BREMEN— Katherine Dunn and her husband, Martyn, own a farm with a special focus: they take in elder/special needs goats, pigs, sheep, donkeys, cats, dogs and more. Since they moved the entire farm from Oregon to Bremen, Maine, two years ago, Dunn has always hosted an annual special day for the 30-plus animals whom she calls “The Misfits.”
“I would always have one day where I made pies and brought her donkey, Pino around to the neighbors.”
This Saturday, October 6, Dunn plans to host their first public fundraising day called “Misfit Love Day” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
“I’ve always had a special place in my heart for unwanted animals, particularly the elderly ones and the ones with special needs,” she said. “We live in such a throwaway culture; people can’t even hang on to their old version of an iPhone anymore. It’s always onto something newer and better.”
She has also taken on needy animals that arrive as young adults, but grow old on her farm. She recalls the situation of Rosie The Grumpiest “But I Am Fine As I Am” Pig.
“This pig lived a spoiled life with an elder woman, in a house where the pig had her own room and furniture,” said Dunn. “The woman died and the pig ended up in a shelter, but was so grumpy nobody could deal with her. I took her on and she has been grumpy since day one, but I just let her be herself.”
Today, Rosie, lives in her private quarters, grumpily, but also content in her elder years. She will most likely be sleeping during the event.
Many of her rescues come from state cases where the animals were seized from an individual or a farm from neglect or abuse. Each has its own story on her blog. Take “Girl George” a hermaphrodite goat adopted out of a neglect case. Girl George was one of three goats Dunn brought home from a state case.. (She originally intended to bring home one) Each animal is brought to the farm for one purpose— to live out their lives, and sometimes to be hospiced.
The expenses of running a farm are laid out in her colorful blog posts. Dunn, an artist and a writer, brings the plight of the animals into sharp focus, only in the way a writer can:
“Hay is probably our most important thing, besides love...and water...and care...and loyalty....and time....and pasture maintenance....and fence maintenance...and hoof and feet trims....vacinations....did I mention time,” she wrote.
Other posts personify the animals like a living children’s book. In one post about Sir Tripod The Goat, Sir Tripod tells her he is wants to sleep outside. She worries about his safety, but she listens to him.
“If one pays attention, one often will understand why they made that choice,” she wrote.
Since becoming a nonprofit once they were settled in Maine, they’ve been able to not only take in smaller, individual donations, but also, receive gifts in higher amounts. Not only does this help with the day to day financial costs, but it allows Dunn to bring the animals together with elder/special needs people for mutual healing and wellness visits, not only at their farm, but also at elder residences.
Pets are not allowed (strictly enforced) and children must be chaperoned. All funds from the event will go to feed and maintain the animals, and allow Dunn to continue her outreach mission to connect the animals with other elders in their homes. There will also be a fiddler playing amongst the wandering animals, and Dunn will have her books and some of her art of sale. For more information visit: Misfit Day and www.apiferafarm.blogspot.com
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org