Cows are curious, sheep have a good memory, and pigs are smarter than dogs are just some of the fun facts kids can learn about in a Lexington woman’s book.
Kalie Schumacher-Smith self-published “Hogs are Smarter than Dogs: & Other Fun Farm Facts” this past spring, a book that teaches kindness and empathy toward farm animals, and all book proceeds go toward creating the Organization for the Protection of Animal Life (OPAL) Farm Sanctuary.
“We underestimate the minds and emotions of animals, and farm animals are definitely intelligent sentient beings that deserve a place to live out their lives in peace,” Schumacher-Smith said in an email. “I plan to make OPAL Farm Sanctuary a safe spot for animals who need rescuing (those who have endured abuse or are having their lives ended simply because they’re ‘retired’ – this happens a lot with horses).”
Schumacher-Smith said she grew up helping on a sheep farm, had alpacas on her family’s farm and has been a vegetarian most of her life. She’s worked in animal shelters, boarding kennels, grooming shops and ran her own pet care business in Oakland County before moving to Lexington in early 2020.
She’s always wanted to open her own rescue, not just for dogs and cats, but for farm animals too.
Whether it’s a cow, pig, sheep, or goat, all are unique creatures with real, complex personalities, and she wanted to highlight that in her book, she said.
“Hogs are Smarter than Dogs: & Other Fun Farm Facts” is available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kindle. Around 50 copies have been purchased via Amazon and it’s been downloaded over 100 times on Kindle, Schumacher-Smith said.
The picture book is geared for children, mainly ages 1 to 7 years old. When reading, children meet cows, pigs, chickens, goats, sheep, donkeys, horses, llamas and alpacas and learn about them through rhymes.
Schumacher-Smith said she’s working on her second children’s book, which lets children know it’s OK to be different and have maybe a little too much energy, and her family just bought a new home with 11 acres in Croswell, where OPAL will be set up.
She said they need to replace a barn, eliminate heavy brush where the future pasture will be and put up fencing. From there, she hopes to establish OPAL as a nonprofit, start rescuing animals, and be operating by next summer.
“OPAL will work together with local farmers and neighbors who can’t care for their animals properly anymore and want to give them a second chance at life, and we will be that place!,” she said.
Book proceeds will help with the organization’s initial efforts and people can also find the book in downtown Lexington at Trendz’s, a store that offers jewelry, clothing, toys and more.
Sandy Antenori, a Croswell resident who opened Trendz’s at 5480 Main St. in June 2020, said she was excited when the author reached out to her and asked if she would be interested in stocking the book.
“I just thought it was the cutest thing,” Antenori said.
She has a sign on her door that says all pets are welcome and she has a heart for animals.
So when she set up the books in her store, she told the author any money the book makes there goes right to the sanctuary.
“I want to be a part of it,” Antenori said.
She has a copy of the book sitting at the register and a donation box that people have been dropping change and dollar bills in.
She said it’s a really good book and a great gift that every mom, dad and grandma should buy for the kids in their lives.
“It is so cute, so precious,” Antenori said. “I think it’s going to be a big hit.”