- Steve and Alayne with Daisy
I first communicated with Steve Smith when he and Alayne Marker enrolled their nonprofit organization in the Speaking for Spot Gives Back Program. Located in New Hampshire, Steve and Alayne are the proprietors of the Rolling Dog Ranch Animal Sanctuary. Their mission is to provide a sanctuary focused on caring for animals with disabilities. As stated on their website, “These are the animals who are the least likely to be adopted and among the most likely to be euthanized in traditional shelters.” Visit Rolling Dog Ranch Animal Sanctuary and you are likely to encounter blind dogs, cats, and horses as well as animals with irreparable neurological and orthopedic issues. Steve and Alayne report that the animals are incredibly content- none seem to “feel sorry for themselves”. This is certainly no surprise to me- based on my experience I know that most disabled animals remain happy and energetic. They are true experts at living in the moment- excellent role models for us, don’t you think?
What prompted me to write about Rolling Dog Ranch Animal Sanctuary was a blog post I recently received from Steve describing a wonderfully innovative way he and Alayne are feeding their dogs and cats. Their concern for animals extends well beyond their own facility, so much so that for a period of time they tried feeding a vegetarian diet to their dogs who apparently responded with, “No thanks!” In the blog, Steve describes that they’ve opted to raise their own beef cattle as a self-sustaining food source for their dogs and kitties. Looking at the Rolling Dog Ranch website, I get the impression that these cows have a pretty darned perfect bovine life other than on their very last day. This beef project was started in 2008 and Steve described the process of taking Sebastian, their first steer to slaughter. As Steve describes it, “I was able to walk through the entire facility with the owner, stood on the kill floor, and examined their entire process for how they do the slaughtering. It was quiet, clean, and as stress-free as any facility like that could possibly be.”
Steve and Alayne use a website called Balance IT to help them create balanced homemade diets. They are doing their best to use all local ingredients. In their blog post (http://blog.rollingdogranch.org), they provide resources for finding and purchasing humanely raised food for you and your pets. They recommend that people visit farms to see for themselves how the animals are raised.
I must tell you that I am intrigued by and enamored with the innovative things that are happening at Rolling Dog Ranch Animal Sanctuary. Steve and Alayne are two wonderfully forward thinking people who have provided me- and now you- with some fabulous food for thought.
Best wishes for good health,
Nancy Kay, DVM
Diplomate, American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine
Author of Speaking for Spot: Be the Advocate Your Dog Needs to Live a Happy, Healthy, Longer Life
Recipient, American Animal Hospital Association Animal Welfare and Humane Ethics Award
Recipient, Dog Writers Association of America Award for Best Blog
Recipient, Eukanuba Canine Health Award
Recipient, AKC Club Publication Excellence Award
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Please visit http://www.speakingforspot.com to read excerpts from Speaking for Spot. There you will also find “Advocacy Aids”- helpful health forms you can download and use for your own dog, and a collection of published articles on advocating for your pet’s health. Speaking for Spot is available at Amazon.com, local bookstores, and your favorite online book seller.