Bonnie Chandler: Advocate for Lifestyles Embracing Human - Animal Interactions
Bonnie Chandler always wanted to be a farmer. It seemed an unlikely ambition in a New York suburb and later in a Houston suburb, where she begged her parents for dogs and horses but had to settle for hamsters and books on animals. Her parents finally relented in her teens with a miniature poodle, leading to training classes, dog shows, obedience trials, and breeding. She studied English and music in college and education in graduate school, did administrative work in Boston for a few years in publishing and academia, but the animals were always there – illegal gerbils hidden in the dorm, a poodle well known at MIT for taking the elevator back up to Bonnie’s office by herself.
When Bonnie found herself at home taking care of her two children, she plunged into animal activities – dog clubs, rescue, rabbit breeding, riding lessons, and, eventually, a tiny farm. She and her husband now live in semi-rural central Massachusetts with two Shetland sheepdogs, dairy goats and other farm animals. After years of editing club newsletters, Bonnie moved into community journalism as a reporter and associate editor for a local paper. She now free-lances in community journalism while the farm and animal issues take more and more of her time.
“Our society encourages us to think of animals as a minor sideline to human lives, but the longer I live, the more I realize how important they are. I believe that the purpose of pets is to show us how to live. In fact, all kinds of animals are always trying to teach us, if we will only learn to listen.”