I am trapped in the bathroom with two 90-pound dogs and my wife. A tornado was spotted near our house, so we are crammed into this tiny room, taking shelter. There are a few trees down near our house. The wind is howling. My dog has bad gas.
It has been 40 days of self-isolation. And now a tornado. I truly think I’m losing my mind. Do you know what I did this morning to keep from going slap crazy? I wrote a letter to a goat. That’s right. I am not making this up. It’s a handwritten letter.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Why did you write to a goat when could have just written to an ostrich?”
I can’t answer that. All I know is that an animal rescue farm in Seven Valleys, Pennsylavnia, has started a pen-pal service during this quarantine wherein anyone can write to barnyard animals and—here’s the best part—the animals actually write letters back.
This is not a joke. You can send handwritten letters to real animals who will read them, ponder them, eat them, and eventually turn them into an environmentally safe all-purpose fertilizer.
It’s not just goats who are available for correspondence. But also pigs, chickens, cows, and congresspersons.
This all started when Amanda and Steve Clark founded the Here With Us Farm Sanctuary in York County, Pennsylvania. They rescue abused and neglected animals and give them a great place to live. They have been doing this for a few years and they have animals crawling out of their ears.
This year was supposed to be the farm’s first year doing fun events like camping trips and educational tours. But then the pandemic hit. Life came to a crashing halt. The farm had no visitors.
So that’s where the idea for the pen-pal thing came from. Since visitors couldn’t pet animals in person, Amanda thought maybe they could write letters instead.
The idea has really taken off. People from all over the nation have been writing letters to these animals. The have more letters than they know what to do with.
Amanda and Steve want to stress that they are committed to getting every letter read and answered. And the animals are taking it seriously, too. These animals are more than ready to create lasting pen-pal relationships with individuals who seek something more than just a casual fling.
Take Alice, for instance. Alice is a beautiful brunette goat who likes long walks on the beach and candlelight dinners consisting of 7UP cans and used tube socks. She’s looking for a guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously and isn’t afraid to act like a kid.
When Alice first came to the farm, she had been suffering from a severe listeria infection that paralyzed her face and landed her in a special animal wheelchair. She was a mess. But thanks to the sanctuary, Alice has made a full recovery.
Since coming to the farm, she is a new creature. Alice is back to her old self, and has even thought of starting her own lifestyle column in the local newspaper, the “York Daily Record.”
There’s also Chester, a red calf with lots of personality. Chester says he’s seeking a gal who is domesticated, sensitive, but also smells like roadkill. Brown eyes are a must, he prefers full-figures. Above all, says Chester, “I want a cow who knows how to make fresh pies.”
Chester’s backstory is much like the other animals at the sanctuary. He wasn’t treated well. His original owner wasn’t exactly citizen of the year. Chester’s owner got sent to prison, and suddenly Chester and his best friend—a donkey—were homeless. And since nobody was in the market for a donkey-cow combo, Chester and his buddy were split up.
Loneliness and depression set in. But then Amanda and Steve came along and saved the day. Today, Chester spends his days in the sunshine hanging out with his cow pals (Rufus, Ronnie, and Reggie) and he is pursuing a degree in liberal arts at the University of Pennsylvania.
Which leads us to Winston, a pot-bellied hog with a sweet face, and big eyes, who loves food. Favorite movies are: “Charlotte’s Web,” “Babe,” and “The English Patient.”
Winston came to the sanctuary last May when he was transferred from Animal Care and Control in Philadelphia. He was in bad shape. Whoever owned Winston before wasn’t very nice, he still has back and ankle problems because of whatever horrible circumstances he came from. He is also terrified of people. Winston has a long way to go, but Amanda says he’s getting more comfortable with humans every day.
This is exactly why Winston needs your letters. So do all the animals.
Amanda and Steve say that they are making absolute certain that the animals read your letters, thoughtfully discuss your letters, and most importantly, write prompt responses useing propper englisch and gramer.
Amanda is sending batches of return letters every day. “I just packaged up some last night,” she says. “On some letters we got hoof prints… One of the cows even took a bite out of a letter, so I drew an arrow on it and wrote, ‘Oh, he took a bite!’”
So I’ll quit beating around the bush and give to the information I know you’re waiting for. If you’d like to write a letter to a barnyard animal, please send letters to: Here With Us Farm, c/o Amanda Clark, 3397 Tunnel Hill Road, Seven Valleys, PA 17360.
I am going to suffocate in the bathroom with these dogs.