Many of our animals have been through hell and back. Each of their stories is a testament to the power of resilience and love. We may not be able to save every creature we meet, but time and again we have been reminded that miracles do happen. Every life deserves a chance.
Wonka is our latest miracle. Shortly before Christmas 2022, I saw a Facebook post about a young rooster who survived a falcon attack but was highly disabled, and his progress had stalled. The person who had him could not care for him any longer, and was going to end his life unless someone stepped up to give him a chance. He was a few hours away, and farm chores are too consuming for us to have time to make the trip--but a wonderful friend made the long drive for us. Upon arrival, he was in worse condition than I anticipated...but I hoped that with comprehensive treatment, he still had a chance. He showed no signs of improvement for two weeks, and my hopes that he would ever enjoy an acceptable quality of life were dwindling. Just a few days before his next vet appointment, however, he turned a HUGE corner: he stood up without being held. Now, he is even taking tiny steps! This little guy has an incredible will to live and he inspires me with every step he takes. Stories like Wonka's remind me that sometimes, all these babies need is love, intensive care, and patience.
A friend of a friend found Rodrigo wandering around a K9 Search and Rescue training facility near Filmore, California. How he got there is a mystery, but my goodness are we glad he did since it led him to us! He has pressure sores on both feet which require diligent care and treatment, but luckily he loves his daily feet soaks and fashionable bandages. As a standard bronze turkey, one of the largest breeds, he requires a special low-calorie feed plus lots of leafy greens to maintain his figure and heart health. Rigo LOVES to snuggle and give hugs, and is our official sanctuary supervisor: all projects are done under his watchful eye. He has truly opened my world up to turkeys and how loving, smart, personable, and unique they are.
Makana, Mabel, Scully, and Gamora
Wilson's ladies have also undergone and incredible transformation--the pictures speak for themselves!
Wilson was rescued from the North Central LA Animal Shelter a day before he was set to be euthanized. He and the four ladies we adopted with him were part of a huge animal control neglect case, and all 50+ birds were pulled by our fabulous neighbors Vargas Ranch Rescue. Wilson arrived completely bald, ridden with fowl pox, and malnourished. Yet in spite of how badly he'd been failed, he harbored no resentment or suspicion towards humans. Six months later, he is completely healthy, a devoted husband to his girls, and still gentle as can be. We like to think of him as the farm mayor. He even met Santa!!!!
Scarlett's story is another testament to the resilience of animals. She belonged to a friend of Chicken Dad, and had endured a horrible racoon attack. Her legs were scraped raw (likely from being dragged), her entire back was a wound, and one leg was paralyzed. I wasn't sure we could pull her through...but Scoo is the toughest of cookies. Other than a little bit of a limp on cold days (same, Scarlett!), she is a completely healthy birb! Her best friend is Hazel, and her favorite snacks are greek yogurt and mealworms.
I literally found Everett in the back woods of Ventura county while on a trail ride. As the pictures show, he was emaciated beyond belief, extremely ill, and dehydrated. How he did not succumb to predators remains a mystery to me. But like so may other angels of ours, his resilience was incredible. He made immediate and mind-blowing improvements, and blossomed into a stunning, sweet boy. Tragically, just 6 months later he passed suddenly: while on the outside he'd made a full recovery, his heart had been forever damaged by the neglect he suffered. While this ending will forever break my heart, I'm still deeply grateful we gave him a life of love and happiness, however short.
Topsy, Moonpie, & Moose
We found Dawkins through Best Friends Animal Society. He was found as a stray on the streets of Utah, and has a heart murmur that requires daily medication which deterred other potential adopters. When we adopted him in January he was skin and bones: his shoulder blades protruded so much his fur had rubbed away. He is possibly the most loving feline I've ever met, and a year later we can happily say he is no longer thin by any means! The little bit of extra care he requires is hardly much to ask for when he repays us with endless purrs and snuggles.
Kevin was originally rescued by a friend who found him living in a person's car with another rooster. The two birds didn't get along, and Kevin had a horrible eye infection as a result of injuries. She nursed his wounds, and he finally joined us when we moved to our sanctuary! He cannot see out of that eye, but otherwise he's completely healthy. Kevin cannot be with other roosters as a result of his trauma, but he is absolutely in love with his soulmate ladies Betty White, Patty Cake, Mama Nye, and Tiny!
“Not responding is a response - we are equally responsible for what we don't do.”
― Jonathan Safran Foer, Eating Animals