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Happy Tails

Joyce Fay

The perfect habitat


THE NIGHT BEFORE I began my first drive west from New York, I had a simple dream. No plot or words, just visuals. I saw myself at a canyon. I walked in and up the other side. I came to a corral with horses. That’s all. And yet I recognized it as a significant dream, and still remember it clearly.

    I did not know then about Tsegi, Arizona, or Corrales, but I recognized them once I saw them. Tsegi in Navajo means “in the rocks” and refers to a specific type of canyon, the kind I saw in the dream. The first place I lived in the West was Tsegi. It’s where I met my late husband, Ed, and from there we moved to Corrales.
    In 1985 we got a couple of acres at the top of a hill near the end of a dirt road. Most of the time it was quiet enough to enjoy the sound of the meadowlarks. The hills to the west were wide open for riding, and my dogs Bro and Tracy always ran along. I loved being on a hilltop for sunrise, and greeting the burrowing owls in the arroyos. Living with animals in the country between two very different cities—Albuquerque and Santa Fe—was the perfect setup.
    But life is change, both in our personal lives and our environment. There is loss and there is gain. We have to appreciate all that we had and still have.
    The yellow machines came and turned the hills into terraces, where many houses were built. But I still have a place for my animals and can at least ride in my yard. I still have a corral with three horses.
    A couple of nights ago, I attended a lovely party hosted by a longtime friend and attended by other Corrales ladies, some of whom I’ve known for a long time and others I met for the first time; some who have been here longer than me, and some who just arrived—all intelligent, interesting—and it got me thinking.
    It seems that I just keep meeting more and more people I’m happy to know. I am amazed there are so many. Admittedly, I gravitate to those who share my love of animals, mostly ladies. Our community is also enriched by those whose special interests are the arts and history of our area. Wow! How many people can say this about their communities? As I look at all the good things we have in Corrales, the people are number one.
    I think seeing ourselves as an animal-friendly village has a lot to do with why it’s a good place for people. We have great animal control officers, always helpful. We have five rescue groups based in the village. We have a rec center with a riding arena, swimming pool, the bosque, local produce ... the list goes on. I saw a TV program about the geography of health that made me appreciate something else we have— access to healthy food and opportunities for exercise, such as being able to safely leave your house and go for a walk.
    I still wonder about that dream. I don’t know how I could have dreamed the very images of the places where I was about to go live, but I think it was right. However I landed here, I’m glad I did.

Photographer Joyce Fay founded Bro & Tracy Animal Welfare in 2000, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping animals find the right homes. The purpose of this column is to share some of those stories.