Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sanctuary vs rescue

We have been pondering the 'sanctuary vs rescue' this weekend as we work with our new sheep who came in through a recent rescue. We have decided we need to be sure and tell a lot more of our 'story' and the creatures who inhabit our family and farm. We often use the word rescue and we do truly have rescues come into this farm--some horrible to think or and others we will talk about later that fit more into the sanctuary realm.

Kelly is probably the oldest sheep in our flock, and she was definitely abused (to the point of broken bones that healed incorrectly many years ago in her hip. She came in with our OohMahNee sheep from PA and is a very shy, sweet girl who has grown to trust us as far as she can and her favorite place to live is in the 'nursery' with our bottle lambs as they come in. We have not seen many lately so she has a new room mate now with our latest true rescue. She loves her babies but thinks this newest one is very large and she doesn't really 'get it'--kind of looks at us like hey, what the heck??? She is a sweet sweet girl and they are good friends in only the two days they have spent together.

On that note, we have indeed seen cases of creatures in dire need of rescue and that need can range from outright neglect to a 'benign neglect' which as the economy changes we are seeing more and more. Benign neglect is generally a case where the owner very much cares for their animals and loves them, but circumstances like changes in the family or financial dynamics of their families makes a 'rescue' situation' (generally in large numbers) very necessary--many people in this situation try to keep a grasp on animals that have been in their family for years, often not agreeing to relinquish them and being forced to through other measures. I am in no WAY excusing neglect, but I want to be sure you know it is not always a mean, awful person behind that door.

This was the situation of the most recent rescue Jenny and John were involved in--that we helped gather up the llamas from. I won't go into specifics but the gentleman that relinquished the animals was devastated. His flock had gotten away from him and been breeding unsupervised or controlled so it started out with a low number of animals and blossomed over a very short period of time to a HUGE number of horses, goats, donkeys and llamas. It can happen so quickly when things change or people grow older. Again, not excusing, trying to explain the vast differences of what we deal with here. This would be one type of angle we work through.

On the other hand, what we also see more than anything is the need for people to find safe havens for their much loved creatures--who have often been part of their family or flock for a long time, that the owners want to place somewhere to live out the rest of their lives in peace. We also PURCHASE sheep that we adore--like Abigail( pictured) who is an older girl from the infamous McNair Romney flock. She tended to have twins and had issues that forced one to become a bottle lamb. The loved Abigail and wanted her to come here to retire--and she was pregnant so the outcome was THREE lovely sheep for our happy family when she had twins here with us.

Emma is another example of a need that is also part of the sanctuary aspect--she belonged to a person nearby who had a devastating medical diagnosis and was unable to care for her sheep. She sold her small flock to a freind but Emma was her favorite sheep so she asked if Emma could retire with us. It gave her peace of mind to know Emma would not be bred again (she was older and had lambing issues) and would be able to have a lifetime of peace and LOTS of grass to eat!

While we have our share of sad stories here, many of our critter family often just need a place to rest and have peace and fun the rest of their lives. We are lucky to have them, missing limbs and all. You can read much more about our sheep and how they arrived here on our meet the sheep pages on our site.

All this said (and I know, I am being wordy and writing a novella) I hope that if you know someone who has a life change involving their family of children OR critters, you will encourage them to ask for help--we truly understand that today's economy is a challenge in the worse sense of the word--how do you choose between feeding your family or your critters? I would NEVER want to make that choice and would be heartbroken to do so. Our vet and the humane officers think horses will be the most affected by this economy, mainly through benign neglect and a herd getting away from them through vet bills needed to keep them healthy. Please please keep places like ours in mind but remember too that we are a sanctuary on the fringes of rescue--helping where ever we are needed and giving our 'babies' a safe, happy place to live with us--spoiled and as our shearer keeps saying-- chubby.

This link will take you to a very fun, well written article about our Jenny--complete with some very fun pictures--be sure tovisit to get a take on 'rescue' and llamas from our Jenny!! Compassion for neglect is not what we want to encourage here, just some understanding of the varied issues involved in a rescue/sanctuary situation--they are all different just like each sheep is so different. Thank you for reading my rant--should be good for a while now!!! Any questions, please let us know--always happy to chat with you about our sheep!! Sandy Ryan

No comments: