Gifts of Great Meaning
The holiday season has taken on a different meaning for my family over the past couple of years. Like so many others, each of us has all that we really need. The season of giving had become the season of excess. It is hard to get a gift for the person that truly has everything that they need and want. But on a deeper level, each of us has something that they wish for with all their heart. Often it was something that money can�t buy: a cure for a disease that has touched a loved one, protection for the disappearing wild places, a desire for all creatures to be safe and warm and protected, healing for children betrayed by those they trusted and depended upon. In keeping with those truest desires of the heart, we began giving to those people and organizations that champion the causes of our loved ones. Maybe we couldn�t cure that disease or save that pristine island from development, but we banded together with like minded people who could make a difference through their collective will and donations. Perhaps our meager gifts didn�t give safety, shelter, and a meal to each and every lost soul, but we gave enough to make a difference for one. To that one, it can mean life or death.

I am pleased that my gift to my little niece is not just one of many that will be piled up under the tree and forgotten in a week. She will see the picture of the little special needs cat sponsored in her name and get reminders of her throughout the year. I hope she thinks of that little cat often and learns the lesson that each of us can do our small part to make things better. I hope she learns that in reaching out to others, we find the best parts of ourselves.

If you or your family shares in this idea, we have some ideas in the following article of ways you can give in the name of a loved here at Gallastar. We also provide links to other grass roots non-profit organizations that we have personally seen in action and know do great works with the resources that they have. Each of these organizations have been there for us over the past year with encouragement and resources. Christmas for the Pigs at Shepherd�s Green Sanctuary in Tennessee truly is the most wondrous day of the year for all of the pigs that reside there. It is a day of fabulous excess for these little critters but one that they richly deserve. For only five dollars you can give joy beyond measure. See www.9sites.com/christmas2007.htm.

The Almost Home Animal Shelter in our county is a No-Kill shelter that raises the bar to new heights in the care and placement of animals that have no other alternative. The Nelson County Humane Society helps spay and neuter animals throughout the county and makes a difference in the lives of animals every day. They have always been there for us when we needed them for cat or dog help. For more information, visit www.nelsonspca.org.

And, of course, don't forget visit us on the web at www.gallastar.org and www.vaalliance4potbelliedpigs.org.

Also, our good friend Mary Ann at Pigtailz Junction Sanctuary has many wonderful gifts for sale at her on her online store at pigstuff.com.
All proceeds go to care for the many animals at her sanctuary.

Happy Holidays!

Lorelei Pulliam
Sponsor an Animal
For a one-time $30.00 donation or more ( shipping included), you will receive either a Farmer Santa or a Pig Riding Santa ornament for your tree. There is one cat angel ornament for sponsorship of our very special feline, Percy. Along with the ornament (valued at 12.00), You will also receive a certificate of sponsorship and a picture of your animal.

Please visit our sanctuary website to pick out an animal or if you prefer we will do it for you. This is a wonderful opportunity to give the gift of life in honor of a loved one.

Virginia Alliance for Potbellied Pigs
Sponsor a Rider or a Horse
For a donation of $110.00 or more ( shipping included), you will receive a beautiful musical rocking horse. Valued at $80.00, there are a limited number of these. The horses are about 12 inches in length and ten inches high. Each of these would be treasured by anyone on your Christmas list (they look great on a mantle or table!) and comes with a certificate of sponsorship. To give, visit the Gallastar website.
Spotlight on a Special Pony - Heaven
How many children asked Santa for a pony over the years? I know that I was one of them! Heaven has been that special pony for me and so many others over these many years. Heaven was born Belcott�s Delight. She was the mother of many an expensive show pony here in Virginia. Delight is a half Arab/half Welch pony. When she foundered, got older and could no longer be bred, she was of no use to anyone. In essence, she was used up and had nowhere to go. Euthanasia was even discussed as an option. Luckily for this beautiful pony, her owner decided to try and donate her to a therapeutic riding program. We had just lost a dear old therapy horse and decided to take a chance on her, even though her riding experience was extremely limited.

We re-named her Heaven and over the course of many years, she has given us nothing but the very best. Even at the age of twelve, she was easy to train and became a favorite of the abused, at-risk and disabled children that we serve. She is truly a co-worker and has that quality that sets her apart � to know how to react to each child and what it is that they need from her.

Years ago, there was a forest fire on the adjacent property. I rushed to call the fire department before the flames spread. It was critical that I ride through the woods to meet the firefighters and show them how to follow the logging trails to get to where the fire was. Heaven was the closest horse and I literally threw the tack onto her and galloped off. That pony dashed fearlessly down a road with flames on both sides. It is the stuff movies are made of.

In 2002, she suffered an extreme case of colic and was rushed to surgery. It was determined that she had suffered a strangled bowel by a lipoma ( fatty tumor ) at the very end of her large intestine. They gave her only a ten percent chance of survival, but we opted to give her that chance. She beat the odds and has never had a tummy ache since.

In the spring of 2006, she choked on a cut up apple. Three visits from her regular vet could not dislodge or give her help. Another visit to Blue Ridge and they too were unable to dislodge the apple without more drastic measures. Once again, at the age of 28, Heaven was given general anesthesia and turned belly up. The apple dislodged and she has had not ill effects once she recovered.

When we were offered her sister, who shared an almost identical history, we did not hesitate to take her in. After being separated from her sister for nine years, they immediately recognized each other and are now inseparable. Both of them suffer from Cushing's disease and require expensive medication daily. Please read the letter to Heaven from one of the children she has helped. For those of us who have been surrounded by horses for years, it is all too easy to forget the magic that a horse or pony can hold for a child.
Spotlight on a Very Special Rider - A Letter from Jessica
For Heaven and friends,

Once upon a time there was a horse named Heaven. She was so perfect. She respects everybody. She can love and trust. It�s perfect to have a horse like Heaven. You�re the best. You�re the super friend I can ever have. You�re the best friend to me. You�re my sister or my daughter. You are a pretty horse ever and you feel like when I ride you it feels like my imagination that I will be sitting on a rock that�s so pretty and bounces up and down.

I loved when you walked. I can�t wait when we trot again and gallop another time. When we did the obstacle course that was fun. It was perfect. Guess what Heaven? When I got back when I saw you in the last day when I went home, I looked at your picture and started crying. Then my mom gave me stuff about horses and a mystical hose and books about them and it was good. My mom and my sister get me books about horses.

I miss you all of the time and the pig, cat and all of ya�ll. I miss you guys lots. I know you miss me too. You guys and girls and women are the best too. And I love ya�ll lots and lots and miss my friends the horses � Heaven, Dominos, and Surprise....

Love, Jessica
Good News for Pigs Rescued by the Teddy Bears!
The four pigs from Fredericksburg profiled in our October newsletter have found homes together with a wonderful family in our very own neighborhood.

Junior has moved in with the three girl pigs that he had lived adjacent to for many years. Although he is a curmudgeon supreme, the family adopting the three beauties agreed to take him as well when we explained that it was doubtful that Junior would ever again find another friend to spend his remaining time with. We honor family ties and the deep bonds of friendships among the animals here. Over the years, we have seen horse friends remember each other after years of being apart. We have witnessed animal families stay together for their lifetimes and stand faithfully by their sick or wounded buddies or family members. This sends a powerful message to the children who come here as well - the message that family and relationships matter most of all. Those are the ties that bind. Sometimes it is hard to find those ties, but they are out there and when you do find them - hold on tight.

Animal Family in Need
In this season of giving, there is an animal family that truly needs our help. An industrious sow escaped the confines of her pen in an effort to find safety for her troupe of 11 piglets. They were signed over by animal control by an owner who was in the process of sending them all to slaughter but was having problems finding transportation. Rather than face fines and pay for damages caused by the runaway family, he signed them over to Animal Control. They have found temporary foster care but Animal Control is not going to hold onto them much longer and they are scheduled to be euthanized if homes are not found. If you or anyone you know would be willing to help these intelligent and beautiful creatures, this is the time. If you, like so many others, want to help farm animals, a sponsorship could do just that. We are in the process of finding sanctuaries who will take them in. But we cannot ask that unless we can provide them with financial help for the additional housing, fencing and feed that will be required for such large animals. We just can�t let this brave Mom and her babies be destroyed after all that they have already come this far!

Mathew Sculley wrote in his powerful book, Dominion: "How we treat our fellow creatures is only one more way in which each one of us, every day, writes our epitaph, bearing into the world a message of light and life or just more darkness and death, adding to the world's joy or to it's despair."

Let's find a way to give the choice of Life and Light and Joy this Holiday Season for these precious beings as well! Contact us at Gallastar if you can help in any way.

Piglets Need Homes!
We have seven beautiful piglets needing placement. All will be socialized,spayed/neutered, microchipped, de-wormed and vaccinated before they leave our facility. Two have been brought up in the house. They must be placed in an approved home with a brother or sister or in a home with another pig. We all need someone of our own species to talk to! (see our adoption policies for more information.
Bye Bye Sweet Peaches
We were not prepared that day, the first day of the rescue. We arrived with no plan and a couple of crates in case any of the 84 desperate animals were in dire need. In the dust coated pen that had no adequate water or food, a few tiny piglets needed immediate assistance. The heat was unbearably intense. As we caught and crated the first of the terrified little ones, a mature pig emerged from the rest of the herd with eyes blazing. It was a sow who would soon be known as Peaches. Forgetting all of her fear of humans and the mistreatment that she and her herdmates had endured, Peaches practically leapt into the crate with the piglet. That must be her baby, we thought. Those thoughts subsided when we unloaded her and several other little babies and when the tiniest one looked up at her as if to ask if she had seen his mama. Peaches just nosed him, lay down and made grunting noises for all of the piglets to nurse.

I can honestly say that I have never been fearful of any pig we have rescued, only respectful. Peaches, well, she was a bit different. At the onset, she took on the responsibility of being mom to a dozen little ones of all ages and sizes. And Lord help you if you did anything to upset one of those precious beings. Peaches would be there in a heartbeat threatening to take a plug out of you � though she never once did. When one little guy required antibiotic shots after his neuter, Lorelei tended to him inside a metal crate and surely felt like she was in a shark cage as Peaches tried to tear the crate apart to save �her� little one. She mourned the loss of each one as they left for new homes until finally it was her turn to be spayed and return to the large herd. Now she could relax and heal in a place where hunger or thirst would never plague her again. Never again would any of these pigs have to fight for food, water, shelter or the lives of their babies. For years they had watched and mourned for their lost ones as they were culled or sent to homes in exchange for a quick buck and no thought to the fate of the animal.

Peaches the lion became Peaches and cream. Never again did she threaten any living creature. Not once did she bully or fight for her place in the herd. She was content to just be sweet Peaches and looked upon us as her good and trusted friends. She knew she was special to me, she knew that I would be sure that she got extra apples and squash and bananas, she knew that I would call her name so she could be present before the treats commenced. She knew that she had a special place in my heart.

Last Tuesday, she appeared to come down with a sudden pneumonia. Wheezing in her chest and a refusal to eat did not bode well. A temperature ten degrees below normal made the prognosis grim. We brought her into our house and warmed her for a couple of hours in case it was hypothermia from the cold temperatures. When her temperature did not rise, our local vet told us that her only hope was to travel to a large animal hospital where she would have intensive care. He asked us what we were willing to do to try and save her. The obvious answer was � whatever it takes. We loaded her up into our tiny Honda and I began a nighttime six hour journey with Peaches to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. She struggled valiantly but left this life in my arms just after I crossed the Tennessee border. I will never forget her looking me squarely in the face with her beautiful golden eyes. I stroked her, told her how much we loved her, and turned around so she could rejoin her herd. Today I have touched and stroked her for the last time.

She will stay here forever on this farm, forever with us, under the earth where her herd grazes and lies in the sun by the creek. She stands forever in our hearts as a testament to all that we strive for here at Gallastar, a testament to protection of the weak and the helpless, a testament to standing up boldly for those that need help so that they too can have purpose and a sense of worth. She gave nourishment to those in need, not asking whose responsibility it should be. And in the process, she nourished us. We will miss you dearly, but rest, sweet girl, for yours was a job well done.

Ron Pulliam
This Newsletter in Memory of Mr.Chuck Roscher
This newsletter brought to you in Memory of Charles Roscher. Mr. Roscher was the epitome of all that is good, honorable, and decent in this world. He patiently heading a household of extreme animal lovers and rescuers. His gentle spirit live on in his wife Shirley, daughters Liz and Sue, sons Glen and Charles Jr., as well as many grandchildren.
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