From Publishers Weekly
Giving up a thriving 11-year teaching career, Stevens bought a disastrously rundown farm on a vast number of acres, and with sheer determination, boundless compassion and limited funds turned it into an acclaimed haven for abused livestock, the Catskills Animal Sanctuary. In her first book, Stevens, though she humbly claims "our job was to love and nurture them without expectation," presents the heartening story of the difficult work that has gone into saving more than 1,100 lives since the sanctuary's 2001 founding. The blind horse of the title appears among an eclectic company of pigs, sheep, cows, ducks and other animals with improbably Broadway-sized personalities-personalities revealed as the bond between people and animals strengthens, and the distinctions between them narrow. The anecdotes are fascinating, sometimes miraculous, and their power is undeniable: "I would not have believed that a rooster would so crave physical closeness that he'd demand to get in bed with me or that as he was dying, a gentle old steer named Samson would lick my face over and over until he took his last breath. But this stuff happens all the time." Though sentimentality in this case is de rigeur (how could a book about love for animals avoid it?), the ideas behind Stevens's stories-such as the inherent equality and nobility of all species-are affecting and thought-provoking.
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Stevens grew up on a horse farm and later became a teacher, both experiences making her detest suffering in all forms and engendering a desire to teach about the handling of animals. In 2001, she started Catskill Animal Sanctuary on a junk-filled farm. Volunteers cleaned up trash, built a house, repaired the barn, and created shelters and fences--and the animals arrived. One of the first was Rambo, a ram, who went from a charge-everything holy terror to a friendly protector who knew when other animals needed help. When blind horse Buddy arrived, he was afraid to move, but after Stevens taught him that he could trust her not to let him run into things, he "sang" his joy with loud neighing. Paulie, a cockfighting rooster, ended up sharing a bed with Stevens; Oliver the goat was found wandering Manhattan with "sold" painted on his side; little duck Petri was afraid of water; and Franklin the pig learned to manipulate his human caretakers. The theme here is love; the result is a book that will touch all readers. Nancy Bent
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