Thursday, December 10, 2015

Shepherd Hills Haven - How we came to be

Shepherd Hills Haven

How this all started.

Hello everyone.  For those who don't know and would like to know how our Shepherd Hills Haven came to be, that's what this post is about. 

When we first learned of this property where we are now living,  it was totally unexpected.  Totally, out of the blue unexpected.  Yet I knew right away it was an answered prayer.

Dennis and I had been homeless, living in the car and tent, with our four dogs, for a few years.  How we became homeless is a story in itself which I will be writing about later. 

Right now this is the story about how Shepherd Hills Haven came to be.  Dennis and I had driven to Florida to visit family for the 2014 Christmas Holiday.  We ended up bringing Dennis’ son, my grandson, Casey and his girlfriend Jasmine and their 6 month old blue pit named Marley back to Arizona with us.

All of us, our four dogs included, plus luggage, crammed into our 2002 Ford Expedition and headed to Arizona.  No place to call home, no idea where we are going to stay, we had a tent and were going to Quartzsite to sell at the shows, and then to the Tucson show in February.  This was the time of year to make a few grand and hopefully get a place to stay and get Casey started in his own business.

It’s a very long trip from Florida to Arizona and I did most the driving as I have a huge problem with motion sickness. 

It was the wee hours of the morning, 2am or 3am and I was exhausted.   Not only from this trip but from the past few years of being homeless.  I am not in good health and the pain and just weariness had me feeling a bit hopeless.  It was during the night, everyone else in the car was sleeping and I wondered how I was ever going to keep going like we were going. 

I said a prayer while driving, I asked God to please please PLEASE help us to get a place to stay with a lot of land and a fence for the dogs to be able to be off leashes and run and play.

Then I kept driving.  A day later we arrived in Arizona and decided to stop at a friends house and visit T and and his family.  T is our friend who Dennis does the Tucson show with and his family are just nice kind people.  

They put a mattress on their cozy living room floor, and not having a whole lot of space for themselves, they invited us all to stay for the night and rest up, get showers, etc. 

While Dennis went out to the car to get the dogs settled I was sitting on the couch just relaxing.  T was on the phone and it was impossible to not hear what he was saying.” 
I heard, “yeah, they are good people, I’ve known them for years and he wraps for me at the Tucson show.”
I knew then he was talking about us but didn’t know why or to whom he was talking.

When he got off the phone he said there was 5 acres down the road, fenced, where you can stay for just keeping an eye on the place.

My jaw dropped as I knew instantly that this was an answered prayer.  T’s wife is the one that apparently told T that C and P could probably use someone to watch their property.  (I am using initials as I have not yet received permission to use their names online.  But, I do want to say the owners we are purchasing this property from, C and P, are very kind people too.  

There were some things to work out before we moved onto the property so we went ahead to Quartzsite where we put up a huge tee pee tent in the dry camping area near where Dennis and Casey would be selling.

I was to stay in the tent and take care of the dogs.  It was a couple very rough weeks as I ended up being the only one staying in the tent with the dogs all day.  After the tent collapsing on top of me and our four dogs, we, me and the dogs, moved into the car.  I sold items and did shipping and website work and photography all from the car and the laundry at the camp ground.  They had wifi which really made things a little easier for me.

After Quartzsite we headed back to T’s and we went to our new place for the first time.  We were told there were dogs around that had basically been abandoned and the fellow who was supposed to be here taking care of things was going to come back and shoot all the dogs.

There were 6 of them and one we discovered later 0ne was pregnant and she had puppies a few months after we were here, on Mother’s Day.
We did not set out to build a dog rescue, but we were not going to let anyone kill the dogs.  They were all running wild in the desert.

Dennis and I had talked about how we would like to start a rescue one day.  
And it was obvious the dogs were not treated nicely by the person who was here.  They were all very skittish and would not let us touch them, they ran when approached.  So to us it seemed as if God just topped off the answer to my prayer with dogs that needed rescued.  I just wish He would have dropped a boat load of funds too in order to make it all work.  :)

The fence that is around the five acres is cattle bobbed wire fence and does nothing to contain dogs.

Good, kind Facebook friends jumped in and helped out by holding auctions, donating dog food and raising funds for us to get room a/c’s as the summer in AZ is very hot.

Oh yeah, almost forgot.  A couple days after we arrived and got settled in a little, I was at the point of gratitude for and answered prayer.  I was grateful I could lay down my head and sleep and not have to worry about getting up the next day, taking each dog out on a leash and back to the car and start another day not knowing where we would sleep at night.

And yet, in the back of my mind was the thought that this was not our place and that the owners were selling the property and that most likely we would have to leave again in the coming months.  So I prayed again.
I asked God that if there was anyway possible that we could buy this place, please let it happen.

Now I knew there was no way we could afford to put down a big down payment so I figured buying this place was out of the question,  however, I know that God answers prayers and that if this is where He wanted us to be He would make it happen.

About 3 hours after I prayed that prayer, C, the owner, called and said, “P would never agree to anything like this but he did, we will sell you the place for 3k down and $250 a month and total of 36k, ½ of the asking price of 65k.

We now have a lease to own.  Thanks to Dennis cold forge wrap he did a big order of wraps and came up with the down payment. 

Now, the dogs.  We love dogs.  We had 2 of our dogs when Dennis and I were homeless without a vehicle in California for a couple years. 

Then we helped a couple out and kept their dog while they went to Florida and she ended up having puppies and we found homes for 4 of them but ended up keeping 2, so we then had four. 

There are days that I get fearful of how we will ever manage to keep feeding all these dogs and vet care and the such.  But most days I know that we will be okay, that God will provide.  As long as we don’t give up.

We have come up with a couple ways to try to raise funds.  We are selling 2018 calendars featuring photo's by me, Kathleen Nash.  They come in 3 sizes and the photos are nice enough to frame after the month is finished.  You can see examples of the calendars and photos on our website,  

Dennis is still wrapping his beautiful cold forged wire wraps.  And he does custom orders.  If you have a special stone, rock, sharks tooth, and even coins laying around, his wrap makes a beautiful piece of wearable art.  You can find out about his custom ordering on our website.  

You can see what pieces we have at this time in our Facebook group, The Knotted Branch.  

I know this, I know of our own accord we do not bring in the funds necessary each month to make repairs on this place, feed the dogs and vet care and the such. 

Another friend suggested we make a wish list.

Which I will do here.  It's difficult to prioritize when there is so much that needs to be done but safety first.  We are in need of a good battery operated weed eater.  The weeds and grass grow fast this time of the year and we have rattle snakes.  We are also in need of ply wood sheets, pallets, dog kennels, fencing, t-posts, dog food, tools, blankets for the dogs, and funds for vet care. Also Doggy Beds.  

If you would like to donate direct to the Veterinarian we have an account set up with All Creatures.  You can give them a call at 520-586-3777 and tell them you wish to donate to the Shepherd Hills Haven fund.  You can also visit their Facebook page.  

Their yearly shots are due and still need to raise funds for neutering.   Two of our dogs, Gate and Jack are both old and having some issues.  We would love to be able to have all their dentals done, and that is very expensive.  $200 each just to walk in the door.  

Having to be in a position to depend on fund raisers and the kindness of others is not easy.  To those who have been so supportive of us and the dogs we thank you so very much.  

The single wide needs repairs as there are holes in the floor and roof.   We are turning that back room into a green house in order to be able to have fresh vegetable and to become a little more self sustaining.  We know dogs like sweet potatoes and other veggies and fruits so hoping to grow what is edible to both us and the dogs.  

Thank you again for all who help.