by Carol M. Upton
And so, this was our life: challenged, but always enriched by the animals who somehow found their way to the gates of our sanctuary and into our hearts. Encompassed by our love, they loved us back. ~ Melanie Sue Bowles
There is no stronger seasonal message for animal-lovers than that found in The Dogs of Proud Spirit.
Proud Spirit sanctuary began with one horse in need on five acres in rural Florida and evolved into a 320-acre facility in Arkansas, where nearly 200 horses have come to live out their lives in peace. Melanie and Jim Bowles are the founders of Proud Spirit and this book offers incredible stories about the dogs that have also found their forever home at the sanctuary.
From Molly, the skinny hound running loose in a parking lot, to Gunner, the Corgi mix languishing in a shelter, to Dusty, the Rottweiler cross who took them past their “two dogs is enough” rule, Jim and Melanie kept adding to their pack. As happens to many with big hearts, strays continued to show up in their lives. The dogs fit in well, developed various ‘jobs’ for themselves, and got along with the horses.
Like all rescued animals, these dogs were mixed challenges and blessings. Molly and Gunner narrowly escaped death by alligators. Dusty didn’t like the existing pack and even showed initial aggression toward sanctuary visitors. Then, there were the infant hounds, dumped in a ditch, who grew into working dogs named Trixie, Trudy and Daisy.
Proud Spirit is one of the most successful, long-lasting sanctuaries for horses in the United States. These animals are not adopted out, but live their lives surrounded by compassion and kindness in an ideal environment. The stories in this book feed the reader’s soul and inspire new faith in the process of adopting and rescuing animals in need.
Melanie and Jim Bowles currently live with 72 horses, 12 dogs and one talkative barn cat. Melanie is also the author of The Horses of Proud Spirit and Hoofprints: More Stories from Proud Spirit. To learn more about their rescue work, visit Proud Spirit’s website.
This book is available on Amazon and on Proud Spirit’s website. Sale proceeds help care for the rescued
horses at Proud Spirit.
This review has previously appeared in print in Horses All magazine and in the digital publication Stablewoman Gazette.