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June 1, 2021 - Update
I have big dreams of turning WolfStone Ranch into a spiritually-based, activist community dedicated to making the rural Midwest a more compassionate place for all animals, once this PANDEMIC is really behind us, but in the meantime…
WolfStone Ranch has a small, but dedicated RESCUE TEAM who’s been very busy saving lives from the area’s municipal animal control facilities. Since last summer, we’ve saved the lives of over 75 dogs and cats whose time was about up… and, through a growing network of other rescue groups and shelters in Missouri and Illinois, finding them ALL wonderful “Furever Homes”.
If you’re interested in supporting our rescue work, please feel free to make a donation with the DONATE BUTTON on our home page (above)… or with the DONATE BUTTON on our Facebook page. And thank you so much!
NOTE… I believe that DIVERSITY is crucial to the success of WolfStone Ranch. Therefore, I am enthusiastically seeking people of all ages, races, ethnicities, genders, sexual identities… and religions that do not practice torture or sacrifice of animals… If you are African American or Latino or Native American or Asian (etc.) … If you are LGBTQ (etc.)… if you are Jewish or Buddhist or Hindu or Muslim (etc.)… Even if you are agnostic or atheist, but are comfortable in a spiritual setting… if you resonate with my Vision of WolfStone Ranch, then know that you will be welcome here! So please consider the following questions…
Do you adore animals? Do you revere Mother Nature? Have you longed to be a part of a community devoted to making our world a safer, healthier, kinder and gentler, more loving home for ALL animals (remembering that humans, too, are animals)?
Do you crave connection with others who care deeply about living in a Sacred Way? “Walking the Red Road”, as I understand some Native American tribes put it. That is, people who consider themselves passionately spiritual, but maybe not religious… People who believe that the Sacred can be found within ourselves, and within every person, and within every animal, and in all of creation… as well as Beyond?
And is it important to you to live “in community” with other good people who care deeply about the same things that you care so deeply about? (Sort of like being involved in a church community?) Or perhaps you’ve considered living in an “intentional community” or something like a “monastery”? (Something that’s not at all possible at WolfStone Ranch now, but is in my Vision for a new location in the future...)
Hi, I’m Jessica Karraker, and in April 2010 I founded WolfStone Ranch … in response to a Calling from the Sacred Within. My heart was broken by all the animal suffering I saw all around me and Love compelled me to do something about it! Since then, I’ve turned WolfStone Ranch into a registered nonprofit corporation, a licensed animal-rescue facility, and a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity. And with the generous help of a handful of animal-loving friends, here and there over the years, I’ve so far managed to save the lives of over 250 dogs and cats. You can read all about the truly miraculous journey that I’ve been on for the past several challenging but rewarding years in my Newsletters…
But here and now, this Home Page and the Vision Pages will be my “Manifesto” ...and if you like what you read here, then I invite you to read my whole website to see if maybe we belong in community together. Realize however that, once a few of us have found each other and started to build our WolfStone Ranch Community, the website won’t need to be so much about me and the origins of the WolfStone Ranch Vision!
Okay! Without further ado, here it is…
WolfStone Ranch is going to be a spiritually-based, activist community dedicated to making the rural Midwest a more compassionate place for all the animals who live here (remembering again that people, too, are animals).
For starters, check out Our Mission statement (at the bottom of every page). AND THEN FOR ALL THE EXCITING DETAILS, PLEASE BE SURE TO READ ALL OF OUR VISION PAGES!! But before you leave THIS page, let me briefly introduce you to the principal features of my profoundly transformed Vision of WolfStone Ranch.
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." -- Mahatma Gandhi
From now on, WolfStone Ranch is going to be overtly and shamelessly spiritually based. Because I’m a deeply spiritual person! And because I believe that being spiritually-based is absolutely essential for WolfStone Ranch’s success… because having the moral compass of The Golden Rule (a moral principle, by the way, that I understand exists in all the world’s great religions) is the only way for our WolfStone Ranch Community to overcome the inevitable dysfunctions that plague all human relationships! Therefore, creating and maintaining a HEALTHY community should be, in my opinion, the first goal of any organization. If ya want the building to stand against the storms, ya gotta build on a foundation of rock, not sand… right?
Because here’s what I’ve learned over all my many years of personal and professional relationships… we can set up all the smart policies and programs we want, all the ethical systems and laws we desire, all based on the soundest of knowledge and wisdom, and all in pursuit of the worthiest visions… but without also creating a culture of honesty and authenticity, teamwork and humility, mutual respect, fairness and compassion… I believe we will ultimately be doomed to failure. And spiritually-based people are “by definition” already aspiring to live by these standards, right? Just as importantly, spiritually-based people also aspire to having the courage to admit their mistakes and to being open to change. Just because a community chooses to be spiritually based does not make it perfect… but it DOES make it open to fixing what’s broken. Now that’s a model for success!
"My Church Is The Woods." –Anonymous
WolfStone Ranch has never wanted to be “just” another animal shelter… No need to do what the Farmington Pet Adoption Center is already doing! Instead, we need to cover the bases that they don’t… and that includes behavioral rehabilitation (for animals and their owners), humane education (for schools throughout the region), creating a low-cost spay/neuter/vaccination program, setting up a feral-cat trap/neuter/release program… and creating other programs that directly affect the welfare of animals in the region.
Moreover, we’ve got to play a role in providing humane treatment of all LIVESTOCK.
And let’s not forget about protecting WILDLIFE, who are threatened by habitat loss, climate change, poaching and pollution.
But in addition, I’ve come to see that addressing social injustices is equally important, because humans cause most animal suffering. Obviously, anything we can do to address the issues of poverty, drug and alcohol addiction, racism, xenophobia and other forms of prejudice, violence (domestic and otherwise), etc.… will indirectly improve the lives of animals as well!
Now, I’m not sure of ALL the ways in which the WolfStone Ranch Community will eventually decide to participate in such animal-, ecological- and social-justice activism, but I DO know three of them! The first is through becoming a model of a healthy community… and then reaching out to share what we’ve learned about how to create and maintain a healthy community.
BUILDING, MAINTAINING and MODELLING “COMMUNITY”
I’ve been throwing around the word “community” here a whole lot… but there are two very important points I feel I need to make clear right now, and best-selling author Dr. Scott Peck said them both succinctly in the introduction to his 1988 book, “The Different Drum”,
 In and through community lies the salvation of the world. Nothing is more important. Yet it is virtually impossible to describe community meaningfully to someone who has never experienced it ~  and most of us have never had an experience of true community.
Hence, he started The Foundation for Community Encouragement (FCE), a nonprofit group that facilitates 3-day “workshops” that they call Community Building Experiences (CBE). Peck’s purpose was to teach people how it feels to be in a healthy community so that we could all learn how NOT to destroy ourselves with nuclear war. While that threat had seemed less likely since the end of the Cold War (1945-1990), it’s recently roared back with the increased hostility between the US and North Korea. What’s more, racism and xenophobia, religious intolerance, overt hatred and violence, as well as political polarity and paranoia have reared their ugly heads with a vengeance in the past couple of years. Don’t get me wrong, I had never thought they’d disappeared… but I had thought that we, as a nation, were making progress in reducing them here in the United States. But now, and I do not think it is hyperbole to say… I have come to believe that, if we don’t want a Second Civil War in America, we’d sure better pay more attention to building community!
Governments, political parties, businesses, nonprofits and religious organizations of all kinds… Unless we all learn to build and maintain healthy communities within all these entities, they are ultimately going to fail in their missions to make life better for ALL people… and animals… and Mother Earth, our only home, the very source and sustenance of all life. Which is precisely why BUILDING COMMUNITY is WolfStone Ranch’s #1 Mission!
But building a spiritually and emotionally healthy WolfStone Ranch Community can be so much more than just good for WolfStone Ranch… it can also become a form of outreach and activism. Like my “mentor” Martin Luther King Jr., I too have a dream! I see the WolfStone Ranch Community setting the example and leading the way in changing the culture of the rural Midwest regarding the treatment of animals…. and each other. Changing hearts and minds to becoming more compassionate toward ALL LIFE will require us to consciously build and conscientiously maintain a healthy sense of community first within our own WolfStone Ranch Community… and then to “spread the love” throughout the region. But as we succeed in making this dream a reality out here in the “sticks” of Southeast Missouri, who knows? Perhaps we can eventually play a role in expanding that community of compassion to the rest of our state… and then throughout our nation… and then throughout the rest of the world?!
#1 ~ Community-Building Experience(s)
Because I’ve been so impressed with everything I’ve learned about Peck’s organization and their workshops, the very first thing we will do, as a new WolfStone Ranch Community, will be to produce and participate in an exhilarating and life-changing three-day Community-Building Experience, led by facilitators from his Foundation for Community Encouragement. And in time, I hope, we will be able to produce other CBE’s throughout the region, to help other individuals and organizations who want to improve their relationships, within their own personal or professional “communities”. I see our initial Community-Building Experience as the WolfStone Ranch Community’s First Activist Event… that I really hope we can produce in 2019.
#2 ~ Circle of Heroes
Secondly, we will start a spiritually-based, activist, community drum circle that will eventually morph into a musical ensemble, replete with other musical instruments and singers. But whether we’re performing as a drum circle or a full-blown musical ensemble, the group will always be called Circle of Heroes. (I have professional experience to build on… check out my JOIN... Crying for A Vision page...)
Community drum circle or musical ensemble that performs at activist events? Ho hum… But wait! I’m thinking of a THRILLING “NEW” CONCEPT for OUR performance group, which you can read more about on the appropriate Vision page...
But let me explain this much here, because I think you’ll be turned on by the awesome potential… first of all, ANYONE can participate in Circles of Heroes, you don’t have to be an experienced drummer, other musician or singer… and if you don’t have a good sense of rhythm or pitch, then you can DANCE! Okay, that’s just like in any community drum circle… because the very purpose of a COMMUNITY drum circle is to BUILD COMMUNITY through drumming together… duh! It’s all about teamwork, synergy... and communal joy!
But secondly, and here’s the idea that’s not at all typical in our modern Western culture… ALL Circles of Heroes performance will be PRAYER. You may not know this, but for all our prehistoric ancestors, drumming itself could be experienced as prayer. Dancing itself could be prayer. Any musical performance or artistic expression of any kind could be prayer… not just songs with prayerful lyrics. And so will it be for Circles of Heroes! Because I passionately believe in the miraculous power of prayer to change hearts and minds… whether it’s in the form of a mantra, or singing, or drumming, or dancing!
The idea here is that the CAUSE we’re performing on behalf of, as well as our PRAYER response, are the “stars of the show”… So no, this performance group will NOT be about featuring star PERFORMERS. In this way, Circles of Heroes will be a musical form of SPIRITUAL ACTIVISM.
What’s also cool is, when we choose to perform at public activist events of any sort, other people can easily join in with us… and in that way, they become a part of our community, and we theirs. In this way, I believe that Circles of Heroes can be every bit as powerful (if not more so!) than a conventional demonstration march or rally. And it’s a totally POSITIVE, PEACEFUL and NONVIOLENT form of activism… Gandhi and King would have approved!
#3 ~ Spiritual Retreat for Pets (and Their People)
WolfStone Ranch’s Spiritual Retreat for Pets (and Their People) will be a place where all guests, no matter their species, can find emotional healing, peace and serenity… a place to begin a new lifestyle to take home with them. Retreat guests will stay in dog- or cat-friendly cabins. Services offered for pets will start with compassionate rehabilitation. Services offered for their owners will start with the traditional meditative practices of drumming circles, prayer-song circles and breathing circles. The services of WolfStone Healing Center for pets will feature massage, reiki and acupuncture… for their people, massage, reiki and yoga. Our Dandelion Café will offer only vegetarian and vegan dishes, featuring locally grown, organic, whole foods. And The Animal Kingdom, our chic boutique, will offer high-quality, animal-themed artwork, clothing, jewelry, books and music… all reflecting our ethos of reverence for and compassionate treatment of all life (and all using no animal-based materials).
I’m but one lonely voice
Crying in the night
For all the pain and sorrow
I see all around me
But what can I do
And who’ll listen to me
I’m but one lonely spirit
Crying in the night
So won’t you help me change the world
Won’t you help me make things right
Together helping others
And together seeking Light
Yeah, won’t you help me save the world
Won’t you help me right what’s wrong
Together we’re a power
And together we are strong
Yeah, together we are strong
Together Together Together!!!
Published 2004 Karraker Music (BMI)
BUT RIGHT NOW, THIS ALL REMAINS JUST A BIG, BEAUTIFUL DREAM! Literally. This fantastic vision came to me years ago in the middle of the night, in answer to many weeks of intense prayer seeking the idea for a business to start to support WolfStone Ranch’s nonprofit animal rescue and rehabilitation work. (For more on this, please see this About page...) Which means that before this spiritual-retreat dream can come true, we will need to raise a heck of a lot of money… first, to buy another gorgeous piece of property (100 acres or more) and, second, to build it all! Because, for one thing, the current property on which WolfStone Ranch resides is far too small for such an ambitious undertaking. Moreover, the tiny cottage and barn here are already overflowing with rescued dogs and cats. So there’s simply no room at the current WolfStone Ranch location for anyone else, be they dogs or cats… or humans!
Even more foundationally, when I started WolfStone Ranch, I was not envisioning it as a spiritual organization… not because I didn’t want it to be, mind you! But because I was afraid to express that part of me through WolfStone Ranch. And because I was counseled by many friends against doing so… better to be less controversial, they said, safer to be more acceptable and accessible to the wider public.
But as you’ve read above, that has all changed… hallelujah! However, because of the former disconnect between my being a profoundly spiritual person and my attempting to treat WolfStone Ranch as a secular organization, you may find that perusing my website feels somewhat jarring because it sounds inconsistent in tone. At least, I certainly find it to feel that way!
But now that I’ve joyfully declared WolfStone Ranch to be an unabashedly spiritually-based community, everything can grow organically out of that course correction. For one thing, that means that… eventually, when there’s time and money… we can redo the whole website to speak in one, powerfully authentic voice.
For another thing… for the time being… our WolfStone Ranch Community will be like a typical church community, in which everyone lives in their own homes and just comes together for our animal rescue, and other activist work and events. But later, those who are ready, willing and able to do so can be part of turning WolfStone Ranch into something more like a “monastery”… and that’s when we will develop our Spiritual Retreat for Pets (and Their People) in all its magnificent glory! For the inspirational myth that ties together Peck’s concepts of community-building with the creation of a WolfStone Ranch “monastery” as the foundation for WolfStone Ranch’s Spiritual Retreat for Pets (and Their People), please read “The Rabbi’s Gift"...
In the meantime, there’s the Here and Now. And thankfully, that’s a beautiful if humble place to be. I’ve got a passel of rescued dogs and cats… and I could use some help in caring for them! And the first big project that we need to roll up our sleeves and get started on is producing our first Community-Building Experience. But come to think of it, there’s no reason we can’t also be prayerfully drumming together… I’ve got my djembe… Have you got yours?!
Now, some of you may think that I’ve just painted a picture of an exciting and rewarding lifestyle… while others of you may think this all just sounds like a helluva lot of hard work! Frankly, I’m looking for those few who are able to see my vision BOTH ways…. because MY people are those who have their heads in the clouds AND their feet firmly planted on our beautiful Mother Earth! So if you’re one of those rare and special individuals, I so look forward to hearing from you!
My clarion call to all my Kindred Spirits out there…
“Think Globally, But Act Locally… Let’s show the world that you don’t have to move to the big cities or to the coasts to lead a deeply meaningful, satisfying and even exciting life, through working to make the world a better place for all!”