Providing love, care and a happy ending for all those rescued from not so lucky circumstances, animal sanctuaries not only give hope and healing to the animals that reside there but also to the humans who visit.
Many of us have broken hearts and animal sanctuaries have the power to help us heal.
In a terrifying world filled with so much cruelty, violence and oppression, animal sanctuaries provide a little slice of heaven to all who have the chance to experience them.
What makes animal sanctuaries truly unique, especially those that are home to farm animals and others that have been used in exploitative ways, is the opportunity to see these beautiful creatures in a completely different light. No longer are they simply the food on our plate or the shoes on our feet, they are living, feeling individuals each one with their own name, personality and story to tell. We can witness and interact with animals that are otherwise hidden from our lives in a happy, loving and positive environment and see them enjoying their purpose and expressing their natural desires.
Spending time with rescued animals can teach us more about ourselves than we could ever imagine. There is a quiet calm and sense of peace that enters our soul when given the opportunity to connect with animals, and it is not uncommon for people to experience profound changes. When we are finally able to meet them face to face and look into their eyes, it becomes hard for us to continue believing the lie that they are non-feeling and only here for our use.
When we see these animals, the ones that are we are normally so disconnected from, playing together, sharing intimate moments, nurturing their babies, generally enjoying their lives and interacting and engaging with us in much the same way as the dogs and cats that share our home, our eyes begin to open and our compassion is stirred. This alone is enough to move even the most brokenhearted of people.
Jo-Anne McArthur puts it beautifully when she says “once we really see them, it is difficult to unsee”, and that’s why animal sanctuaries are such powerful places with the ability to positively transform people’s lives for the better.
One of the most heartwarming stories, and one where we can see the vital role of animal sanctuaries for human healing, is that of Harold Brown in the deeply moving documentary Peaceable Kingdom. Growing up on a beef farm in Michigan and later raising cattle for food himself, many people would have believed that this typical all American farmer would be one of the least likely candidates for change, but a remarkable encounter with a rescued steer later in life at a sanctuary sent him on a life changing quest for healing in search of a more loving and peaceful world. When speaking about his experience, Harold says “To follow that vision, that dream, it’s really a joyous thing. It’s going home.”
If you’ve never visited an animal sanctuary before then I urge you to do so. Maybe you won’t have a profund experience like Harold’s, maybe you will, but at the very least you will have an amazing day out and will certainly leave with a big smile on your face and plenty of beautiful memories.