Sanctuary Life: A Year in Review

2017 was huge. Just huge.

Early in the year, we won a grant  from Lush to help us with fencing. As the cows, sheep, goats and horses had done a great job of trashing our fencing, this was so very welcome. Our fencer came, observed, got to work, and soon we not only had fallen trees cut away, new wooden rails for the fences in the yards and the healing paddock, gates with hinges installed, and our big excitement —  the goose shed resurrected after the tree was removed which crushed it. The geese were fine by the way, but it did leave them prey to foxes, so they sheltered in the cat outdoor enclosure at night. The cats have currently lost their outdoor area and this is something we hope to remedy in 2018.

The goose shelter resurrection is so awesome, that that enclosure is now being used for a hospital area for the goats and sheep. it’s currently occupied by Pluto who broke his leg a couple of months back, while climbing a tree. (See our instagram!) It was a miracle we found him. He was hanging by one leg in the tree, waiting to die.  And he didn’t even answer our calls. It was of course, a Sunday, but fortunately the vet on duty gave pain relief and  bound the leg which is now in a cast. Pluto is healing well, and hoping to get the cast off soon as he is very bored!

To fix the shelter, the fencer had to fix the fence.  He did this very cleverly by using old tin as the fence. Windproof shelter, plus fox proof.  Very clever.

Loads of other fencing was also resurrected thanks to several visits from volunteers from Vegan ACT.  This was fabulous and we are so grateful. The animals of a Place of Peace are safe and the paddocks can be rested and rotated.

When you live in the country with animals, fencing is an on-going part of the lifestyle.  But for now, this is a huge improvement and we are so grateful.

Click here to see Tamsin’s video which helped our application (also embedded below).

It was a tough year in many respects, but today we are sharing the old cottage with two delightful lambs.. Primrose and Marcus, and Gwen the Goose.  Gwen has a permanent leg injury , and when the fox penetrated the old goose house, the first thing we did was bring her inside where she could be safe.  She has made the old part of the kitchen her home, going out every day for water therapy, her new guardian goose Peter, and the rest of the flock. Her story was that when her bonded mate Stripe died earlier this year, she was grieving so much she allowed herself to be injured by a horse.  She wanted to die.  But she didn’t. She had so much loving care that she is still going, despite not being able to walk, nearly a year later  We think new love interest Peter is largely responsible for mending her heart.

Primrose the lamb came to us from a farm where her mother was lost, and she bonded with Marcus, who also lost his mum.  They are inseparable.  After the shearing the 13 sheep who had been living around the house, were absorbed back into the flock.  I missed their cheeky faces so much, but four returned, standing outside the gate, waiting to be let in, and we did.  The idea is that the two lambs will bond with the older sheep, and eventually learn to sleep in their quarters, instead of the house!

This year we caught both next door’s bull and ram before too much damage was done. (And fixed the fences.. again.)  And as the ram was caught twice, the farmer has now removed him further away from our place. But the lusty liaisons resulted in six new calves and 10 new lambs.  While more mouths to feed is not what we need, one has to welcome a soul so advanced they choose a life of peace. To see the lambs walking with their mums, knowing they will never be separated, to see the calves hanging out in the calf creche with the chosen nanny cow for the day.. and knowing they will never face the pain of separation…it brings tears of joy.  It just does the heart so much good.

Also new to the cottage is formerly homeless cat Angus, who we trapped in the hay shed. As soon as he saw cat Mama Bast he wanted to be part of her family. We offered Mama and her kittens refuge inside when she gave birth in our shed near the house. Today, they are all de-sexed and living happily as inside cats. (Still want to get them a snake proof outdoor enclosure though!()  There is a lot of contention about feral cats.. but seriously, my experience is that regular food, a warm, safe spot to live, and loving humans is exactly what every cat needs and wants.  So I never call them feral.  Just homeless.

Our other sadness was to lose Lady the cow, an elder who survived winter, only to pass in the early spring — often a  time of loss in the animal world. When she went down in the paddock we knew she wouldn’t get up again, because all the cows said goodbye. She let tears fall which was heart breaking, and Tam and I took turns nursing her  through the day and night, and keeping vigil in the paddock beside her despite below freezing temperatures. We never leave them alone in the paddock. In her final days she learnt so much about human love, tenderness and caring. She loved her food treats and soon learned to communicate when she needed more food or water. Covered in rugs she was warm and cosy, and simply fell asleep without waking.

Our other losses this year included three sheep ladies with eye cancers who I had been treating intensively for a year., two and three times a day. They all passed within days of each other, again in that early spring, the season of death and life. We were devastated. You really get to connect deeply with animals you care for and treat intensively. Winter’s little kisses of gratitude will stay with me forever. Hope’s funny love. Autumn’s cheeky, radiant face the day before she died, as she rushed over to the hay I put down for her. Vale Hope, Winter and Autumn — beautiful souls and, while  cure wasn’t realised, their healing created ripples and made dents in the etheric sheep contract. A year of kindness and deep love from humans.. it all makes a difference.

While caring for our large residency takes up most of our days and night, we still found time this year to help out another sanctuary who was closing down.  We found a delightful home for all eight pigs who will stay together forever.  I find many people tend to forget the bonds of friendship animals make.  And I see it over and over in our large herds and flocks.  It’s as important to them, as it is to us.  Even for cats who are considered loners.  Animals love their family and friends.

Today we are excitedly watching grass grow, and hoping the rain keeps coming as kindly as it has.  It was late.. very late this year for us. But to be honest it was magical to have a dry winter.  The animals thrived.  They can cope with being cold.. but wet and cold makes life a bit miserable for everyone. So winter sang, and now the rain is coming to drench the dry earth, the world is green, and the animals enjoy the summer showers.

Thank you all for supporting the animals of  A Place of Peace.  We truly couldn’t do what we do without your help.  The animals who are here really do enjoy a life of peace, in as natural a state as we can make it for them.

Blessings and love

Billie xx

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Copyright © Billie Dean, 2017. You are welcome to share this article but only in its complete form with author and website attached. Thank you! Billie can be found at billiedean.com, wildpureheart.com, and deeppeacetrust.com.

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