To work at a farm animal sanctuary, everyone has to master a lot of very diverse skills. Volunteers, staff, managers all have to do so. Some are physical, mental, or even emotional.
I might not be able to lift heavy grain bags and hay bales all day long - but I can use strategies like hand trucks, wagons or mechanized tools such as a golf cart, a Gator or a tractor to make the work possible. We need to learn what a healthy animal looks like, when someone is not feeling well, how to care for them and feed them properly. What are their social dynamics? Friendships (who gets along with who) do really matter. Sometimes we have to master the skill of letting go, when a resident is at the end of their life - that is a very hard job.
If one of us spots a water trough or bucket running low on water - we don’t just walk by and think to ourselves “It’s not my job”, and walk away from that animal. At the very least, we embrace our responsibility to find someone who can take care of the problem of getting water to that animal, even if we cannot do the task ourselves right at that moment.
Expanding on that concept, we don’t say “It’s not my job” when it comes to helping animals that we don’t have room for at the moment. We will try to network and find another safe home for an animal when a person reaches out to us for help. It is our job to try. We cannot always succeed (there are never enough places for roosters) but that animal is counting on us to make the effort.
I am so thankful for the staff at the Sanctuary and for their dedication to the lives of the animals here. Sometimes, a horse is basically a 1000 pound toddler who cannot understand that the bandage you are applying to them is for their own well-being, but even if the horse is uncooperative, the staff still works to get the bandage on. Because they care deeply, and never say “It’s not my job.”
Our volunteers give of their time and energy to the animals and truly we could not be Unity Farm Sanctuary without them. Volunteers learn to do many tasks here, and are encouraged right at the very beginning to observe the animals here to let us know when something needs to happen or an animal needs help. This way - it becomes everyone’s job to insure the rescue’s well-being.
All of us - it is our job - to work toward improving our lives, to help others, to become more compassionate, mindful, and caring. Everyone literally has it within their power to make the lives of farm animals better. There is so much need in the world for more people to care about others, to try harder, to make things their job, to do better. We are all really counting on you - that’s our job too.
(Photo is of emergency intake "James" in the Healing Haven Barn)