Photo of me and Raven © 2021 Simone Sutherland-Keller ~ edited in Prisma app by Sasha Hoffman

I’ve always loved the scientific term symbiosis – it fits so well with how I believe the relationships between human and nonhuman animals benefit us both in the best ways emotionally. I grew up with a love for animals and an appreciation for the beauty and peace of the natural world, and the healing of my spirit has always been a result of finding my way back to those things.

This website is a way for me to continue my journey to find peace and healing by sharing the ways my animals have ushered me onto those paths. My grandmother said that life was about learning, and by putting these experiences into words, I’m trying to show how my animals have helped me learn (and continue to help me learn) how to be a better human and how to live a better life by being true to my own spirit. If this helps someone out there along the way, or if it just serves as my way of working through difficulties, then either way it has served its purpose. As Warwick Schiller likes to say: “May you be happy.”

On the Blog Posts page, you’ll find where I’ve begun posting the stories of my rescue animals, Max and Raven. I’m still working on getting those stories caught up to the present, and in the future I will add the stories of the numerous other animals that have taught me so many important life lessons. I hope you enjoy!

Sasha, Max, & Raven

P.S. ~ Raven’s story shares a lot of the “horse training” methods that I used while working with Raven, but I will be clear–this is not a blog about how to train a horse. I am definitely not a horse trainer. If nothing else, this is about how working with Raven made me work on training myself, to do the emotional work and face the things about myself that were hindering me from having peace within my life and my interactions with others, especially my horse. Raven could read my energy and kept telling me when I was right or wrong. I had to choose to take that feedback and practice being better; and only when I trained myself better, she let me know it was the right path, and our interactions improved. Listening to my horse made me listen to myself, but the horse training methods were only tools in the development of that communication. Some were helpful, and some were not, but I used the knowledge that I had at the time and made sure to keep learning until I got it right.