On Friday, Tim, Louis and I headed up to NY for the weekend. I spent my time at the Farm Sanctuary’s Animal Care Conference while he spent time with his family in Rochester. The weekend began with introductions followed by a lecture on shelter administration such as setting up a 501c3, board by-laws, and articles of incorporation – all goodies we’ve done for Tranquil Space Foundation – and fundraising. I was happy to see that we had an art therapist and social worker in the mix. Both were hoping to incorporate animal rights and efforts into their work. LOVE seeing the synergy of various disciplines and passions coming together so perfectly.
Next was a yummy vegan lunch followed by hands on chicken, pig (my favorite!!!!), turkey, and rabbit care. We learned all about handling, trimming hooves and tusks, feeding, and care of these beautiful creatures. There was a piglet named Sebastian who had fallen off a transport truck and made his way to the sanctuary via a neighbor. Such a beaut and I kept sneaking off to spend more time with him. It was a treat to see Bob again (he’s the pink one I’m smiling with above) as I’d met him last year as a tiny piglet. Headed back to Rochester with a big smile and happy heart.
Sunday’s journey to the Farm Sanctuary included a puggle puppy rescue. The sweet pup was running around the highway so I scooped him up, received many kisses, and returned him to his home. After a couple tries, I found his home complete with family playing the accordian on the porch. On to the conference I went to learn more about sanctuary operations and education programming such as tours, events, adopt an animal program, and intern/volunteer programming. The speaker noted that the Farm Sanctuary exists to educate the public through their visitor program and take in animals that tell a story. They currently serve 500 animals, have a staff of 75, and a 6 million dollar annual budget! This is their 25th year anniversary and the work they are doing is most impressive and truly heart-warming.
After a Q+A and vegan lunch we headed out to pasture to mingle with the cattle, sheep, goat, ducks and geese. Note the large cow Travolta – we sponsored him in 2008 and met him during a visit that year. Again, I snuck away during duck care to hang out with Sebastian. The conference ended with many goodbyes and lots of knowledge. Again, I drove home with a smile on my face, a new I heart Farm Sanctuary tee, “veg for life” recycled metal necklace, heaps of ideas for Pigs Animal Sanctuary, and an enormous amount of respect for the work of those running a sanctuary.
The conference was insightful on so many levels. Of course it reinforced my life-long passion for animals, extreme sadness over our current factory farming dilemma,and desire to do all I can to make a dent in the situation. In addition, I came away with great ideas for Pigs and even Tranquil Space Foundation. Spending time with like-minded men and women who are equally passionate about animals was the perfect way to spend my holiday weekend. Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu.