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A 4th of July to Remember

Welcome to Hillenglade, Jennifer O'Neill's wonderful sanctuary.

Welcome to Hillenglade, Jennifer O’Neill’s wonderful sanctuary.

I have found that as I grow older I tend to be more patriotic but also a little more cynical of our National Holidays which seem to be over commercialized. Today, many of us have become more interested in going to the lake or the big fireworks show than the true spirit of the Holiday. I can admit I am often one of those. However, this past 4th of July Katrina and I volunteered to help at Jennifer O’Neill’s Hillenglade Hope and Healing event in Nashville. This is an event to help returning Vets and their families deal with PTSD.

All was quiet early in the day but the crowds would soon arrive.

All was quiet early in the day but the crowds would soon arrive.

And arrive they did along with film crews from 2 local Network TV stations, RFD TV as well as a couple of independent video crews and the local Nashville newspaper.

And arrive they did along with film crews from 2 local Network TV stations, RFD TV as well as a couple of independent video crews and the local Nashville newspaper.

We have previously sold and donated miniature donkeys to her organization and were invited to volunteer this year to assist with “donkey painting”. Katrina and I spend a great deal of time in an effort to make our animals as “bullet proof” as possible. That is, we want them to work well and not spook in any situation. However, we also want our little animal friends to be as out going and lovable as possible to both adults, children and individuals with special needs.

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We were a little hesitant at how our four legged offspring might react to large groups of excited youngsters with paint and brushes in hand. The eager little ones grabbed their artistic tools and literally attacked the 18 month old miniature donkeys with an excitement that can only be compared to Christmas morning. Each child had their favorite color of the day and began transforming the miniature donkeys’ hairy coats into a child’s artistic masterpiece of color.

Some of the children were very deliberate in their painting.

Some of the children were very deliberate in their painting.

Others were happy just to add color to the little animals.

Others were happy just to add color to the little animals.

Bright colors for a happy day. Donkey fireworks?

Bright colors for a happy day. Donkey fireworks?

Some carefully printed their name on the donkey while others simply wanted to change the donkey from one color to another. Hand prints in yellow were popular as were red, white and blue zebra like stripes. Unfortunately, as fast as one design was applied another child came along and covered it with their own original art work. The final results reminded me of a psychedelic tie-dyed donkey.

Was this donkey painted or tie-dyed?

Was this donkey painted or tie-dyed?

The day was a mixture of loving animals, a very funny clown, a Country Music star, great entertainment, family games and great picnic food all provided to our heroes; American soldiers and their families, for free. I am sure we will be long time supporters of Jennifer and here great work. (If you don’t remember or are too young to know who Jennifer is please click on this link.)

 

One of our personal highlight of the day was meeting Kix Brooks (Brooks and Dunn). He stated he is a horse lover but can't believe the wonderful healing Jennifer does with the equine because every time he gets on a horse it seems like it is trying to kill him! LOL

One of our personal highlight of the day was meeting Kix Brooks (Brooks and Dunn). He stated he is a horse lover but can’t believe the wonderful healing Jennifer does with the equine because every time he gets on a horse it seems like it is trying to kill him! LOL

Here is a link to one of the Newscasts on the event.

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