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Catskill Animal Sanctuary: Where The Blind Horse Sings

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Whenever life gets hectic, my aunt (ever the free spirit) likes to say:

“It’s time to get back to nature.”

Twas a dark and stormy day… Sounds like the beginning of a ghost story, no?  But the vibrant, happy-go-lucky animals of this post hardly qualify as ghosts. Nestled into the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York, the Catskill Animal Sanctuary is a peaceful, loving haven for formerly abused animals.  It is a place where these warm-spirited creatures can finally experience cozy shelter, nourishing food, and tender care.

Catskill Animal Sanctuary

(Above, my scrapbook pages of the first time I visited Catskill Animal Sanctuary)

Luckily for me, my grandmother happens to live 10 minutes from this serene sanctuary.  So, during our stay at grandma’s, my mom and I made a plan to visit CAS.  Unfortunately, on the chosen day, we awoke to gray skies and pouring rain; not ideal weather for visiting a farm!  But, being the crazies that we are, Mommy Dearest and I decided to go anyway.  I’m so glad we did!

Down on the Farm

The first animal to greet us was Rambo, the wild man!  This guy is one of Catskill Sanctuary’s most famous critters, and I remembered his friendly face (and horns!) from my last visit.  (That’s him in the bottom-left scrapbook picture, above.) When we encountered him, Rambo was interested in only one thing—a huge bale of hay (a.k.a. lunch).  But he kindly stopped chewing long enough to pose for the picture below:


(Soon after posing with me, Rambo rushed right back to the hay.  Must be some pretty good hay.)

After Rambo, we wandered on to meet the horses.  Catskill Animal Sanctuary is home to quite a few formerly-abused race horses, each with a story sadder than the next (but ultimately happy, because they ended up at the sanctuary!).  Below is one such beauty:


And then we met the chickens!


Heeeeeeeere’s Paulie!  Paulie apparently has quite a love for pb&j sandwiches.  Sounds like we’d be good friends ;).  Meeting Paulie—and his adorable friend, Barbie—made my mom seriously question how she could eat such beautiful creatures.  After we left the sanctuary, she told me that when we got back to Texas, she was going to try vegetarianism out for a few days every week, because she really felt horrible that her dietary choices were supporting factory farms where sweet animals such as Paulie and Barbie are treated so atrociously.  These birds were so cute; they kept trailing after one of the workers.  Walt (our tour guide) told us that this was because that particular worker was in charge of feeding them.  Who says animals aren’t smart?

We spent most of the afternoon under the shelter of the barn.  However, the piggies didn’t seem to mind the rain (rain = mud!!), and so to meet them, we ventured outside.


More cutie-pie animals:

(Sure, the health benefits of veganism are great.  But the faces below are the real reasons I gave up eating animals.)


Van Goat




I don’t know this guy’s name, but he sure is a cutie.


Above is Hannah.  She’s best buds with Rambo.  Well, she thinks so, anyway.  Apparently, she won’t leave his side.  Poor Rambo sometimes has to hide in order to get some peace and quiet!  And little Hannah will cry if she can’t find her friend.

Catskill Sanctuary

Singin’ in the rain?  More like screeching in the rain.  These guys didn’t let up.  It was hilarious!

This little piggie stayed inside:

animal sanctuary

His name is Wilbur, and he’s one of the newest additions to the animal sanctuary.  So he’s gettin’ acclimated to the loving atmosphere.  “What?  You mean there are kind people in this world???”  Poor Wilbur’s still a little afraid of humans.  But he’ll learn :).

If you are interested in reading some truly-uplifting stories of survival and second chances, check out the book written about the gorgeous guys at CAS: Where the Blind Horse Sings (  My grandma gave me a copy for Christmas a few years ago, and each story warmed my heart.

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 

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  1. Jessica says:

    Awww…those animals are all so adorable and have obviously found a great home. I got into veganism for the health benefits, but along the way it also became about the critters :)

  2. Sina says:

    Ooooooh, how cute! Animal Sanctuarys sure do a great job!

  3. jen molica says:

    hey katie,

    i’ve had some blogging catching up to do! thanks for the pictoral post–i love animals too, a main reason for chosing veganism. when people ask me if it was for dieting reasons, i tell them passionately “absolutely not!”
    i wanted to also say that i agree with the calorie counting thing, it’s really a waste of time. what i eat is influenced by what my body is craving. i pay particular attention to patterns and ask myself “am i missing something in my diet and is this why i’m craving x, y, or z?” most of the time cravings pass and i assign my food a value, largely based on g. of protien and fiber. i still eat my share of “junk” but i try to avoid giving it that label too. “observe, not judge” is my motto as far as food is concerned.

  4. Gertrude says:

    WILBUR IS SO CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe I’m biased because pigs are one of my top few fav animals =p along with cats and hyenas…

  5. Anonymous says:

    Is your bday tomorrow? I heard a rumor it is! Mine is too :) Happy early birthday! Cute animals!!!

  6. Lainie says:

    I love all the animals!!! So cute. And you are absolutely beautiful!!!! You have a gorgeous smile.

    I’ve still yet to make the banana butter, but it’s still high on my list! Whenever I whip out the food processor, I’m making this first thing.

  7. Hot diggity that choco nanna butter looks good! What cute animal pics too!

  8. Kiersten says:

    I love the Catskill Animal Sanctuary! That place is so amazing. I went there last summer when my boyfriend and I were visiting his uncle (he lives close to CAS). I cannot wait to visit there again someday, it was such an incredible experience for me. I read “Where the Blind Horse Sings” too. Loved it!

  9. tabitha says:

    aw katie…i love the animal posts and i love that you went to visit them
    we have two retired standardbred harness racing horses and they are wonderful…of course we have lots of animals and do foster care and compassion is the main reason i went vegan–which was then strongly backed by health and environmental concerns
    we have chickens and they are SO cool! people would be amazed at their personalities..and their feathers are very soft. they are funny and quite entertaining..having chickens at our farm is so satisfying i can’t even put it into words..i love to pick them up and cuddle them
    we also have ducks–they are quirky little things who my kids love to carry around the yard…one hurt his leg last night and the other two ran to his side to comfort him-so sweet
    we have a sheep and a goat and they believe themselves to be dogs…they follow me around and create trouble whenever they get a chance…but i still love them
    i don’t know how society finds it to be ok to torture these animals, brutally slaughter them and then eat them
    pigs are smarter than dogs for heaven sakes!

  10. kirsten says:

    I love this post!! I actually went to college in the catskills but didn’t know there was an animal sancuary in that area! I have to go next time I am visiting my alma mater.

  11. What a wonderful place! The animals are adorable. :)

  12. Liz says:

    Oh my gosh, those are some mighty cute animals :)
    It’s posts like this that remind me why I’m vegan. Oh and thanks for the pic of Banana Butter at the end – I’d almost forgotten about it and now we *finally* have some more bananas – YAY!
    Love ya!

  13. Maria says:

    The animals are so adorable. That is a wonderful place! I especially love Van Goat. Face and name is too cute!

  14. Jules says:

    Aww, those animals are so cute! I love farm animals. Actually, I love all animals. This post made me feel so happy about the fact that I’m vegan :) If I’m ever in the Catskills one day, I’m definitely going to visit the sanctuary. Great post!

  15. Anonymous:

    My birthday’s actually not until the 6th.

    But HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you tomorrow :) :) :).

  16. *Andrea* says:

    i tried your banana butter!!!!! i used the maranatha dark chocolate almond spread with 1/2 a banana. OMG yum!!!!!!!

    those animals are adorable :) my neighbor has a farm with ALPACAS and my mom and i walk over almost every week in the summer to pet them. they’re sooo cute!

  17. randomlymikey says:

    great pictures. looks like you had a good time. and i love your sweater :) i shall be bake tomorrow, ready for cake!

  18. Erika says:

    Great pics and I love your scrapbooking pages! So cute!

  19. psychoj1 says:

    Those animals are SO cute!! :)

    Love those pics! Sounds like you had a great time!
    <3 jess

  20. broccolihut says:

    Ah man, I can tell that Wilbur an’ me would be like “peas and carrots.” I’ve always had a soft spot for pigs ever since reading Charlotte’s Web.
    I have some banana butter waiting for me in the fridge!

  21. Steph says:

    adorable pictures of the farm animals! I’m glad your mom was inspired by your visit. How could you not fall for faces like those? :)

  22. Deb says:

    You’re a really good scrap-booker!! When I did Creative Memories AGES ago (before digital photos), I enjoyed it but was never quite as creative as you are! :-)

  23. lora says:

    awe u look so pretty! and i love those pics of the animals! too cute for words :)


  24. Ariel says:

    Oh my goodness, I love the Catskill Animal Sanctuary!!! I went to school not too far from there, and I have wonderful memories of visiting the farm with some friends one day. The stories we heard were incredible, especially Rambo’s. My favorite friend at the farm was a beautiful pig named Priscilla who walked with us for a while as we explored the pasture, and I even got a button that said “I kissed a pig at CAS.” I’m so glad you decided to go despite the rain, and it’s wonderful that your mother is trying out vegetarianism!

  25. Christina says:

    Aww all the animals are so cute! I love your scrapbook, you’re so creative!

  26. Marina says:

    I am studying veterinary medicine, and it’s hard for me to see all those animals in pain, on farms, in such small places, and unnatural conditions. I hope that once I’ll become a veterinarian, I’ll fight those conditions. I am not a vegetarian, although I eat meat very rarely. I just think that my body wouldn’t function well without animal proteins.

  27. Emily says:

    The animals at the sanctuary are so cute! I especially love Wilbur…for some reason I think pigs are so adorable, which is kind of weird, I know.

    I bet dark chocolate banana butter is amazing. :-)

  28. CaSaundra says:

    This is soo adorable! Animals can always cheer a girl up–sometimes it’s good to just ‘escape’ and everyone has their own style of ‘escaping’. :-) Love yours!

  29. Ricki says:

    Those goats just have the cutest faces ever! Glad you went despite the rain. :)

  30. veganhomemade says:

    What a fantastic place! And it’s so great that your mom is considering vegetarianism. I just love those furry faces!