Day 208: The road most travelled

Just noticed I got a little carried away with yesterday’s post *cough*War&Peace*cough*.

So this time, I’ll go easy on everyone.

I tried to be a more considerate driver today – signaling in advance, not following too closely, I even let a couple of buses squeeze in front of me.

Then, in the shopping plaza parking lot, I left the choice up-front spots for others, figuring I needed the stroll from the outer reaches.

I’ve found good-deed driving to be much more difficult than good-deed walking, for some reason.

It seems more of a challenge to be considerate of others when you’re strapped into a mass of metal that’s rocketing along at great rates of speed (the way I drive, anyway).

Wonder if this also applies to good-deed cycling or roller-coastering? Hmm….

The goat whisperer.

Andy Parent: The goat whisperer.

Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary

I know it’s not Sunday (my usual Everyday Hero day), but I came across a story about a real-life hero in the paper this morning and wanted to share it with you.

You’ve probably seen (or heard about) the movie Field of Dreams — of “if you build it, they will come” fame. Well, that’s exactly what happened to Kemptville, Ontario’s Andy Parent. Except it was an animal sanctuary instead of a baseball field. And they came (the animals, that is) and then he built it.

One night, a few years back, Parent was walking his dog by the back fence of his weekend farm property when he saw something strange in the moonlight – a bunch of animals running through his field.

Meet Mouse, a three-year-old Paint Minnie looking for a good home.

Meet Mouse, a three-year-old Paint Minnie looking for a good home.

He’s not sure if this vision was a dream, a premonition or … a bunch of animals running through his field. But soon after, people kept turning up on his doorstep out of the blue with rescued animals that needed a home.

One by one (not two by two, now that would be downright freaky), dogs, cats, horses, pigs, goats, chickens, ducks, bunnies, one cow and even a Buffalo named Dakota — 167 animals in total — came to stay with him.

“It just kept going and getting bigger, and all of a sudden it became a mission,” Parent, 50, told The Globe and Mail’s Rebecca Dube.

He eventually left his job as an Ottawa property manager and cashed in his retirement savings to support his Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary, with the help of his wife.

Sadly, Parent recently found out he has chronic leukemia, which is treatable but fatal. He’s trying to set things up at the Animal Sanctuary so that it can continue even after he’s gone.

“I’m not a person that goes to church every Sunday, but I do believe in a higher power,” he says. “I don’t even know what I’m following but I just do it. The love this place gets, the energy this place gives, is just unbelievable.”

Big Sky tries to find good homes for all its animals and is run mostly by donations. To adopt an animal or find out how to help in other ways, visit www.bigskyranch.ca.

P.S. One of my favourite jazz vocalists ever, Stacey Kent. Enjoy!

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