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Only a Day Away 

Fostering Hope and Healing at Tomorrow, Tomorrow Animal Sanctuary in Hudson

click to enlarge PHOTOS BY AUDREY BRAND
  • Photos by Audrey Brand

“They’re orphans in a way,” Michael Bucci explained of the rescued horses on his 149-acre farm, aptly named Tomorrow, Tomorrow. Like the musical Annie, he feels like giving the animals a second chance inspires hope for better days ahead.

Bucci bought the farm in Hudson, NY, after selling his towing business in Westchester 21 years ago. At the time, it was with the hope of “leaving something behind that was better than when I got here. Both with the farm and with my life.”

He’s accomplished that goal in the last two decades by transforming the farm into a sanctuary for rescued animals. With a current occupancy of 20 horses, more than 40 goats, 15 cats, and a few dogs and chickens, most animals are dropped off by private owners and shelters through referrals from local veterinarians.

click to enlarge PHOTOS BY AUDREY BRAND
  • Photos by Audrey Brand
Bucci understandably has a bit of a soft spot for taking in rescues: “You just look into their eyes and how do you say no?” 

But Tomorrow, Tomorrow has become more than a sanctuary for just animals. In recent years, Bucci has welcomed children and young adults with developmental and cognitive disabilities or challenging behaviors as visitors to the farm. In March of this year, several young adults from Ramapo for Children’s SAE program visited the farm each week, where they were able to socialize with the animals and help groom the horses.

The SAE (Staff Assistance Experience) program is a residential program for young adults age 18 to 25, with the goal of attaining independence and a focus on vocational skills. Beginning in 2013, students from the Hudson High School Life Skills class enjoyed visits to the farm as well, where they learned about how to care for large animals, even getting to see the horses and dogs dress up for Halloween.

“They learn how to respect the things around you—things that are bigger than you,” Bucci explained about the enriching experience he aims to give his visitors.

click to enlarge PHOTOS BY AUDREY BRAND
  • Photos by Audrey Brand

Bucci also described witnessing nonverbal kids interacting with horses, getting responses that they wouldn’t with other people: “Their demeanor changes when they get handled in a gentle way. Their eyes get brighter.” (It was obvious that being able to watch both the horses and the children benefit from their interactions was a privilege for him.)

Although Bucci says that he hasn’t regretted his choice to transform his life by opening the sanctuary, he admits that help would be very welcome. At 72 years old, Bucci says maintaining the farm on his own is starting to become overwhelming. He currently has help from five volunteers that feed, brush, and care for the horses, but he needs young people who are willing and able to help with yard work and getting the word out about the farm.

click to enlarge PHOTOS BY AUDREY BRAND
  • Photos by Audrey Brand

In addition to more hands, the farm needs donations. Bucci says that grains and hay, blankets, garden tools, water troughs, and animal shampoo are best. Plus, the barn on the property—which was originally built in the 1760s—is in dire need of repair, and with growing costs to maintain the grounds, he decided to set up a GoFundMe page.

Bucci says his ultimate goal is to find someone with similar values who would be willing to learn about how to one day carry on the mission of Tomorrow, Tomorrow—someone who understands the specific relationship they've built with the animals in their care.

“We don’t train horses here," Bucci says. "They train us."

Tomorrow, Tomorrow Sanctuary is located at 50 Prilipper Road in Hudson, NY 12534.

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