Bella Vista Farms: 600 Lovable Adoptees


As promised,  I hatched a plan to help Bella Vista Farms and the hardworking care-taking couple, 60-year-old Chic Miller, and her husband, 70-year-old Bob Miller.

You read about Chic’s Red Cross Heroes Award. And the presentation of readers’ donations to the Millers, who lovingly tend to more than 600 rescued, injured, abused and abandoned animals on their Cottonwood property here in Northern California.

The variety of animals is astounding: rabbits, llamas, goats, ponies, cows, steer, peacocks, parrots, horses, pigs, ducks, chickens, roosters, donkeys, kittens, puppies, pigeons and many, many, many dogs and cats. And some reptiles. And other animals I’ve forgotten.

But Chic never forgets. She knows every animal. By name.

As you might imagine, 600 animals consume a stunning quantity of food each day.

For example: more than 10 pounds of cat food, more than 20 pounds of dog food, more than three pounds of peanut butter (parrots love pb&j sandwiches), 12 bales of hay and untold amounts of milk, produce, grains and seeds.

Every day. That costs a lot of money. But that doesn’t count money the Millers spend on medical supplies, blankets and pillows for the ill and geriatric animals.

(Important note: The Millers are busy beyond belief, so please pass along this message to others: Bella Vista Farms can’t accommodate drop-in visitors. However, we have planned an opportunity for people to visit the farm next year. See below for more.)

Many of you so kindly asked for a way to help the Millers with a one-time contribution, so Kelly posted a link on her site that allows people to donate to Bella Vista Farms, where 100 percent of the money goes to the animals’ care. (Directions: Go to Kelly’s Pink Hollyhock blog and look in the right margin for the Donate button. Click it. I tried it. It’s really simple.)

Yet other generous readers wanted to give on an ongoing, monthly basis, to ensure the Millers receive consistent help. Your wish is our command. Behold: The Bella Vista Farms Virtual Adoption.

You send money for the care of “your” pet. The Millers do all the work.  Such a deal.

Yes, more than one person can adopt the same animal(s). In fact, we encourage friends, classrooms, businesses, even entire families to adopt the same animal.

What a wonderful holiday gift for that hard-to-buy-for relative. You might adopt Lulu the pig for a favorite aunt, Banner the goat for a special uncle, and Cody the steer for someone who’s a big  — part of your life.

The more pledges and adoptions, the more help and resources for the Millers, and the more care and supplies for the animals.

Gosh, if enough people adopt enough Bella Vista Farms animals, maybe the Millers could eventually hire a farm hand to help with the heaviest work, like unloading tons of hay, and shoveling, and even such time-consuming luxuries as animal grooming.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, as usual. Here’s the plan:

1. Choose an animal, and if you’d like, leave a comment to proudly share your newly “adopted” pet’s name. (Of course, the amount you donate will remain private, unless you say otherwise.)

2. Write a reminder on each month of your calendar to send money for your adopted pet’s care.

3. Send your monthly donation directly to the Millers at their address: 4301 Lower Gas Point Road, Cottonwood, CA 96022.

In the meantime, meet just a few of the much-loved creatures. Warning: Hold onto your hearts.

(Click anywhere below to enlarge the view.)


Doni Chamberlain
Independent online journalist Doni Chamberlain founded what’s now known as in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Chamberlain is an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, California.
Comment Policy: We welcome your comments, with some caveats: Please keep your comments positive and civilized. If your comment is critical, please make it constructive. If your comment is rude, we will delete it. If you are constantly negative or a general pest, troll, or hater, we will ban you from the site forever. The definition of terms is left solely up to us. Comments are disabled on articles older than 90 days. Thank you. Carry on.

13 Responses

  1. Avatar Laurie C says:

    For years the Millers have truly been angels of mercy; I am glad to see they are getting help through your website. No one could be more deserving.

  2. Doni Greenberg Doni Greenberg says:

    See Skip – the sweetly smiling dog with his paws on the gate? Bruce and I are proud to be first in line to adopt Skip with our monthly donation to Bella Vista Farm.

    (Yes, it WAS a tough choice. I love all the animals. Digger the dog has such soulful eyes. Trinket the llama is such a crack-up. Lucy the goose and Lulu the pig appealed to me, too … and Boss the hog, the way he guards his little goats … and Swirl the cat looks so dignified … and Banner the goat is so playful … somebody stop me …)

  3. Avatar Joanne Snyder says:

    How does someone adobt an animal from Bella Vista Farms? I am happy to contribute money, but I also think that Chic would also like to find good homes for some of her "guests."

  4. Avatar Menzrob says:

    I'm afraid we did stop by today (we were not aware of Kelly's and Doni's current efforts on the farm's behalf and just wanted to drop off a little gift) and couldn't have been more impressed! Aside from all the wonderful, healthy, animals and Chic's graciousness, we were in awe of how extremely clean the farm was. You can see it in Bruce's pictures. Look at the backgrounds and around the animals. It's like that when nobody's taking pictures. How two people manage it, I don't know! But, they do, and obviously love it. More power to them! So pleased to see they're getting some well deserved support.

  5. Doni Greenberg Doni Greenberg says:

    Hey Joanne, this "adoption" we're talking about is virtual only. (Directions above on how to help.) Once Chic accepts an animal onto the farm, she cares for it for life. She doesn't put animals up for adoption or give them away.

  6. Avatar pmarshall says:

    gosh,I think Chic should allow adoption of those animals. There will be a complete "overload" if she keeps adding them. But more power to her. I will keep them in mind for a donation soon.

  7. Avatar Vickie Dederian says:

    To Whom It May Concern:

    Hi. My friend Nancy Dahlen was diagonsed with cancer about a month ago. Last week she received from very bleak news, that she may only have 4-6 weeks to live. She has cancer of the pancreas and it has spread to her liver, kidneys, spleen and now is in her bones. She starts with the Hospice program tomorrow.

    Nancy has two horses that she dearly loves. She needs to find a good loving home for the horses as soon as possible, as she is becoming increasingly weaker and will soon no longer be able to care for them. We don't have time to try to sell them and have no idea where to start.

    I was wondering if you knew if Bella Vista Farms were accepting any more horses. Her children are either unwilling or unable to deal with this, so her friends have stepped up to try to help her plight.

    If you could offer any suggestions, we would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you, Vickie Dederian

  8. Avatar Gretchen Koch says:

    Thank God for the Millers. Recently some (unspeakable word) left a young, blind English Setter in my neighborhood. After a neighbor and I got him neutered, vaccinated and eyes checked the Miller's took him in. It would have been a death sentence if they had not for no one will adopt a large blind dog (though very sweet and mellow).

    As part of Redding Newcomers I was allowed to request donations for Bella Vista Farms and members donated over $900.00. I am so happy to see the continued efforts on behalf of these wonderful people.

    They are currently in need of a regular supply of bread. In the near future I will be trying to contact area grocers, see if I can get a weekly supply of any "leftovers". I understand that homeless shelters need help too but these abused creatures have no voice and need help too. I just learned of the wine tasting today and it is too late for me to go but I hope it is successful. My only concern is that people will drop off their unwanted pets at the Miller's home leaving them to deal with what needs to be done.

    If you have a group that is doing fundraising for the Millers I would like to participate. I would like to get them some permanent help and I see that you are trying to do that too.

    Since they are not non-profit it becomes difficult to get help from places like Walmart. Recently I observed Walmart getting rid of at least 1,000 pounds of potatos and probably 300 pounds of apples. When I inquired how I could salvage this for Bella Vista Farms the most important thing seemed to be that they are non-profit. A member of newcomers suggested that we pair with Haven Humane and see if we could share in their "leftovers". Currently all of this is being shipped to Concord. I am just appalled that there is such great need here and a store many of us shop in is sending it's "stuff" out of the area. I think I need to work with someone who has had experience in salvaging.

  9. Avatar Stuart Heitschmidt says:

    Did you get a giant orange "over-weight" tabby about a few weeks ago? One feature of this cat is a "big bottom" – may be somewhat aggressive but has not fighting experience – mostly somewhat of an in-door cat. If you have this cat I would gladly donate. Thank You and Sincerely,

    Stu & Pat Heitschmidt

    • Avatar Pat Heitschmidt says:

      Darling Stu,

      I just found your plea for if anyone had found Butterball.

      I am so sorry that our giant "baby" was lost!

      I would have liked to have checked into a cat rehab for aggressive felines but he was gone before I even had to chance to do research.

      I love you very much, my Beloved.

      Together we'll mourn the losses of Butterball, Lucky, Tiger & Coco,


      With all my Love,


  10. Avatar Stuart Heitschmidt says:

    i am looking for my cat Butterball – heavy at 18 lbs, orange tabby; what stand outs in this unusual cat is sadly he has "big bottom" troubles. I want to either donate for his care, or bring him back home if I can find him. He can be "'aggressive" but he being mostly indoor, he does not know how to fight so instead he strikes back in terror; the bottom line is that this cat is sweet and I brought him up for over 2 years with loving nurturing. Thank You for any help.


    Stu (and Pat) Heitsschmidt

  11. We also are so thankful for Chic and Bob. She is a saint. We have contributed to them in the past through mail, feed store and driving goods out to their farm. We need to help again since it has been awhile. Also, we know of a family that would like to get rid of a rooster that they have been keeping in a cage for the past couple of years. We are unable to take him because of our other roosters. But we feel so sorry for him living his life in a cage. Is there a possibility we could bring him to Chic with donations of course. Thank you.

    Jeanne Willis 357=3926 or

  12. Avatar Danie says:

    Hello to Chic and Bob

    I was searching online for a sanctuary for a very special canine as he can no longer live in his home. He is 7 and I believe is resource guarding the baby I nanny. He has a back condition but walks and eats and loves to be loved. Because his behavior is unpredictable now the parents cannot have him live at home anymore.

    I have owned a very small In-Home Pet Care business since 2004 and as of last year was no longer able to do the 30-45 min. walks 3 times per day 7 days per week.

    Even though I still do some live-ins (far and few between now), I love animals so very much.

    I returned to nanny work this past year and with the family I work for came the situation with their border collie/boxer who needs a forever home.

    I was researching online to see if there was a place for him when I saw "The Farm of Kisses and Cookies" article in "Enjoy" dated April 2012.

    I would love so very much to come see the farm if at all possible. I won't bring the dog as he is not mine, but I would love to meet the animals and make a donation.

    As a nanny in this particular job I am not making much beyond what it costs me to live (with my 17 year old who has special needs), but I would so much love to come see the animals this weekend (November 2 and 3) if at all possible and make a donation.

    Thank you for your consideration in this matter and I hope I am allowed to come see the animals and make my donation.

    Most appreciatively,

    Danie Marchese