Poetic Couture Magazine Endorses Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary and launches nationwide effort to help raise donations for this worthy cause. Please support Mary and Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary by donating today.
There are very few times in ones life where you can honestly admit to yourself that you have done all you can for human kind. My journey began with one woman that taught me more in one afternoon about the human spirit than any person I had ever met. Her name is Mary Rose, and she is the quintessential angel of peace and well being for the animal kingdom. Her spiritual connection to animals runs deep, and the lessons she has to teach through the work she does strengthens and motivates every heart she touches.
I embarked on my adventure in an SUV taking a road trip to the heart of the island where the rainforests blessed my trail, lush green Hawaiian landscapes merged mountains to seaside, and I became witness to cascading waterfalls, towering palm trees, banyans and lava rock, followed by surprising bursts of blossoming rainbow shower trees that all beckoned my arrival. The gentle breeze and the bright blue sky lit with sunshine whispered “hello” as I crossed over into another land. It was magical! My publisher and I stayed at a modestly posh resort where a man in a a t-shirt, shorts, and no shoes pleasantly greeted us along with his dog, Ice. A beautiful cluster of cabanas overlooking the ocean, and enchanted gardens of pink flowers and statues. With a good nights rest, I was anxious to meet Mary after searching for many months for the ideal celebratory organization that would represent our featured cause; one we would donate our time and resources to.
An early stretch of the arms and splash of cold water to my already curious eyes, and we were off to our location. Our drive of anticipation lead us down small winding unpaved roads. Left at the yellow fire hydrant and we arrived at our destination. Mary Rose greeted us with a hug, and her specially worn t-shirt she admits to
being the most fashionable attire she owns, especially picked for our meeting. As we entered the sanctuary we were escorted by her loyal followers, an assortment of dogs, and a cat she calls her greeter. The greeter I came to learn had at one time suffered from an affliction- a fear of any and all human interaction until Mary spent months teaching her how to communicate. After a short while this ball of furry grey was rubbing my leg with a gentle purr accumulating every lost hour of love and affection she’d missed in her lifetime. Mary knows all her animals by name, and they are all lead by a team captain. For the canines, a gentle socialite, a dog by the name of Crystal who bowed her head to welcome me as I approached her, and for the felines, an astute ginger tabby cat named Khan. All the animals have a story, and Mary can recite them all in infinite detail as I cordially encountered each and everyone of them, making it even harder not to grow even more attached to them.
Bridgit was the first dog Mary introduced me to, she was one of the founders and the first dog Mary saved- “we are very connected,” she says with a heartfelt smile. “When I found her she had terrible mange [a class of skin disease] so I took her to the ocean every morning at 6:00 and that’s what healed her,” she said. Mary further explained that with chemical treatments sometimes the mange will return. It can be called a puppy Pitbull disease because this breed is in- and overbred on the island. That is how their immune systems get suppressed and they are susceptible to mange. “Bridgit has taught me a lot about Pit Bulls, they are the American dog, and they are misunderstood, there is a stigma attached to them. When I was in Utah at another sanctuary I embraced one of the Michael Vick dogs, she was great,” she cheered, then we both laughed.
Continuing down the forest trails, we were introduced to a dog by the name of Polar Bear, a gorgeous white Husky who was rescued by a friend whose neighbor was going to shoot her. The next dog we met, Sunny, a beautiful Labrador was whacked over the head when he was young. Then there was the magnetic Pua- the most stylish of them all dressed in a beautiful coat of rich golden brown, blessed with piercing green eyes, and the lean legs of a model. I was surprised to learn that Pua was very neglected, and was living in the wilderness behind a drug store until Mary spent a month trying to save her. But if you are looking for any signs of PTSD or health concerns, you won’t find them on Mary’s animals. She believes in healing from the inside out. Each animal is treated with the same four step process physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual healing. It’s hard to overlook the obvious success of this process as they all beg for Mary’s attention and I witnessed firsthand the
candor of their personalities. There is one common thread between the dogs and cats here, love and compassion. Every story digs deeper and I became completely captivated in the presence of these animals.
This sanctuary came to Mary in a dream and stems from her longtime work with whales as a professional diving instructor for those in the army. But it started as many things at once she recalls. She explains to us mortals that her work with whales, sharks and dolphins as a diver taught her that “intelligence comes from the heart” and it was with this work that she came to understand the connection we all have with animals. It taught her how alike we are with them, how important this conscious communication is, and that saving an animal is much like saving yourself. “I have always been in tune; I have always had a very deep kinship with animals,” she says confidently.
When I asked Mary what her future dreams were for this new world she had created where a chromosomal DNA connection may have its place, the future seems bright, so long as the support keeps coming. “We are getting animals from all kinds of situations: from abuse, neglect, from people having too many animals, over breeding, people moving, and from people losing their jobs. If they still have a house, we provide them with food so they can keep the animals, but if they lose their homes, then the animals have to come here,” she says. Most of the animals, however, that the sanctuary currently adopts out are from people who want puppies and kittens, rather than adult animals which is causing a saturation point with the sanctuary until they receive more help from volunteers and foster persons. The key to Mary’s dream is the quality of the care and the animals, this is where it starts for her, so she will keep the number of animals to the minimum required to be sure that the care of the animals is top priority until it can expand further. But this does not slow Mary down, every morning she wakes is a new day of adventure and excitement. It was meant to be for Mary. When she started she had very little financial support, and the dogs and cats just kept coming. It was an intuitive moment when she realized that this was forever her home as well. With a hammer and some nails she and her sister will build more spaces, and she will find more help, “it just happens,” she explains.
The spay and neuter clinics will be starting again in January 2013, and this is where they will take care of 30 dogs or 100 cats per day to help others outside the sanctuary. Launching a “No Kill” Hawaii is her long-term goal, and the driving force behind her long days and nights of gratifying work. For the first time that day I saw Mary with disappointment in her eyes, as her brows revealed her sorrow to disclose to me that the local humane societies are killing 15,000 animals a year. “Its way too many,” she expresses with deep concern. But shortly thereafter her indomitable smile returns, “for the future I think in the different communities I would like to see small sanctuaries, in subdivisions because they are rather large and the houses are spread out- so each subdivision could have a small sanctuary where maybe 30 dogs or 50 cats would live, and an expanded foster network is needed so that animals have a temporary place until a home is found,” this is one of the many examples of her further expansion once her land is full.
A native of the Netherlands, her gentle accent, and kind disposition enveloped me, and I was transported to this momentous celebration of one woman’s vision. To know Mary is to know her animals. With over 300 of them now, clean, wise, well nourished, and famous for their position in the sanctuary they all carry the same personality, Mary’s personality. They are happy, fulfilled, living in the moment, and well taken care of. To have witnessed an animal haven in the middle of a rainforest, lead by a fully trained animal rescue effort, was a gift. One woman and her team of hard working associates with a vision to save animals, and for a future where there are no animals that are starving, scarred, abused, diseased or without homes.
A gentle rain, followed by skies of blue and a rainbow. The endless paths of green and trees each animal at the Rainbow Friends Sanctuary has their own plot of land to build a home upon. This is a place where smiles are featured on the faces of busy contributors and friends, and where you can find a new society of its own saving lives every day. This is a community of peace and refuge for animals to roam, to swim and play freely in the pond, and to know what life should be like without pain and sorrow. I am most grateful for the lessons I have learned about bravery, benevolence, and perseverance through the eyes of this amazing woman, with a vision to change the world, one intelligent heart at a time.
Please support Mary and Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary by donating today at rainbowfriends.org