One saying tells us “It takes a village” to do some things, like raise a child. I would add to that: this is vital as well to the world of rescue and to prosocial education (earth justice, social justice, animal justice). Let’s look at this a bit more.
We started the Sanctuary and as part of this we built a volunteer program. Two of our volunteers joined us as staff last year. One of these volunteers knows a person who was frantic about finding a safe home for a 17 year old dog. That person’s uncle (who adopted the dog after his mother passed away a decade ago) passed away after 10 years with the dog, but no one else in the family is able to adopt the dog. Although we are a farmed animal sanctuary, we have nurtured a personal network of folks in the rescue world. I then reach out to my companion animal friends, and one has a possible foster name and also the name of Vintage Pet Rescue in Rhode Island. Blessedly, the family and the RI rescue are able to make a foster and rescue situation happen in the tight time frame needed. It took everyone caring and helping to aid this lively elderly dog. Win, Win!
In the past few years, we have been able to help rescue cows, pigs, hens, and so many more, by networking with the east coast sanctuaries. KY, NC, MD, PA, CT, NY, NH, VT, ME… If we could not work together, these lives would not have been saved - there would not have been a space locally for them. Era at Merrymac Animal Sanctuary might be able to take one species but not another - she has equine experience, but another sanctuary might not. Jenifer at Tomten Farm and Sanctuary might have a lead for a safe space for a pig or horse. Gretchen at Off the Plate Farm Animal Sanctuary might know someone who can take in a cow. Erika at Kinder Way Animal Sanctuary might have room for a goat or a pig, if the timing is right. I can reach out to Jen at Dorset Equine Rescue for a pregnant Thoroughbred and she leads me to other horse rescues in NY that sets the horse down the path of foster and rescue. Lori at Apache Way Farm Rescue can help with a horse foster when she has room. Oscar, Lynn or Britt at JP Farm Sanctuary might have a lead for where a pig or cow could find a safe haven. When you start to look at the east coast for a rescue network - well you have to network the transportation too!
Here in Massachusetts, I connect constantly to local sanctuaries in hopes that one of us has room for a possible surrendered animal. (Roosters are a big issue right now because we are all maxed out on rooster space). I might reach out to Patrick at Cloas Ark Animal Sanctuary in Hadley MA and he might tell me of space for a goat or pig or a duck at another sanctuary founder he has spoken to recently, such as Robin at Whip City Animal Sanctuary in Westfield MA. Or I might have a request from someone to help with a special needs goat and Deborah at Don’t Forget Us, Pet Us in Dartmouth, MA might get a message from me hoping she can help with her expertise or take in the goat. As busy as she is, she steps up to help that goat.
Animal Rescue League of Dedham (ARL) might message me they found a guinea fowl in Boston (very odd, yes) and we accept this bird to help out. Then my friend at ARL might help me with suggestions on how to help another surrender call I receive, or say that they have room for a rooster
Heidi at Smokey Chestnut Farm Rescue in Norton MA might message me about a horse or another species and we brainstorm together to find a solution. We fundraise together to make a safe landing possible for a rescue at risk. Recently we had a call about two 30 year old horses in need, from an owner who died unexpectedly. With networking, and a tremendous commitment of extra time, a safe home was found.
Bethany at Poore Farm Sanctuary in Newbury MA will tell me she cannot take in a goat right then, but CAN take in 2-3 sheep. And not surprisingly, I just got a call for two rescued lambs that need a home. So Bethany gets that call sent to her!
I might get a call for a surrender…cockatoo! Patrick at Cloas did not have room but sent me to Foster Parrots of Rhode Island. We actually receive calls all the time to accept dogs, cats, cockatiels, parakeets, guinea pigs, rats, turtles, frogs, rabbits and more. We sometimes have these little ones here temporarily just to help, but we have to conserve our staffing time to the many permanent rescues at the Sanctuary.
YOU can help too. People can become volunteers at local sanctuaries and rescues. Maybe your place of work has a day of service program, or you could suggest one. Become a donor, no matter the size of the donation - you have an impact. Perhaps your Scout troop or your child's school would benefit from a humane education program like ours. Maybe you can transport a small rescue for an hour drive for more? Or you can share the word among friends or on social media when an animal needs to find a new home.
There are countless additional examples, but the message is clear, we are stronger and have more impact together than we are apart. Working together is meaningful and I would not have that any other way. It takes a village to network.
(Photo: Liberty Mutual Employee Day of Community Service)