Ladies Home Journal/March 2008
By Louise Farr
Lazlo takes chores seriously at the 32-acre Blessed Be Farm, in Ellsworth, Maine, where Susan Walsh, 52, lives with her teenagers, Joshua, 18, and Cordelia, 16, and an assortment of pet ducks, turkeys, and sheep. Lazlo, a 12-year-old Belgian sheepdog, knows chickens belong in the barn and eagerly herds them in when they stray. He also thinks anything with wings is a chicken, however, so he barks and bounces on his hind legs as he tries to round up whatever flies by.
When it's time to turn in Lazlo sleeps on Walsh's bed. "He's my baby," says Walsh, a job coach to the developmentally disabled. She is a vegetarian, and she runs the farm as a hobby, keeping animals not for the table, but because she loves having them in her life. "All the animals are my family. I'm fierce about them."
Life wasn't always this cozy for Walsh and her brood. A sign in front of Blessed Be Farm reads "founded 1984, liberated 2001." The latter year was when Walsh's divorce became final -- after 12 years of marriage to a man who she says abused her emotionally, shot two of the family's sheep at close range, and wrung the necks of a dozen pet turkeys.
Read how Walsh turned the abuse she and her companions endured into a legal protection a long time coming here...
If you happen to be in Chicago on April 22nd, the Anti-Cruelty Society will be hosting a seminar on how to protect yourself and your companion animals from domestic violence (see link at right). In the interest of full disclosure, this blogger is among the panelists that will be presenting at the seminar.