Authors: Kim Meeder and Laurie Sacher
is a powerful story, made even more beautiful by the fact that it is not simply a fairy tale. Kim Meeder creatively recalls for us how Laurie Sacher’s unique interactions with the dog she saved ended up pointing her back to her Savior. In a culture obsessed with reality TV, I pray our hearts can not only be entertained and perhaps touched by this true story, but that we would be changed by it.”
, co-author of
The Ishbane Conspiracy
“On her ranch in Oregon, Kim Meeder brings wounded horses and broken kids together and sees healing miracles on a regular basis.
, a wonderful analogy of how God sees and loves his children, shows how a blind and ill dog named Mia helped to bring healing, love, and acceptance to the young woman who rescued her. Laurie’s statement ‘My dog is blind … and now I see’ is the story of all of us. This book could change your life.”
, author of
No Distance Too Far
, all the Red River series, and
One Perfect Day
along with many other novels
“I thank God for Kim Meeder—she is one of my heroes! Her passionate love for the Lord, for children of all ages, and for animals is inspiring. She is thoroughly dedicated to whatever assignment God brings her way, including writing this beautiful account of the special bond between a woman and her dog. Kim brings an ongoing message of hope with this story, and she does it so well.”
, author of
Let’s Walk the Talk
“Skidboot opened my eyes to a lot of life and love. After reading about Laurie and Mia, I learned even deeper lessons that our four-legged friends can teach us. This book shows very clearly how God has used dogs to spread his love. Thank you, Kim and Laurie, for sharing this story.”
, friend of Skidboot, the world-famous Texas blue heeler, featured in
Angel Dogs with a Mission: Divine Messengers in Service to All Life
“Kim Meeder takes the reader along on a unforgettable journey with Laurie and her blind dog, Mia. Dog and human bring out the best in each other through hardship and friendship as the bond between the two grows deeper. And the beauty of nature provides the path that Laurie and Mia travel as they experience the ups and downs during teachable moments.”
, founder and executive director, Project POOCH
“Kim Meeder again shares a touching story of how God continues to use all of creation to move in and through our lives.
gives us another glimpse into the amazing animal-human bonds that can bring fullness to our lives and move us to reach out to others, to reach out to hope, joy, and authentic love.”
, animal-assisted therapy handler
“Poignant and convicting. I was touched by the way Kim told Laurie and Mia’s story. I hope I can be as open to hearing the voice of God through unexpected ways.”
, volunteer for Guide Dogs for the Blind
“The human-animal bond is a special connection. Kim Meeder highlights this in
as she draws parallels between each one of us and our Savior, Jesus Christ. As Kim says, ‘To trust, listen, and believe takes time and practice.’ She surely knows how to portray an important message of salvation while entertaining and showing life lessons with Laurie and Mia.”
, volunteer for Guide Dogs for the Blind
Praise for Kim Meeder’s Previous Books
“Kim Meeder vibrantly shares—and lives—an amazing story of hope and restoration. A triumph of recovery for wounded hearts.”
, director, Passion Conferences, best-selling author
“I love good stories, and these are among the very best. Kim Meeder writes with a mesmerizing, wonderfully refreshing beauty. If your soul needs a fresh touch, reading this book is like opening a door and welcoming hope inside.”
, best-selling compiler of
Stories for the Heart
Other Books by Kim Meeder
Bridge Called Hope
Thank you for your courage in choosing to be transparent and honest. In doing so, you knew you would become vulnerable to the judgment of others. Yet you took that risk on the chance that through your story … some would find hope
This little book has become that endeavor; it is your
Before you come along on this journey with a woman, a friend, and a dog, please allow me to take you back to the founding of the ranch, the single seed from which this story was gleaned. Just like I tell our visitors, I would say to you now, “This is how it all began. Come, walk with me …
“At first, there was nothing … nothing except a hole in the ground.”
Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch arose from extremely humble beginnings. In 1995 my husband, Troy, and I purchased the only piece of property we could afford—a forlorn, abandoned rock quarry that had been mined for cinders. The local department of transportation crushed this abrasive stone to spread across winter roads for traction. The property looked as if a hungry giant had unceremoniously chomped out a three-acre bite from the upper half. The massive wound inflicted by the mining operation had also removed all the trees, grass, and topsoil. What remained was nothing more than a gaping red hole in the ground.
Completely devoid of its former natural beauty, the land looked so hideous that no one else wanted it. One fact others overlooked was the pit’s location on the western side of a small mountain. In Central Oregon, that means the acreage possessed a panoramic view of the Cascade Range, part of the Pacific Ring of Fire. This mountain range divides the entire state of Oregon with a row of formidable volcanoes ranging in elevation from seven thousand to more than eleven thousand feet. From the rim of the cinder pit, this parade of more than a dozen towering peaks creates a majestic skyline.
Looking outward at this geological masterpiece was awe inspiring. In contrast, looking downward was mortifying. Thankfully in this life we each get to choose in which direction we will cast our gaze. We each get to decide where our focus will reside. Troy and I chose to focus on what we could do. We chose to concentrate on the view and to restore a severely wounded piece of property.
Together, we appealed to the owners of the neighboring ranches for their garbage. The following two years, shovelful by shovelful, we hauled anything organic to cover the floor of our pit in order to create a seedbed. To renew the land, we brought in hundreds of tons of used stall shavings, moldy hay, and manure and spread them across the rocky wasteland that had become our residence. Troy, who at that time was a landscape contractor, carted home damaged and unwanted trees. Armed with shovels, picks, and pry bars, we dug large holes in which to plant the homeless trees. We often worked late into the night, with the vast, open darkness illuminated only by the headlights of our truck.
Everyone faces a time when that “someday” is today and that “someone” … is you
It was during this time that our first rescued horses arrived. I had been volunteering at a local breeding ranch, where I saw such atrocities that I would often leave vowing under my breath, “Someday this needs to change; someone needs to do something.” I believe everyone faces a time when that “someday” is today and that “someone” … is you.
I knew those devastated creatures wouldn’t survive much longer, so I negotiated their release. Of the two, one was a gray Anglo-Arab, emaciated to the point of missing about three hundred pounds, a third of her normal body weight. Denied the nourishment to grow properly, she had a chest so narrow that I couldn’t fit my closed fist between her front legs.
The second mare was a tall red bay with enormous brown eyes. I had witnessed the owner attack this lanky Anglo-Arab in such a savage rage that afterward he had to call a vet to come and suture a six-inch gash on her face.
Unknown to us at that time, those two rescued souls would become the forerunners of a vast stampede of needy horses soon to follow.
Troy and I watched in complete amazement as our ravaged property, filled with broken trees and broken horses, was transformed into the perfect setting to heal the hearts of broken children.
Drawn by word of mouth, kids started coming to the ranch—kids we didn’t even know. Typically a friend of a friend had told them about these formerly abused horses that needed help. The children would walk up our driveway armed with little more than the desire to offer their unique brands of love. Remarkably, the kids weren’t coming for what they could get but for what they could give.
At that time, our horses weren’t trained, nor were they strong enough to carry a rider. So the kids helped in all aspects of their care. Some children only wanted to groom the horses, taking extra time to comb, condition, and braid their manes and tails. Others stood with great patience, holding up large rubber pans of specialized feed to help the horses regain their lost weight. Many kids simply wanted to lead the mares up the grassy hill and just sit and watch them graze.
Feeding carrots to the horses ranked as a favorite fun activity. Brilliant orange foam lined each horse’s mouth as it chewed surplus loads of carrots. The horses savored the moment with heads down and eyes half closed, drooling pools of pure enjoyment. The sight and sound of that event always generated giggles from the children.
We watched in awe as these young ones—in their efforts to make the horses better—became better themselves.
Of all the kids who came to the ranch, there was one teenage girl who captured my heart. She was so broken inside that she had retreated into a world of silence. Although she could speak, she chose not to. Over time, I saw her reason for coming to the ranch: to feel safe and loved. Despite my efforts to release this young woman from her wordless prison, I was firmly locked out.
One day I was summoned away from her to take a long-distance phone call. When my call ended, I looked out the window and down the hill to check on her. She had taken the starving horse out and tied her to the hitching rail, and I could see their heads, lowered and close together. Curious, I kept watching. Finally the girl’s head bobbed up, along with the horse’s. And then I could clearly see what was happening. She was talking to the horse! From a starving girl to a starving horse, years of words poured out that no one had ever heard. From their parallel lives of pain, each understood the other better than most could understand either one of them. That was the moment when I knew I needed to build a place for this miracle of healing to thrive.
Simple encouragement from the little ranch in a cinder pit is reaching around the world
Inspired by that singular occurrence of wondrous freedom, we decided to take action, and Crystal Peaks Youth Ranch was born. I determined to build a ranch where this type of release could happen without hindrance. A place that would come to be known as “The Ranch of Rescued Dreams.”
Since those early days, we’ve seen the ranch grow into an international phenomenon. Our twice-yearly Information Clinics have helped bring more than one hundred similar ranches into existence across the United States, Canada, and abroad. Simple encouragement from the little ranch in a cinder pit is reaching around the world. Since 1995 we’ve been involved in the rescue of more than three hundred horses and have welcomed approximately five thousand visitors during our annual season from March to Thanksgiving. To date, an estimated fifty thousand have been served by this tiny ranch—all free of charge.
The ranch continues to exist because of the generosity of others. With thirty resident horses and a paid staff, Crystal Peaks maintains its ability to reach out to horses, children, and families in need because of those who believe in our program and do what they can to support it.
One method of provision for Crystal Peaks is our long-term volunteer program, ranging from two to eight months. Working with our volunteers for an extended time gives us the opportunity to know their hearts. How they respond to others during times of physical and emotional stress is of particular significance. When the need arises to hire someone new, we look first to this group of volunteers.
Laurie Sacher came to our ranch through the volunteer program and is now a member of our staff. Her desire to give, to make a difference here in this place, compelled her to travel north from her home in the foothills of northern California. Equipped with a minimal knowledge of horses and a wish to work with kids, Laurie came to Crystal Peaks with a heart eager to serve.
This book tells the story of Laurie and a dog, with some unlikely rescues along the way. I hope you enjoy the journey, my friend.