The Lily Pond

Winter 2022 Newsletter

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The calendar may have marked the official start of Spring, but Winter has not yet turned over the reins here in the Hudson Valley. Sunny spots of yellow daffodils and forsythia appeared, only to find their blossoms covered in snow within the week. It's been a busy Winter season and we're delighted to share with you all the exciting new developments at The Lily Pond over the past three months.

Winter's song was a symphony of movements, with quiet starry nights followed by days of howling winds, booming thunder and trees crashing to the ground. But the defining feature of the season was definitely ice. Frigid temperatures transformed our road into a rink on which the dogs happily skated while the horses and humans had to exert the greatest care to remain upright. The horses fared well, but the humans...not so much. More than one of us found ourselves sliding along the ground, considering an investment in mountain climbing gear and contemplating the advantages of having four legs rather than two.

The geese returned to the pond in early March, only to find it still frozen. Frankly, we would have stayed on the beach in Florida sipping umbrella drinks for another month rather than flying north only to nest among icicles. But the geese didn't seem to mind, gleefully honking and stomping across the glassy surface of the pond, startling the beavers who peered out from their lodge to observe the noisy parade. The neighborhood barn cats also eyed the feathered crowd with interest, but contented themselves with the bowl of Friskies set out on the front porch of the cat house.

The crimson wing of the cardinal against a snowy landscape was a beautiful sight to behold. We stayed close to the house when a silver-furred coyote wandered out of the woods to hunt mice in the field.

Our friend Opie the opossum has been a regular on the scene. We had placed a box with straw out on the porch to provide our neighbor's barn cats with a refuge from the elements. Barn Manager Brenda Izzo went out one morning to fill the food bowl and was surprised to find Opie nestled comfortably in the cat box, happily munching on cat chow.

We find ourselves living in unprecedented times. After two years of a global pandemic, we now witness two countries gone to war. We send our prayers to the people of Ukraine. When the world feels like its upside down, we focus on that well-known saying "Do what you can, where you are, with what you have." And what we have at The Lily Pond is a beautiful mission, providing a home and loving care to animals in need. We each come to this life with a purpose and fulfilling it is our gift to the world. Global change starts with the individual. 

The passing of the actor Betty White in December was a sad loss. Her fans organized The Betty White Challenge, inviting people to donate to their favorite animal welfare organizations on January 17th, which would have been Betty's 100th birthday. We want to thank all of our donors for supporting the rescued animals at The Lily Pond in honor of Betty White. What a wonderful tribute to a lifelong advocate for animals!

Seventeen Hands Times Two

We welcomed two new horses to The Lily Pond this winter.  Each stands at 17 hands and have larger-than-life personalities to match.  Meet Wyatt and Lou De Fontaine!


What do you get when you breed an 18-hand paint-colored Percheron mare to a Thoroughbred stallion?  You get Wyatt. A 17-hand, 1400 pound horse that thinks he's a puppy and always wants to play...and get into mischief. If Toberlerone is Head of the Department of Mischief at the cat house, Wyatt is our chief troublemaker in the barn. His favorite pastime is grabbing a swatch of clothing in his teeth and trying to play basketball with his caregivers. He once caught the hood of our Barn Manager Brenda's sweatshirt and lifted her right off the ground. This hobby is not limited to people. Wyatt also managed to catch our mare April's blanket in his teeth. Realizing she was caught, April turned and gave Wyatt a loud scolding before breaking away. April went to the other side of the paddock and deliberately ignored Wyatt to teach him a lesson in manners. But we secretly think April enjoyed the attention, because it wasn't long before she was back by his side. In less than a month, Wyatt managed to smash April's window, rip the salt block from his stall wall, and bust through the paddock fence. If our resident enfant terrible doesn't get his way, he can throw a holy tantrum, rearing, yelling and kicking the walls of his stall such that we are left praying that he won't reduce the barn to a pile of toothpicks. We gave him a Jolly Ball to keep him entertained and less focused on wanton destruction of the barn. He loved it... until he popped it an hour later.

But Wyatt's behavioral issues are better understood in the context of his past. He was born on a nurse mare farm, where mare's who have just given birth are leased out to the Thoroughbred racing industry to nurse their new foals. This left Wyatt all alone without his mother, receiving bottle feeding and later a milk substitute in a trough. For this reason, Wyatt is considered an orphan foal. He did not receive the proper nurturing from his mother or behavioral training from a herd or trainer. In fact, Wyatt was kept isolated in a round pen. And then a miracle happened. Three women in horse rescue - Tracey Rostron, Theresa Wasula and our barn manager Brenda Izzo - showed up at the farm to investigate the conditions. The owner wanted to downsize and word on the street was that the horses were not living in good conditions. The ladies discovered Wyatt standing alone in a round pen with no shelter and a slog of mud and manure so heavy that it reached his knees. That was enough for them to decide that they needed to get this horse out. They negotiated the purchase of Wyatt from the farm and

brought him to a paddock at the home of Theresa and then later with Brenda. He lived there for a year until January, when Wyatt developed cracks in both front hooves that reached all the way to his coronary band. You horse people know that this is bad. Very bad. That's when Brenda and Tracey approached The Lily Pond about providing Wyatt with a home where he could have a dry stall for his hooves to be treated and healed. We had an open stall, so Wyatt arrived on a cold January day to his new home under the sponsorship of Tracey and Brenda. We immediately had our vet and farrier out to begin treatment for Wyatt's hooves, placing him in special shoes. We're pleased to share that we've seen much improvement over the past three months.

Despite Wyatt's talent for causing trouble, he keeps us smiling with his goofy personality. He loves to stick out his tongue and if you scratch just the right spot on his withers, Wyatt will break out in a delighted and completely adorable smile. If you visit the barn, be sure to bring bannanas - his favorite treat!



If you want to meet a superstar, come visit our newest arrival at the barn! Lou de Fontaine is a 22-year-old retired Standardbred Trotter. At 17-hands, he is a majestic horse with the manners of a gentleman. He was born in France - his dam is Ceres de Caeiu and his sire is Bonheur de Tillard. Lou had a talent for racing. While calm and friendly at the barn, when Lou arrived at the race track it was game on. He would transform into a warrior: teeth barred and a lightening spark in his eye, he focused his enormous power into achieving thundering speeds. Lou loved his job and did it well, winning first place 10 times, coming in second 12 times and third 8 times out of an incredible 118 races for total earnings of approximately $400,000. His main jockey was Jean Paul Piton, considered one of the best in Europe. Although Lou raced primarily in France, he traveled internationally to compete in Spain, Belgium, Switzerland and Sweden.  After eleven years on the track, Lou was retired. His owner considered selling him to another trainer who would have continued to race him. But his exercise rider, Alexandra Dewez, knew that Lou was tired and arthritic from such a long, demanding career. She bought him and kept him as her companion horse. Lou came with her when she moved to the

United States, living at a local equestrian facility near Hudson for many years. And then the unimaginable happened: Alexandra was unexpectedly notified in September 2020 by the U.S. government that her green card would not be renewed and she had until December to leave the country. She left her home and job to relocate to Europe but did not have the resources to take Lou with her. Alexandra found an adoptive home for Lou, but after a year she was shocked to hear that things weren't working out with the adoptive home. She knew that if Lou were sold at public auction, his age and arthritis would make him a likely candidate for purchase by a kill buyer to be shipped to slaughter. Concerned for Lou's future, she even considered euthanization as a humane

option. Because Lou's life was on the line, a friend suggested The Lily Pond to Alexandra as a potential home. That's when she contacted us from Europe, asking if we could provide him with a safe place to land under her sponsorship. We agreed and Lou was trailered the sanctuary on March 24th.

Upon arrival, Lou was introduced to all the horses and promptly fell head over hooves in love with Waverly, our off-the-track Thoroughbred mare. This will come as no surprise to those of you who are familiar with our herd. Waverly is our resident femme fatale.  She merely has to bat her pretty lashes and all the geldings become instantly besotted. Lou is not the first to fall under the spell of her  charms... and that posed a problem. Our gelding Dutch Treat has shared a paddock with Waverly for over a

Lou with his previous owner

Alexandra Dewez

year and they are a bonded pair. Dutch took instant offense to the prospect of a rival for her attentions, letting Lou know that Waverly is his lady love. So Lou will share a paddock with three other geldings. He's also the lucky recipient of lots of friendly attention from our Palomino mare April, who is fascinated with him. Lou is content to quietly graze the field in happy retirement after a long successful career. If you come to visit this champion, be prepared to practice your French - he is fluent!

The Story of Wilbur the Puggle

It happened on a cold, snowy February morning with the temperature registering only 2 degrees Fahrenheit. Barn Manager Brenda Izzo was on her way to The Lily Pond when she spotted something furry stumbling along the edge of the road. She braked to a halt and hopped out to investigate. What she discovered was a small dog, clearly advanced in age, blind to some degree and shivering with cold. Brenda placed her coat around him, scooped him up and plopped him onto the seat of her truck. She looked around for evidence of an owner and listened for anyone calling their dog back inside. Nothing. So she brought him to the sanctuary and fed him a nice breakfast.  Calls were placed to neighbors and the local dog control officer. No one recognized him and no one had reported a missing dog. A neighbor put up a post on FaceBook. No one recognized him. No one claimed him. So we named him Wilbur... and that's how he found his new home at The Lily Pond.

Our first priority was a vet appointment. Wilbur's claws had been allowed to become embedded into his paw pads and he had an eye infection. The vet estimated him to be 12-13 years old and also confirmed Lyme disease. This kiddo was a hot mess. Wilbur received a pedicure and we kept him on antibiotics.  He improved with each passing day and even began to show a pep in his step.

When he first arrived, Wilbur resisted going outside to do his business. Founder Susan Bandy discovered that if she left the door open, he would reluctantly comply, keeping his eye on the door and wasting no time getting back into the house. We suspect that on the morning Wilbur was found wandering the streets, his owner had put him out, shut the door and never opened it again. The days rolled by and as a routine was established, Wilbur became less frightened of being locked out. Going out with our Shih Tzu pup Happy also helps, as Happy boisterously bounces around the yard, demonstrating to Wilbur the proper zeal with which a pup should go out to take care of business. 

Speaking of Happy, the little tyke was delighted with the arrival of Wilbur. Happy's view of the world is that everyone is a friend. Wilbur is a quiet old soul not much interested in toys or treats and certainly not in bouncing around the room, which is Happy's favorite activity. He prefers to nap most of the day in a comfy bed. Undaunted, Happy marched into Wilbur's crate and plunked down beside him on the bed. Wilbur was rather baffled, wondering if his throne had just been usurped. But no, Happy just wanted to snuggle. After a couple days of this routine, Wilbur began to enjoy the company of a good friend. Don't we all?

Please consider a monthly donation in any amount to support Wilbur's care Sponsorship is tax deductible and sponsors receive updates and a gift.

Thank You!

Sponsor Wilbur!
In Loving Memory
by Susan Bandy

We recently had to say goodbye to a cherished member 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.

MISTER ED was a gorgeous chestnut quarter horse. Friendly and feisty, Ed was full of mischief. Whenever we heard April yelling, we immediately checked on Ed to figure out what he had done to warrant a scold from April. They were the best of friends. He loved to tease her and she basked in the attention. Ed also had a special heart connection with our Barn Manager Brenda Izzo. She showered him with treats and loving attention, which he returned in kind.

Mister Ed was rescued from a situation of neglect when his aging owner developed dementia. When we first set eyes on this horse, his ribs were showing and he had white foam coming out of both nostrils due to heaves, a respiratory condition caused by moldy hay. It took some time, but he gained weight and we got his asthma under control while also attending to an abscess in his hoof. It was an emotional roller coaster trying bring Ed back into health and we were rewarded when he began to really thrive in his new home.  We had all sorts of silly nicknames for him: Big Red, Eddie Spaghetti, and Special Ed.

This chestnut boy had a big heart and often demonstrated his gift of helping others heal. Founder Susan Bandy runs a pet cremation service across the road from the barn. Every day, clients would arrive heart-broken over the loss of their beloved pet. Mister Ed's paddock is visible from the Sienna Sky office, so clients would often walk down to greet him. Ed would grace them with his heart-based presence, comforting them through their grief. And they felt it. They would share with us the wonder of their encounter with Ed and how much it meant to them. Ed was also good with children. Always kind and gentle with the young, he would delight them with his antics and happily take treats offered up from their hands.

Mister Ed was doing remarkably well for a senior horse of 32 years. And then one day in January, he colicked. The vet came out immediately for treatment. But the next day there was no improvement so the vet returned in the morning and evening. By the third day, Ed refused to eat or drink despite our best efforts to coax him with his favorite foods. Another visit from the vet that evening resulted in a recommendation to either euthanize or hospitalize. We put out the emergency call for transportation to the hospital, and our friend Sue Brennan responded that she would hook up the trailer and be there in 20 minutes. It was late at night and a frigid 2 degrees when we transported Ed to Rhinebeck Equine Clinic, where he was immediately put on fluids as the doctors assessed how to save his life. Mister Ed responded well to treatment. The only concern was that his kidney values were poor. After four days in the hospital, Ed was doing well and we were told that we could pick him up. We planned a homecoming celebration, but Mister Ed never made it back to the barn. The night before pickup, the vet called to report that Mister Ed was declining rapidly. His kidneys and liver were failing, he had colicked again and begun refluxing. He was too weak to barely stand. There was nothing they could do. We rushed down to the hospital to be with our beloved friend as he was peacefully euthanized. His body had simply shut down. But even up to his last moments, Mister Ed's heart remained full of love.

Thank you Mister Ed for all the smiles and your wonderful friendship.

You are a gifted healer who helped so many. 

May you run free with the Horse Spirit Herd in heaven and at The Lily Pond. ❤️🌈💫

Whiskers For Days

Our family continues to grow as we welcomed three new kitties to The Lily Pond! They all came from feral colonies and each has special needs.

PATCHES & KABUKI arrived together on a cold December day.  They had each been rescued from a feral colony, living with their rescuer.  And then she was diagnosed with cancer.  She was beginning treatment and the prognosis was good, but she felt the only responsible thing to do to ensure the long-term safety of the cats was to find them a new home.  Neither were strong adoption candidates due to their feral nature and special needs.  She contacted The Lily Pond and we agreed to provide them with a forever home.

Patches is a black and white fellow approximately eight years of age. He was once someone's pet but had been abandoned at the Orange County fairgrounds, where a feral colony was living. But Patches didn't fit in. The other cats picked on him and prevented him from getting to the food. Then he was attacked by another cat and sustained a bad injury to his leg. The woman who was feeding the colony noticed Patches standing out in the rain, soaking wet and bleeding from his wound. So she trapped him and headed directly to the veterinary hospital. Patches required surgery and a $4,000 vet bill to restore him back to health. He lived with his rescuer until her diagnosis resulted in his arrival at The Lily Pond. We placed Patches in the special needs cat room with Kabuki due to chronic IBS. He has led such a stressful life that it has permanently affected his digestion. Despite being shy, Patches will purr for back scratches... especially if you offer a handful of treats!

Kabuki was born into a feral colony approximately five years ago. He has beautiful coloring, but sports a distinctly grumpy expression even when he is content!  Kabuki was having a difficult time of it in the feral colony, suffering from an eye infection and a wounded paw. His rescuer finally trapped him and got him to the vet pronto. This was no easy feat! Kaubki is extremely feral and frightened of people. He is at the ready with teeth and claws whenever a human happens to cross his path. The veterinarian's prognosis was not good. Kabuki required a blood transfusion and is FIV positive. The veterinarian gave him one month to live. His rescuer was not daunted, and took him home to nurse him back to health. He befriended Patches and two years later, he is doing well in his new home at The Lily Pond! 

GERTIE is a gorgeous 10-month old kitten with tortoiseshell coloring. She was born into a feral colony of cats living near the prison in Hudson. One of the guards feeds the colony and works to trap, neuter and release them. He trapped Gertie and discovered that she was missing an eye. No one knows how this happened - perhaps an infection or more likely a cat fight. He had her spayed and released her back into the colony. But he had misgivings. If she were to lose the other eye, she would not be able to survive on her own. So he went back and re-trapped her. That's when he contacted The Lily Pond about providing her with a home. We agreed and took her to the vet, only to discover that she is FIV positive. This complicated matters because our cats live together in a family setting. We could not risk Gertie

Gertie and Kabuki love to snuggle

spreading FIV to the other cats. Fortunately, we had set up a catio for Kabuki due to his FIV status. So we placed Gertie in the catio with Kabuki and were delighted to discover that they get along beautifully. They can often be found snuggling together in their kitty cubby. Gertie is extremely shy, but she has a sweet disposition. Her preference is to hang out with cats and be left alone by people... thank you very much. But she does allow us to pet and hold her.

She's a hunter and puts her ability on display when we dangle a feathered toy or toss a catnip mouse. We believe Kabuki is happy to have such a serene and gentle friend. Since placing him with Gertie, Kabuki has calmed down considerably, no longer hissing and trying to claw us when we feed and clean. Instead of hiding when we walk in the room, Kabuki shows interest in how we're interacting with the other cats. Gertie's quiet presence has given him comfort and greater confidence in his safety.

2022 Winner's Circle

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

Kim and Doug Travis visit with handsome Moon

We are so grateful to the members of our Winner's Circle whose generous support allows us to do 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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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