175.

Donations are tax deductible.

Click the below link to support

our mission!

Donations can also be mailed to:

The Lily Pond Sanctuary

P.O. Box 325

Ghent, NY 12075

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  • State Street Foundation
  • The Sternlieb Family - In Loving Memory of Clancy
  • Marianne Stickles - In Memory of Betty White
  • Maryellen Strnsel - In Loving Memory of Toby Bear, Beloved Pet of Dawn & Jeff Balak
  • Supreme Soft Serve
  • Tracey Terry - In Loving Memory of Putter
  • Laura Thierry
  • Kim & Doug Travis - In Loving Memory of Stormy
  • Kelsey Trumbull - In Loving Memory of Jade
  • Amado Tucker
  • Nancy Tucker & Family - In Loving Memory of Breeze & Brazen
  • Unleashed Pet Care Services
  • Nancy Van Deren
  • Chelsea Van Deusen - In Loving Memory of Chubby
  • Lynn Varland & Todd Proper - In Loving Memory of Stevie
  • Donald Vettman - In Loving Memory of Gottie
  • Marlene Vidibor - In Loving Memory of Pepper & Patches
  • Whitney Vos
  • Holly Wanek & Erin Horn - In Loving Memory of Lulu
  • The Wasileski Family - In Loving Memory of Lola
  • Jessica Wasserman
  • The We4 Four Felines Fund - In Loving Memory of Yuukio & Rambeau
  • Rafael Webb & Judy Horton - In Loving Memory of Baby Gray
  • Holly Weed
  • Patricia Weed
  • The Wehmeyer Family - In Loving Memory of Inky
  • The Whispell Family - In Loving Memory of Jack
  • Ashley Winters
  • Christine Ziemski - In Loving Memory of Roger, Bebe, Georgie & Delany
Mission Statement:
The Lily Pond is a 501(c)(3) animal sanctuary that brings people, animals, and nature together in healing partnership. The sanctuary provides a lifetime home and quality care to rescued cats, dogs, horses, and parrots in need.
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The Lily Pond Sanctuary, Inc.
(518) 392-3030