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 A News Cafe in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke. Chamberlain holds a Bachelor's Degree in journalism from CSU, Chico. She's 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's been featured and quoted in The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, The Washington Post, L.A. Times, Slate, Bloomberg News and on CNN, KQED and KPFA. She lives in Redding, California.

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