The most difficult part of running a sanctuary is knowing when you have to say no. In one year we’ve gone from having two cats to having 21 animals in our care. In addition to caring for these animals I work full time, my husbands works away half the week and I have a 2 year old – if cloning was a thing I would happily sign up for two copies of myself. Prior to having my daughter and running a sanctuary I used to think I didn’t have time to do things; now that’s pretty dang funny! But I have to make note that without our amazing volunteers (Sarah, Carol, Kirsti, Rick, Karen and Andrea), who do majority of the physical labour at the sanctuary, this wouldn’t be happening without their help. They are all incredibly kind and generous individuals that I am extremely fortunate to have in my life.
At the moment I can honestly say we are at capacity until we have more infrastructure in place. The reality is, that every week I am asked to take new animals and as much as it breaks my heart, I have to say no A LOT! If I said yes to every animal I was asked to take, our animal count would be closer to 100 and I would be running the sanctuary irresponsibly. In order to ensure the safety and health of the animals in our care (and my sanity) I have to take several things into consideration when taking in a new resident.
1. Are the current animals in our care sponsored?
2. Do I have the ability to quarantine them for at least 3 weeks?
3. Once the quarantine period is over do I have adequate space to keep them?
4. Are they fixed?
5. Do they have any special needs and I would I be able to accommodate those?
If I can answer yes to all five of these questions then I will seriously consider taking the animal in.
Just to give you an idea this is what we are planning over the next year as discussed in our AGM tonight:
1. Fundraise for a $11,000 perimeter fence, a $4000 large animal fence and about $2000-$4000 for large animal shelters
2. Determine how our one legged turkey, Gertie, will keep her mobility as she grows
3. Obtain a therapy chair for Henry (Cornish Cross Chicken)
4. Build a special needs coop for Gertie and Henry
5. Integrate Charlie #2 with the pot belly herd – this is going to take some time as he is very nervous around pigs so his integration process is going to be long especially considering we are coming up to the rainy season
6. Train and socialise our new rescue dogs Rocky and Lucky – these two have solid personalities (affectionate and gentle) but they don’t know any commands and they have never been around farm animals before.
7. Apply for charity status.
Some of these may seem daunting, especially number 1, but slow and steady wins the race and we’ll achieve these goals eventually. We just have to keep plugging along!