1. Extreme happiness; ecstasy.
2. The ecstasy of salvation; spiritual joy.
It’s after midnight on a Saturday, and I’m pecking away at my keyboard with SNL playing in the background and a pile of dogs snoozing around me, a giant grin occupying the majority of my face. I’ve just wrapped up a phone conversation with David “Woody” Bartley, and after spending some time getting to know what he and his wife Deanna do for animals at A Chance for Bliss, I am thrilled to introduce them as our November rescue of the month.
A Chance for Bliss is a 501(c)3) special needs, senior, end of life sanctuary. As you may already have deduced, that means it is often the last hope for animals who otherwise don’t stand a chance. The tough cases that are often overlooked, the older animals that are constantly passed over for adoption – those lost causes that keep us up at night would be lucky to find themselves here – and in increasing numbers, they are.
I’d like to share an e-mail I received from David, which so succinctly sums up A Chance for Bliss and the work they do that I could never improve upon it:
My wife and I run a senior, special needs, and end of life animal sanctuary called A Chance for Bliss. The sanctuary is named in honor of our first two residents, Chance and Bliss, a 12 and 13 year Boston Terrier brother-sister pair who were dumped at shelter, and whom we in turn adopted in October of 2000. Chance lived with us for 14 wonderful month, while we were graced with Bliss for 18 months.
Since then we have welcomed more than 170 animals to live out their lives with us at the sanctuary, 81 of whom have beautifully transitioned across the Rainbow Bridge. They are sometimes with us for days and weeks, but can also remain for years. Its all per the choice of the individual resident. They get to choose when they want to leave, but we are ever vigilant to ensure each enjoys a very high quality of life, and find that they live well, and then peacefully pass away rather suddenly. As such we rarely are called to intervene and assist with their transition.
Currently we care for 90 sanctuary residents: 24 horses, 22 dogs, of which 11 are Bostons, and all of whom live in the house with us (no cages or kennels). We also care for 8 pot belly pigs, 6 goats, 3 sheep, 2 steers, 7 ducks, 5 geese, 4 chickens, 4 rabbits, 3 cats and 2 cockatiels. All of the animals stay forever since we do no adoptions, instead looking to welcome those who do not have a chance to find a home due to age or condition.
While it seems implausible, after the initial craziness of the greeting, all 22 dogs in the house calm down and it is really peaceful and quiet. They are very accustomed to lots of visitors as we encourage groups and individuals alike to come and tour the sanctuary and meet the residents. Our goal is for visitors to see the life, joy and possibility that a senior or special needs animals has to offer, and encourage them to adopt one when they are ready to add a new family member (we direct them to great “front line” rescues and agencies).
This beautiful slideshow will give you a closer look at some of the residents.
To learn more about A Chance for Bliss, check out their media page to see what others have had to say about them. If you are a fan of the work they do, please let them know by joining their fan page on Facebook as a show of support. Now, let’s get a closer look at the dogs!
We’ll end today’s rescue of the month feature with A Chance for Bliss’s mission statement, a thing of beauty in itself:
A Chance for Bliss, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)(3) California corporation committed to the care and welfare of animals on an extraordinary scale, particularly canine and equine, with strong emphasis on seniors and those with special needs.
A Chance for Bliss, Inc. is a Sanctuary and any being which finds his way to us becomes a permanent resident, benefiting from the comfort and security of having a loving, caring Forever Home.
A Chance for Bliss, Inc. promotes the Truth of the inherent worth of all beings, regardless of age, condition, or any other factor.
Oh and that definition of bliss from above? That’s for your benefit and mine. Animals in the care of the Bartleys already know it by heart.