Coleman, Friend to the Greyhounds
The decision to give Louise Coleman this award for her work on
behalf of greyhounds was made because the Peace Abbey staff has
grown more inclined to recognize animal welfare work. They became
more interested in animal welfare when they took in Emily the Cow.
Emily had jumped the slaughter house fence in Hopkinton, and wandered
like Christ in the Wilderness for forty days and forty nights, and
was found by the Peace Abbey staff and brought to safety in the
Abbey on Christmas Eve. Emily now has a poster of Gandhi in her
As we and other guests drove up to the Abbey Complex, we saw their
sign, "Strawberry Fields." Soon guests and greyhounds
arrived at the door of the main building, and were greeted by Lewis
Randa, the Director of the Peace Abbey, and by the children and
teachers of The Life Experience School for children with disabilities,
which is an important part of the work of the Abbey. The happy children
swarmed around us, helped us remove and hang our coats, and lead
us through the building on a little tour. When I saw the interior,
I said to myself, "An artist has been at work here arranging
everything": the heavy furniture and paneling are offset by
magnificent antiques such as the grandfather clock and globe which
adorn the classroom.
Lewis suggested that we begin the morning with the children. After
they were seated around their long refectory table with sun streaming
in the casement windows, we gathered behind them to observe their
usual morning ceremony which began with a ritual of dipping their
hands into a dish of water and drying them, which represents selfless
giving. The children then recited some of the names of people who
have contributed to peace, justice and love. They placed their right
hands over their hearts and prayed for the world, bringing tears
to many eyes.
We next moved into what seemed to be a combination chapel/library,
the focal point of which was a roaring fire in a gigantic fireplace,
to prepare for the ceremony. Louise was so well-dressed we scarcely
recognized her, and someone joked, "Is that Louise Coleman's
younger sister?" She wore a designer pink blazer and black
pants (from The Bargain Box, Southborough's thrift shop) and black
pumps from Filene's. As a thrift shop specialist, I can say I have
never seen a better buy.
Jill Hopfenbeck, D.V.M., a member of the Board of Greyhound Friends,
gave a moving talk about the plight of the greyhound and the efforts
by Greyhound Friends to save these dogs. The elegant prize in the
shape of a dove was awarded, and all parties present were invited
to a reception. I felt a rush when I saw the sumptuous vegetarian
luncheon laid out before us and the high quality of the champagne.
Everyone expressed fear that Louise would take the lovely breakable
award home where it would soon be knocked over by a dog, but she
promised to guard it carefully.
Driving home with the Reverend Cynthia Morse and her greyhound,
Hudson, with Hudson's head on my lap, I reflected on the morning.
Years ago, I used to listen to Alan Watts on the radio, and I remember
that he once said that every creature believes it is at the center
of the world, which caused me to think at the time, "Some of
the worlds aren't so great." I looked down at Hudson so snug
and happy now that he has traded in one life for another. That is
what Louise has been doing all along, I thought, helping dogs to
change worlds. And that is why the award was so richly deserved.