This blog post is following a great conversation with a friend of mine, a fellow sanctuary founder. I cannot express how important it is to have that community around me; that goes for any sanctuary founder. Like most unique areas of work, especially in ones that typically go against the grain; having those parallel voices in your life are of the utmost importance.
We discussed our perpetual need to put pressure on ourselves to achieve goals, meet them and then immediately dilute that achievement with negative self talk. Running a sanctuary is not for the faint of heart. Every time we take on a new resident, we know that we are giving away a piece of our hearts that we will never get back, and inevitably that piece will break when the time comes. The need to have your morals and values align with action, must out weigh the fear of loss, to run an animal sanctuary. That’s a must. If you knew too much about the emotional stress of having many animals whose fates were in question at some point; it may scare you away.
While being interviewed for the Plant Your Seed podcast (which you can listen to on Spotify) Fred, the host, asked me something to the effect of ‘what gave you the courage to start a sanctuary?’ My answer was simple as I really didn’t see what other choice there was. Pigs need homes, so I was going to give them one. Upon reflection I realized that it’s not that simple. Plenty of people have pigs and do not go on to start a sanctuary or they want a sanctuary and don’t want to take the risks to start it.
As time goes on, sanctuary life becomes some what of a settled water, it’s not always tipping and spilling. There are definitely ups and downs, ebbs and flows. Almost always those happen because of taking on a new resident, animal health, logistical challenges or compassion fatigue. I am in currently in some-what of a down flow time. We are enjoying our summer running tours, a few health matters on the go, but nothing that is urgent or can be taken care of immediately. I am trying to soak in this time, because as soon there is a change, I will remember this summer when everything was calm.
As I was speaking with my friend, I told her about a very humbling moment I had the weekend before. I had a guest who had been following for quite some time, was staying in a hotel and made a long distance trip for an hour with my beautiful pigs. I was reminded that when I’m doing tours, I don’t get to have a bad day. People literally drive hours to see this tour and to build a connection with my pigs- I don’t get to sit one out.
Every tour builds one more connection, helps one more person understand, which puts us one step closer to respecting farmed animals.