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Animal Camp: Lessons in Love and Hope from Rescued Farm Animals Hardcover – September 8, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
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More About the Author
Kathy left the South in the early 80's and entered graduate school at Tufts University in 1984. After two years in a public policy program, the idea of making a difference from behind a desk was utterly unappealing. She wanted to impact young people's lives through working directly with them. So she added a third year of graduate school and took her first English teaching job north of Boston in 1987.
In the summer of 1999, after a decade in the classroom, Kathy was offered the principalship of a new high school scheduled to open in Boston in 2000. But to her own astonishment (again), she felt finished with public education. So one warm June day, she made her final end of the year speech to her final group of graduating seniors, encouraging them to be bold, to have courage, to write their own stories. But what was hers to be?
She asked herself the big questions: "What do you love? What do you believe in? What do you do best? She talked with friends. She kept a journal. She cashed in her teacher's retirement to live on while she waited for answers to come. Mostly, she took epic hikes through the woods with her yellow lab and best pal Murphy.
Three insights guided her through this important period of reflection:
1. She detested suffering and felt compelled to address it...in some fashion.
2. She loved teaching, and suspected she would miss the experience of guiding minds toward deeper understanding.
3. She loved and missed having animals in her life.
In 2001, with some good fortune and a great deal of hard work, Catskill Animal Sanctuary, one of the nation's only "teaching sanctuaries," was born.
Eight years later, Catskill Animal Sanctuary has saved over 1,600 farm animals--nearly all of them victims of unspeakable suffering. They have accepted animals seized by police from failed or fraudulent sanctuaries. They have worked with State Police and the New York State Humane Association to prosecute serial abusers who keep scores or hundreds in filth and confinement. On weekends, visitors come to this joy-driven place to meet their remarkable residents, and laugh when Rambo the sheep demands to have his rear end scratched, or when Franklin, their young orphaned pig, trots up and says, "Glad you're here!!! Have anything to eat??!"
With meaningful relationships, a wonderful partner, and her best pal Murphy tagging along everywhere she goes, Kathy Stevens continues to live a blessed life. She is puzzled when people refer to her as a "hero" or a "saint." "How many people are fortunate enough to do what they love, what they believe in?" Kathy asks. "I'm the luckiest person I know. Catskill Animal Sanctuary is simply my gift to the world--a thank you for a life filled with opportunity. It's a place that embodies everything I believe in--and what I believe in, essentially, is love."
Top Customer Reviews
First of all, the `camp' referred to in the title occupied 6 weeks of summer, during which she took a few animals to live with her at her partner's country cottage. In the book, this adventure occupies 50 pages. In the remaining 130 pages, no mention is made of the camp, which left me with the feeling that this much ballyhooed experiment didn't really happen--or that perhaps it didn't yield the results she was hoping for, so she chose to ignore it for the rest of the book.
I also wondered if the manner in which she managed the camp indicates how she manages her sanctuary. Quite frankly, she comes across as rather reckless. She poorly plans the transport and reintroduction of animals, plays lame pranks, and hopes to set up a variety of experiences, the purpose of which seems to be to surprise her longsuffering partner. She expresses several wishes: "what I'm really hoping is that Franklin [the pig] joins us for a swim" and "what I'm really hoping for is that Alex [an interloping pigeon] rides on Franklin's back." We never know if either happened--and these two simple fantasies indicate what we learn about her bigger hopes. Ms. Stevens is so preoccupied with what she wants to have happen that she never tells us what really does transpire.
It's obvious that she wants a perfect world. She is so committed to it that she paints one herself, but the brush strokes are those of a caricaturist. I expected the photo plates to filled with Thomas Kincade prints.Read more ›
"Animal Camp" is an enjoyable book by itself, but readers may also want to read Steven's first book "Where the Blind Horse Sings."
(I'm looking forward to the next book!)
What Kathy Stevens has created in CAS is nothing short of amazing. I find it hard to believe anyone could read her books and not have a fundamental change in how they view animals, specifically farm animals which we Americans take completely for granted. Her books have changed me and hopefully will do the same for others.
Although factory farming, rampant abuse and cruelty to animals exist and they are painfully real. Most people choose to turn a blind eye, assuming wrongly that it is a necessity. Kathy Stevens takes on a huge challenge:raising awareness without turning people off or away. In "Animal Camp" Kathy Stevens manages to do just that and brings us into a world of kindness and hope. She leaves us wondering..."What if there is a better way?"
Most Recent Customer Reviews
America's farm animals in general need alot of attention to the many abuses they suffer --- I love all stories that show the animals, in the end, get rescued from those who should... Read morePublished 24 months ago by S. Plowman
Wonderful book! I think everyone should read it, we could all take a lesson from the animals. Kathy Stevens and her crew are special people and the world needs more of them.Published on November 12, 2013 by Rayann Moody
I rated this 5-stars because of the stories and lessons it tells. It's an absolutely wonderful rendition of some the events at this animal sanctuary. Read morePublished on June 9, 2013 by xLouise
A beautiful and insightful book into the joy of living with, rescuing and rehabilitating animals. I am proud to say I am a vegan!!Published on May 27, 2013 by Samantha Bouilliart
If you love animals this is a great read!! It explains the plight of farm animals without making it too sad to read. Read morePublished on June 28, 2012 by M. Rush Gillespie
I won't say that this is the best piece of literature I've ever read but after reading Kathy Stevens' first book, Where the Blind Horse Sings I knew I wanted to read this follow up... Read morePublished on June 11, 2012 by jenb
On the one hand, I love the idea behind this book. Care and compassion for farm animals is a noble thing, and I believe that animals are too often the subjects of abuse in this... Read morePublished on October 18, 2011 by Sara M
It was satisfying to hear more about the growth and inner-workings of the animal sanctuary. This book, however, focused far too much on preaching the vegan lifestyle and less on... Read morePublished on July 23, 2011 by Patti Kaye