’Tis the season to shovel sh*t!
Volunteering at a farm animal sanctuary had been on my “to do” list for a couple of years. This Fall, I finally got my sh*t, I mean act, together and submitted an application to Heartland Farm Sanctuary, in Verona, Wisconsin, where I now help out 3 hours a week.
Who knew that cleaning up chicken, pig, sheep and goat excrement was so much fun?! I am not even kidding. And this is saying a lot, because I HATE winter and being cold.
The second my colorful rubber boots hit the dirt at Heartland, I feel my blood pressure lower. The fragrant, farm-y air and beautiful landscape are so peaceful and I adore seeing the residents simply doing what they naturally do – a privilege the vast majority of farmed animals never know. Listening to the snorts, clucks, squawks, and baaahs, I experience an almost guilty pleasure, as if I’m eavesdropping on private animal conversations! I’m like a fly on the wall in the barn.
Free to Be
Most striking to me is seeing the personalities of these animals. They truly are individuals like our dogs and cats that we consider family members. From Day 1, I observed everything from sweetness to indifference to crankiness; I witnessed food and friend preferences; and I learned about some of the horrific places and experiences that these loving beings endured before finding their way to safety. It is amazing to me that animals who have come from such abusive pasts can find it in their hearts to ever trust humans again.
Not for the Weak
Operating animal sanctuaries is not inexpensive, nor is it easy (mentally or physically)! Most sanctuary residents were brought into this world to be used in one way or another. Some were meant to be eaten, while others were used for their bodily secretions or their skins, fur or wool. There are the abandoned, the neglected, and those tortured in experiments and laboratories. There are also the no longer cute or convenient to have around victims. These include post-Easter bunnies and chicks from classroom projects. Regardless of their plight, I believe these animals deserve – and are entitled – to live the rest of their lives in peace.
Companions Not Commodities
As more people learn about what really goes on in animal agriculture, and as the demand for animal products declines, there will be an even greater need for places of refuge for these loving beings. For these reasons, 10% percent of all Dirty Snouts sales are donated to these non profit sanctuaries.
Pretty please visit a sanctuary in your area! You might be thinking that there probably aren’t any near you because you haven’t even heard of a farm or animal sanctuary until recently! However, you’ll likely be surprised at what you find if you do a quick online search. Right now, any Dirty Snouts purchase you make will go toward helping my animal buds at Heartland Farm Sanctuary. For a link to sanctuaries in the U.S., check out my Animal Friends page.