Peaceful sounds of hay munching, the swish of a tail, a quiet exhale - these sounds are the music here.
Five years ago we began this journey to create a sanctuary for animals as part of our community. We have experienced much joy, our share of heartbreak, and deep satisfaction. There is a tremendous amount of work that had to happen to make this possible, and there is still so much work to come. We cherish the lives saved, and honor the lives where we tried our best.
As morning hay is fed out, I can watch Ripley, our Chincoteague pony-cross, slowly mature as he grows up with his young equine companions. There is a lot of satisfaction in watching elderly Pony (at 33) feeling playfully younger than her years on a warm autumn day. Star Donkey finally has a donkey companion with Adele Donkey coming here last year. Donkeys not only have a different spoken language than horses, they also have a different body language.
Bob Crockett is one of thousands of Holstein males discarded, they are just like him, but to us he is unique, sweet, and funny. I am forever grateful we were able to cure his “lumpy jaw” actinomyces infection that he battled for two months starting from his first week of life. Now he is tall, affectionate and playful at almost three years of age. Like Elliot Steer, he is fond of tucking a big beachball under his belly for keep-away.
From a distance, I can recognize the surprisingly loud quacking call of tiny East Indie Bantam duck Cole. We can remember his arrival! We were told he was a duckling wandering unclaimed in a neighborhood, yet on arrival, his adult feathers told a different story. Now he lives with his best buddy Thor, a Rouen duck drake who was a mail order fertile egg just a few short weeks before. Thor was surrendered here when he was about three weeks old, and he was the exact same size as Cole - now he towers over Cole, but best friends don’t care about that.
While looking out my kitchen window, I can make a cup of morning tea and also watch Leona, Osa, Danny Boy, Penny Blossom and Amelia pigs rise up and walk around their paddock to check out the possibilities of yesterday’s lunch leftovers. Those noses are very strong for rooting around, and they have a fantastic sense of smell so much better than ours. Penny Blossom is the oldest at 6 and a half, with Amelia the youngest at half that.
We inevitably suffer the losses of animals who pass away here, but we can find that sadness balanced with the knowledge that they were able to live a well loved life here no matter how long or short that may have been. I miss each one.
The joy of sanctuary is that they come here for the rest of their lives, protected, well cared for, cherished. You, who have joined us - donors, supporters, volunteers, and staff - you truly make the joy of sanctuary possible for the rescues.
Five years - we are just getting started!