Charity Logo

Charity Logo

Charity of the Month


In December I am riding for Heifer International. Founded in 1944, Heifer International works with communities around the world to end hunger and poverty and to care for the Earth. Its approach is more than a handout. Heifer provides animals (e.g., heifers, goats, water buffalos, chickens, rabbits, fish, and bees) and training to impoverished people in over 30 countries. The animals can give milk, meat, or eggs; provide draft power; or form the basis of a small business. Communities make their own decisions about what crops, animals, and market strategies make sense for their everyday conditions and experiences.

Heifer International is based on 12 Cornerstones, such as Sustainability; Genuine Need and Justice; and Gender and Family Focus. Perhaps the best known Cornerstone is Passing on the Gift, in which Heifer recipient families pass on the offspring of their animals to others in need. In this way, whole communities can raise their standard of living.

A donation to Heifer International also can make a wonderful alternative holiday gift. Instead of yet another sweater for Grandma that she really doesn’t need, why not donate a Heifer animal or a share of an animal in her honor? Does your child really need so many new toys? Instead of five new toys, give him/her three new toys and a Heifer flock of chicks. Heifer has honor cards to let your loved ones know of your gift on their behalf.

I have set up a Team Heifer page to support Heifer International through A Year of Centuries. My goal is to raise $500. Please make your donation through If you would like more information about Heifer’s work, please visit Whether you give to honor a loved one or make a regular donation, thank you for taking steps to transform the world for the better.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Rabbit Dogs and Good Eats

I remember the first day that “Mr. Matthews” was at The Retreat because it happened to be a Greyhounds & Grey Hairs day.  I met his daughter in the parking lot as I was arriving and she was leaving.  She had been getting him settled in and, understandably, was rather upset with this major life change.  When she saw Cosmo and Mr. Spock, she smiled a little through her tears.  She was so glad to learn that he would get some regular canine visitors because her father had always loved dogs so much.

I met Mr. Matthews when I went inside.  It was the first of many wonderful visits.  He always looked so cute in his fedora and denim overalls.  As soon as he saw Cosmo and Mr. Spock, he would say, “I had a couple just like them.”  I don’t know exactly what kind of dogs he had, but they were rabbit dogs.  He affectionately described how they knew it was time to hunt as soon as he got out his gun.  Even if I heard the same story every time we visited, I was happy knowing that he was having some happy memories.

After Mr. Matthews had fondly reminisced about his rabbit dogs on a number of our visits, one day he described cooking what he hunted.  He loved rabbit, squirrel, ‘coon, and possum.  I asked him, “Isn’t possum really greasy?”  He replied, “It’s good!”  Then he started to explain how you cook a possum.  After you clean it (no instructions on that, thankfully), you put it in a big pan with some grease.  Actually, you use two pans – I’m not sure if that’s because you have more than one possum, or maybe you have a side of ‘coon.  That’s as far as he got with the recipe.  It’s probably just as well.  I was glad to go home to my supper of chili and baked potato.

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