Thankful for a Second Chance

 | Nov 23, 2011 | 10:49 AM EST
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This Thanksgiving, I'm reflecting on a little ranch outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, and some of the miracles that have happened there over the past year. It's called Rasta's Rescue Ranch, and it's become a haven where abused and neglected horses, dogs, goats and even sheep get a second chance.

I have had the privilege of working with Rasta's this year, fostering a dog, helping at pet adoption events and eventually joining the group's board.

It can be tempting to think of animal rescue as among the more thankless endeavors when it comes to community service projects. But when I saw some recent pictures of Red, the huge pit bull I fostered over the summer, with his new family, I realized how much our work impacts people's lives.

For me, rescuing this dog who had been tossed out into somebody's yard -- restrained with a chain so tight that it became embedded around his neck -- was a respite from busy days spent tracking the stock market. And it was a reminder that dogs don't care what their people do for a living or where they live. They are always grateful for any love and kindness.

My good friends who run Rasta's day in and day out took on an enormous task this year. Fourteen puppies, all approximately the same age, but from three different litters, were abandoned at a small animal shelter in a poor, rural corner of New Mexico. Rasta's took seven of the pups (the rest went to another rescue), and nurtured them to health through a bout of parvo (a highly contagious canine virus).

All seven were adopted into loving homes. Months of hard work from the Rasta's crew brought joy into each of those adoptive families.

In a very hands-on field, where there's plenty of dirty work to be done, Rasta's Rescue Ranch is among a growing cadre of rescuers who are successfully using social media to attract donations and find homes for their animals.

The ranch's Facebook page has attracted more than 8,000 fans, who have also pitched in with money and time to aid the cause. It's abundantly clear how the ability to reach out to supporters around the nation and the world is changing the face of animal rescue for the better.

I'm grateful for many of the events and opportunities that have come my way this year. But in addition to all the wonderful developments on the professional front, and how much I enjoy tracking the capital markets and trading my accounts every day, I'm thankful for having been a small part of Rasta's success this year.

Rasta's Rescue Ranch deserves a cornucopia of gratitude this Thanksgiving for the lives they have changed for the better: human, canine, equine and otherwise.

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