Gillian’s Rainbow Bridge invites you to be part of our Farm Friends programme. With your support we will be able to look after and rehabilitate other farm animals making sure they have happy and safe lives.
As you look through the photos and read the life stories you may find a special feeling /connection to one of Gillian’s Rainbow Bridge farm animals, if so, joining Farm Friends could be for you.
Your contribution will cover specific food; clean water; shelter with bedding; veterinary costs and general animal maintenance charges. (e.g. Farrier /Shearer)
We thank you for your involvement and look forward to seeing you at one of our “Farm Friends,” visitor days. On these days you will be able to meet your special “Farm Friend”; see where he/she lives; pat him/her; perhaps give him/her a relaxing brushing; (where appropriate)feed them their favourite food; help clean their home; add some clean, fresh, cool water; have some photos taken and enjoy a light afternoon tea. What a great day out for the family!
All Farm Friend Members receive:
1. Personalised quarterly news letters on GRB activities.
2. A birthday present from your Farm Friend/s.
3. An invite to visit our farm to meet your Farm Friend face to face.
The cost for our annual Farm Friend Membership is $50.00 per farm animal per year. If you would like to learn more about our Farm Friend Membership, please Contact Us.
When you visit don’t forget to wear appropriate clothing, you may get dirty so wear old clothes and, importantly, bring along strong shoes/boots to keep your feet safe. Also don’t forget sun block and an appropriate hat, for sunny days and wet weather gear (water proof boots, coat and hat).
The following are some stories we’d like to share with you of some of the animals on the Farm.
Arrow: A Border Leicester sheep
Shearing was about to happen, my mum was a little anxious as she knew it wasn’t long before I would be born. It was about to rain so mum and her friends were put in the old shearing shed to keep dry as they would be next in line to be shorn in the morning. The shed was old with some of the floor planks missing. Mum knew it wasn’t safe in that shed, but what could she do? I was eager to come into the world with lots of new and exciting things heading my way.
As the morning progressed Mum saw the lady going through the flock, checking on all the new born lambs and looking to see how the pregnant mums were faring. She noticed mum had just given birth to me, but where was I? She looked everywhere but couldn’t see me. I was calling out but I was so little my voice was not strong yet. Then I felt a warm caring hand pick me up. The hands were kind and strong. I had fallen through the broken flooring onto the manure under the shed. The lady took me back into the shearing shed hoping to find my mum so we could be united. I was so hungry and cold. The lady put me down saying “Where is your mum? I don’t know which one she is”. By now other lambs had been born, lots of mums were looking for their babies. Before the lady put me down she wrote an arrow on my forehead. She didn’t want to write a cross as she thought this was negative. Then she said,” try and find your mum”. I will come back a little later on to make sure you are OK. I tried to find my mum, but I hadn’t had any milk for a while, I didn’t have any strength left, I had nearly given up. I laid down to rest and closed my eyes.
The sunlight came streaming through the gaps in the roof. I opened my eyes. Those friendly, warm hands picked me up. “Where is your mum?” she said. The lady tried to find mum but by now there were so many sheep and lambs some calling out, it was chaotic. The lady said, “I can’t find your mum and you need some milk and warmth or you won’t make it.” “Arrow”, she said, ‘I will look after you”. And she did.
Now I’m a big strong, happy Border Leicester with beautiful fleece which people quickly buy. I live with my friends and the lady, she took me home, and she loves me heaps.
Charlotte: A Merino sheep
I had just been born when all the mums and their babies were herded into the small runs and then into the shearing shed where mum was shorn. I was a little slow and I lost mum when she went into the big yard for all the shorn sheep. I looked and looked but couldn’t find her. I was very little, tired and hungry. I went and sat down against the farm gate hoping mum would find me.
I waited for a long time, I went to sleep. Just as I was about to give in a lady picked me up. “What are you doing all the way over here, away from all the other sheep?” she said. The lady tucked me under her warm jumper, it felt good. She gave me some warm milk from a bottle, it wasn’t as good as mums was but I was hungry.
The lady took me to her home where I lived with another two lambs that had lost their mums. I wasn’t very strong. I was often sick; I hadn’t had any of mum’s special milk to give me a good start in life. Gill the ladies daughter, who was a remarkable vet nurse, tried all sorts of things. She wouldn’t give up. At one time she gave me yoghurt in my milk, this seemed to help. I got strong and healthy after this. Gill said, “I don’t know if Charlotte will live a long life. We have done as much as we can; it’s up to Charlotte now”.
Here I am, living the good life, with my friend Arrow and Little Ray. We have lots of other friends. I have beautiful white fleece, I’m a Merino. The lady loves me and so did Gill.
Little Ray: A Merino sheep
It was raining and I was wet and cold. I didn’t know where mum had gone, I had fallen asleep. I desperately needed some milk. A lady picked me up, she said, “Are you lost? Where is your mum?
She doesn’t seem to be here. You need some milk, you are freezing.” She wrapped me in a warm blanket and took me in to the house. There were other lost lambs too. The lady gave me some warm milk. I felt weak but the cosy blanket and warm milk made my tummy feel good. There was something about this lady, she made me feel safe. She looked at me with kind, endearing eyes and I fell asleep.
I’m a big boy now. I’m a Merino with a white, soft, strong fleece. People come to the farm to buy my special fleece. I get well looked after on the farm. I have a house with clean straw, a healthy meal at night and lots of grass and fresh water. I sleep with Arrow and Thomas (an Angora goat). At times I still get a little lost, I can’t quite figure it out, but it’s OK because the lady always helps me to find my friends. She looks after me. She loves me. I love my life.
Hollywood: An American Quarter Horse.
I have known Gill for most of my life; I was her first Quarter Horse. Gill was 9 years of age and I was about 4. I have had many adventures some of which I would like to share with you.
I remember our first horse show. Gill had me looking extra beautiful for the show. I was brushed and brushed making sure my coat was shining. My tail was washed then carefully combed, making sure not to break the gleaming strands. My halter was cleaned and polished. Then we were ready to go. The weather was overcast with light showers threatening the event but we kept going. Our first class was Halter.
Gill and I had been practicing at home and we did our best. After doing our pattern and presenting to the judge we waited for the results. Unfortunately we had made a small mistake; one of the buckles on the halter hadn’t been tucked into place. This cost us a first place, but we were more than happy to get second. The beaming smile on Gill’s face made me feel proud. We went on to win several ribbons on that day.
When I was older I had a foal. Sadly she died. The vet, after checking that I was OK, told Gill of a foal that had just lost its mum and was wondering if I would consider being a mum to this sad foal? I was up for it! I looked after the foal the best I could but it had lots of complications and only lived a few days. Everyone, including me, did our very best. Then the owner of the farm had heard of another foal that had lost its mum, again I was asked if I would like to help. Even though I was feeling very sad myself I thought maybe I could help the foal as I understood its sadness. I loved being a mum. This time I had to travel all the way over to the airport. All went well the foal loved me and grew up to be strong and healthy.
I remember the time when Gill knew a lady who had always wanted to learn how to ride a horse but didn’t have the confidence to have a try. Gill told the lady about me, how I was gentle and sensible, how I had a slow jog, just like sitting in an armchair, with a comfortable, leisurely lope. The lady decided to put her faith in Gill and I, she had no regrets! Gill was a wonderful, confidence building teacher and I knew what was expected of me. Between the two of us this lady was amazed at herself, gaining the much needed confidence she required to overcome her fears. If only she knew I never did like going fast!
There are so many stories I could tell you about but I’m getting older now so need to have a rest more often. However there are many times when I’m resting in my paddock and thinking of all the wonderful times I’ve had with Gill. Her mum looks after me now and I have some English friends to share my days with. I love the delicious healthy food I get, and I need to have my rug on more often especially on the cold summer nights of 2013! It’s a good life here.
Wally: A black Alpaca
I came to live in Healesville a few years ago now; I’m a little black Alpaca. I live with two other Alpacas friends. I can’t help it if I’m small with wobbly feet and legs. Even though I’m little in stature I’ve got a big brave heart. When the fox goes slinking through the paddocks I chase him away because I know we must look after the rooster, hens and their chickens. I take this very seriously.
I love to rest in the shade on hot summer afternoons and bask in the sun on warm sunny mornings. People love to use my jet black fleece for spinning and knitting. My fleece was even made into a felted garment that was worn in a fashion parade; I felt so proud. Life is good here on the farm.
Malone: A mixed breed dog.
My name comes from the Australian saying- “All on your Pat Malone” (all by yourself)
I come from a large family with lots of brothers and sisters. Mum didn’t get much food so she would go off looking for whatever she could find.
We were always hungry. One time when mum went looking a few of us followed her. It was very scary, we had to cross a big road with fast cars whizzing past. Then we ran through a paddock, near a house. Mum ran so fast, it was hard to keep up. On the way back there were so many cars on the road I got frightened. I couldn’t cross. Mum and the others disappeared, the cars kept coming. It was dangerous. I didn’t know what to do. Mum was gone. I ran back into the paddock where the house was. It was getting late; I was hungry, cold and frightened. I found a pipe to hide in then I eventually fell asleep. In the morning a lady was walking through the paddock close to the pipe. She happened to look across to where my sad, lonely face was peering out of the pipe. “Who are you?” she said. “Where have you come from?” She picked me up, gave me a big cuddle then took me to her home. I had some food. I was so hungry. The lady said she couldn’t keep me because she had two large dogs but knew someone who might look after me for a couple of days while she looked for my owner.
Soon I went to another lady’s house; I could smell a warm, cosy, loving home and knew I only had one chance to tell her my sad story. I gave it all I had. She took me into her loving arms, listening to my story. “Don’t worry” she said, “you’ll be safe with me. I’ll look after you. You won’t be by yourself any more Malone.” And since then I have always been safe and loved. I help with cooking (eating), sewing, (watching) resting on the couch or any other task that is required of me.
Sometimes I get into trouble but I am learning all the time!
Ginger: I’m a little mixed breed dog.
I have Corgi, Dachshund and Pomeranian blood in me and I’m very cute.
Something awful had happened in our family so my two sisters and I were taken to an animal shelter. One of my sisters found a home straight away. Then two ladies came to look at me, they thought I was perfect for their family. However I had been a bit naughty so people weren’t quite sure that I could be trusted not to bite, they didn’t understand that I was scared and that I had to defend myself. There was a lot of discussion between the two ladies and the animal shelter. I had to meet the other dogs from the proposed family. We all went for a walk together, it appeared to work well. There was more discussion about where I was going to be and how I would fit in with the coming family. I was waiting in anticipation, hoping I could leave soon. It seemed to take such a long time.
Finally the day arrived when I was going to a new home. My new family were thrilled that I was going to live with them. I went to a farm. I had never been to a farm before. It took a bit of getting used to! So much space! There were other types of animals to meet, including sheep, goats, horses and chooks! My new family helped me to gain confidence and not be scared of lots of things. The other dogs and the cat were all friendly, the two ladies and the man taught us to be calm. I love my new home, my family and having lots of space to run and play. I am always on my best behaviour when the grandchildren come. I love little children.
Rosie: Welsh Mountain Pony
Well, I have had quite an adventure in my life! Many, many replica watches years ago I lived high on the Welsh moors in the United Kingdom. It was very, very cold in winter. One winter’s day a farmer came with his dogs and all of us were rounded up and squeezed into an old rusty barn. We were kept there for a long time with no food and only one dirty water bowl to share between all of us, we were miserable. Some of us were released back onto the moors...I watched them gallop away. I was left behind. I was so scared and didn’t always do what I was told, so sometimes the farmer would hit me with his stick.
One day those of us that were left were sent to market. I was very lucky at the market as I was brought by a kind lady who took me back to her farm. I was very, very thin and she thought I was a brown pony but it was only that I was so dirty from living in the old barn. She let me have a big field all to myself and late one night, not long after I arrived, I gave birth to my son, William. You can imagine how surprised my new owner was, she didn’t even know I was pregnant! When William had grown a bit bigger she trained me for her riding school. I was very good as I couldn’t be bothered to gallop fast like the other horses.
One day I had a young girl ride me who said I was the finest pony ever! She was very nervous and I was on my best behaviour (although I wouldn’t pick up my feet for her as that was still a bit scary). Soon I was rumbling down a fast motorway in a big truck destined to live with her in England. The young girl rode me a lot and fed me a lot and I grew really naughty! Sometimes I would run off with her and once I even jumped out of the arena over a high fence, but she didn’t seem to mind too much.
We were a good team and won at all the competitions. When the girl was a bit older she told me she was moving to Australia, and that I was coming too! I flew in an aeroplane with my friend Jazz and lots of other really smart race horses....I felt very important. So here we are, living in Australia and I still live with my friend Jazz (she always tries to steal my food, but I don’t always let her), I have another friend too, Hollywood. These days I like to spend a lot of time resting and whilst I get lots of hugs and pats I don’t get ridden anymore. I still love my food though!
Oliver: Palomino Gelding- By Kate who found Oliver
Oliver is a very, very pretty palomino gelding who was rescued from a horse market where he was destined for death row.
We do not know much about Oliver’s past but understand that he was bred for showing. However, his life did not turn out the way it was intended, and he ended up being sold at a horse market.
Oliver was not in good condition when we rescued him: he was very underweight, had a shaved mane with a lot of cuts that were infected, and had a very snotty nose and weepy eyes.
When we got him home from the market he was eager to eat his hay, and once finished he asked for some more – that is why he is called Oliver.
Oliver is one of our permanent residents at Gillian’s Rainbow Bridge, and lives with his friends Sienna, a thoroughbred, and Zephyr an American Quarter horse.