I talk a lot about cruelty-free living and dog/pet rescue shelters (hi Nymeria!), but where do other animals go to be safe?
On Sunday, I signed up to volunteer at an Animal Sanctuary for the first time ever. I found Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary on the Frederick Veg meet-up website. It seemed to have a really special community, I wanted to check it out, I wanted to explore. There was a "meet-up" for Poplar Spring and I had no clue what to expect. Since I live in an urban area, I knew it would take at least an hour to get out toward the warm and captivating country-side -- I also reminded myself that I like fresh air and love animals. So, what else?
I won't sugar coat this for you-- I picked up A LOT of shit. Goat shit. Sheep shit. Pig shit. Cow shit. Bird shit. You name it, I probably picked it up. Here is the kicker though, I barely smelled it and didn't mind it! I was too busy getting loved on by all of the animals to even care.
I wanted to pick up that shit.
I wanted to move hay and straw around and fill their water bowls.
I wanted to pet them and love on them right back.
The other volunteers and I got to listen to amazing rescue stories about these once abused and tortured creatures. We got to engage with them and appreciate them as their own beings. These beings were finally safe, and I was there only to witness and appreciate them.
Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary is wonderful. There really is no better word. They have 400-acres of refuge for farm animals and wildlife to enjoy. They provide rehabilitation and care for the neglected and abused goats, sheep, pigs, cows, horses, peacocks, turkeys, roosters, chickens, bunnies, & so on.
All of the animals on their land now have a permanent, safe residence.
They have stories and names.
Here are a few friends I have had the pleasure of getting to know:
This is Irwin. He was just a young, wooly pig when he got rescued from a place that was raising him for meat. His mother had rejected him since he was the little guy of the litter. Someone visiting the place that had been "raising" him asked if they could take him to Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary since he had to be bottle fed-- Saving Irwin's life, the community agreed. Now, he is getting big and is satisfied with his belly rubs.
Malcolm was the first to greet us when we arrived to the Sanctuary. He insisted on nose pets and wanted us to hang out longer before we headed over to the sheep barn. He was found wandering on a highway in very bad health. He has now received the attention and care that he needs -- And he gives that attention and care right back to everyone!
Hi Evie!! This girl was way too fast for me to snap a picture, and when I was with her, she was put in time-out so I didn't capture her on my camera (this picture is from Poplar's Website, click to check out more!). Evie is a three-legged Nigerian Dwarf goat. She had a fractured leg that couldn't be prepared, and though her original owner's wanted to shoot her, her spirit has not been broken. She is LOVED at the Sanctuary. She is incredibly fast, and sometimes gets in "trouble." Evie is a confident girl who jumps on tables and makes herself comfortable just about anywhere.
I admire her strength and will. Truly.
Perry is quite the flirt. He likes to flaunt what he's got to everyone. Unfortunately, some of his other turkey gal-pals (hi Tallulah!) have been debeaked at an organic turkey "meat" farm, but they are all in a safe place now.
More on Perry:
"Perry is a black domestic turkey who was abandoned in a crate in the middle of the Sanctuary driveway on the evening before Thanksgiving in 2012. There was no note or any indication of where Perry came from, but he was young, probably only about 4 months old, which is the age that turkeys are slaughtered for meat. We took him in and right away he was very sweet, though a little scared of people. He is now a happy and healthy adult turkey who loves to strut around the yard showing off for all the female turkeys. Perry loves grapes, corn and watermelon."
I don't know your story yet, little guy -- but I plan on learning!
Any questions-- check out their site, leave me a comment, or visit/volunteer at a sanctuary near you.
Don't pathetically roll around in bed until you decide what to do.... you are better than that.... And they are worth the wake up call. Make the trip!