I knew at a very young age that I wanted a career involving animals. Sure, there was about a ten year period when I was convinced I would be a professional musician, but my very first answer to the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” was, “A veterinarian.”
My first in depth experiences with animals were of course with my own pets – cats, dogs, hamsters, guinea pigs, rats, mice, and even some snakes, iguanas, hermit crabs, and turtles here and there. My professional experience with animals began with dog grooming. Currently, I am working in the animal rescue field as it pertains to the pet industry (mainly cats, dogs, and rabbits.) Aside from some sporadic little jobs here and there, my farm animal experience at this point is minimal at best. Since I got the Cupid’s Landing ball rolling, I realized that I need to fix that! Some friends of mine put me in contact with their friends, Tracy and Chris. This compassionate and friendly couple has turned their home into a beautiful little sanctuary that is home to chickens, roosters, turkeys, barn cats, horses, a pig, alpacas, a llama, and several dogs. They have kindly agreed to let me come by to get some hands on experience with their animals while teaching me what they know.
I went there for the first time recently. The very first thing I noticed was the beautiful, serene, and happy vibe. Where the long gravel driveway meets the road is a sign that says, “Sweethaven Farm.” There could not be a better name for this place! When I parked my car, I was immediately greeted by two or three dogs. The best part though, was when Tracy walked me to the barn. As we walked through the gate into the barn area, a group of very happy and healthy animals came from all directions to speculate. Chickens, roosters, and turkeys came out from the barn and around hidden corners. Two horses approached their fence and perked their ears up as they watched us with their big gentle eyes. A tabby cat climbed up high and observed us from her perch. An old pig came walking out of the barn, snorting the whole way.
I cannot emphasize enough how HAPPY everyone looked! It truly felt as if they were all smiling at us. I knew right away that that is exactly what I want Cupid’s Landing to feel like.
Tracy talked to me about some of the important and daunting responsibilities of caring for horses. She walked me through the feeding processes for the horses, alpacas, llama, and pig. She and Chris gave me insight on what it costs to run a small operation like that. We discussed humane methods of rescuing and sheltering dogs and feral cats.
Visiting Sweethaven Farm was an awesome experience. I am very grateful for the network of animal rescuers that enables us to find and support each other. I’m excited to get my hands dirty with this happy bunch again soon!