Sanctuary in an Unlikely Place
If you are anything like me, sanctuaries are your favorite places. When we get to spend time with sanctuary residents, we get to see individuals recover from traumas, play with their friends, and live out their lives free of exploitation. After volunteering at a couple of sanctuaries Phil and I decided we would do the same. In our first post, we discussed how we found our house while wrapping holiday gifts, and we really do love our house, and our neighborhood. There is just one thing that sets us apart from the neighborhood. Our residents are not raised for food.
Two doors down from us, the neighbor raises cow friends for their flesh. Many of our neighbors use the eggs of their chicken friends for their own human uses, or sell them. Lots of folks in this community use animals for their land maintenance, hobbies (horseback riding), or their flesh & secretions. I repeat, I love my neighbors; they look out for eachother, everyone knows everyone; it is a real sense of community akin to the film Pleasantville.
In the year or so that we have lived here, our home has become a hotspot of activity. We get cyclists off the bike path, families on their daily walks, and hayrides of little kids during the holidays. Everyone loves to stop and watch all the residents play, and nap, and snack. Many people will ask about the individuals, and their personalities; and even more often, we get asked how the residents will be "used." We have also had occasions where people will ask "how much" for an individual so they can make them into food.
We have learned through different vegan events, how to have positive conversations with those who may not have the same ideas about housing residents like ours. We explain that the chicken girls are retired, and they will eat the few eggs that they lay. We explain that mammals have to be pregnant to make milk, and we do not want to force any of our girls to be pregnant just for us, when we can easily make some oat milk. We explain that none of the residents will ever become someone else's dinner. We talk about how happy and healthy we live on a vegan diet & lifestyle.
These small interactions are not only a way to have humans make what they would consider to be unlikely connections and friends with the residents, it also shows people that they may know people right in their area that are living a cruelty free lifestyle. These seeds that we plant may not become redwood trees of change right away, but it could be a slow process for someone that may see Torvill & Priscilla the next time they reach for a roast at the store.
We do have lots of happy memories here as well! We are very good friends with a couple that live around the corner, and they bring their children over to come and learn and play, and even help with chores! Once they found out that we are vegan, they we sweet enough to bring us some homemade vegan muffins (so yummy)! She had expressed they had a lot of fun learning how to bake them because they had never baked a vegan recipe before. We have also had a gentleman give us his info if we ever need a band for a benefit concert! The love and acceptance that we feel from our neighbors increases the more we all get to know each other, and the residents love making new friends, and getting snacks from them.
We did decide to get some signs & business cards made for the sanctuary, in the hopes that more people will look into sanctuaries, and how to help them!