If J.D. pig wrote a poem, it would go something like this: “I’m free! And I’m running, and I’m running, and oh, I can feel the sun on my snout. There goes a fence post! And I’m running, and running, and oh, the mud is spraying on my warm belly so cool, and wet…”
Lucky for us, Maya Gottfried gives voice to our pig friend, and many others who live or have lived at our shelters, in Our Farm: By the Animals of Farm Sanctuary, released just last week. I’ve been anxiously waiting for this book to come out ever since I knew Maya was going to write it, and I was lucky enough to get my hands on a copy! Through Maya’s warm-hearted descriptions and Robert Rahway Zakanitch’s beautiful paintings, this sweet collection of poems and illustrations speaks to both the spirit of the animals and the nature of their home here at Farm Sanctuary where “their only job is to enjoy life and be loved.”
Maya's poems are not only about animals, but by animals – traveling their thoughts, and their stories. In “Wandering” by Clarabell goat, our sweet girl’s carefree and confident nature comes across as she explains to us: “daisies, they call to me. Trees sing my name. So I follow their invitations and go where I may.”
Ever met Diego? Well, now’s your chance. He’s one our amazing rescued ducks – glowing with health, he is a valiant blood donor, providing help to sick ducks when they need it. Maya showcases his charm in a funny poem, where he says, “Okay! Everyone into the water. Flap, flap go our feet. Keep an eye on my tail feathers. Follow My Lead!’ Diego has always “worn the pants” in both his human-to-animal and animal-to-animal relationships, and Maya captures this perfectly.
The book also features animals who have passed away, but meant the world to me and many other people who visited the New York Shelter. One of these is Maya, who opens the book with a poem called “Wisdom.” Maya was the beloved cow we rescued from a Pennsylvania stockyard in 1987 who spent the next 22 years mothering other rescued calves here. Mayfly, an incredible rooster, is also featured. A big hit with visitors, he was famous for patiently waiting for the ladies to finish their food before starting himself, only eating what was left after they had gotten their fill. Mayfly was a true gentlemen and his poem “Ladies First” will make you smile.
The book also includes some of the sweet California Shelter residents such as Ari and Alicia goats and Whitaker calf. And not only do the animals get their own poems, but their own pictures and pages too – representative of the true individuals they all are. It’s a loving book that teaches both children and adults to be compassionate. If you’d like to check it out for yourself and support Farm Sanctuary with your purchase, you can do so here. Enjoy!