It was already about 80 degrees with a high expected of nearly 100 when we arrived at the gate one bright albeit scorching Saturday morning. Southern Oregon ain’t for meltin’ sissies. We started down the dusty road and at each turn we saw another group or solitary being thriving on the 55 acres designated exclusively for their peace, health, and safety. In the distance, a herd of baby alpacas was running in formation. Those adorable bangs bobbing as they hung in a tight-knit group moving as if one organism. I later learned they were rescued together.
Sanctuary One (S1) at Double Oak Farm is a haven for rescued animals who have been transferred from overcrowded animal shelters, rescue groups, and law-enforcement agencies. It’s located at 13195 Upper Applegate Rd, Jacksonville and a good 30 minutes drive from home along ambling country roads.
A care farm, the first of its kind in the US, Sanctuary One in addition to employing the therapeutic use of farming practices, serves as an educational model to the public for “treating animals humanely and honoring their intrinsic physical and spiritual value.” With the slogan “People, Animals & the Earth. Better Together” and staff (paid and volunteer) who exude the calm sense of kindness and down-to-earth composure one would hope to experience at a place whose sole purpose revolves around healing, these are the best words I can find to describe my experience: a sense of peaceful well-being. I mean, c’mon, our tour began with a labyrinth meditation! That’s basically the perfect start to any day IMO.
In addition to being an all-around amazing organization, Sanctuary One also requests that visitors bring no meat on the grounds when they pack food. I love that. 🙂 Maybe one day they will extend that request to “no animal products.”
This brings me to my current mission: sharing 54 Reasons I’m vegan. In honor of some of the animals I met at Sanctuary One, here go reasons 4-11.
Reason #4 Pigs
I’ve heard folks joke about looking at a pig and seeing bacon. I probably did it myself at some point in the distant past. Now, I look at a pig and see a social, smart, chill, and gentle being. I haven’t eaten bacon in about 15 years. I don’t miss it and not because of it’s Western disease-causing attributes, but because I’ve met some convincing pigs who are great ambassadors for their species. Did you know a mother pig sings to her babies while nursing, and by three weeks old a pig knows her name and will come when called? And piglets? Ay dios mio. They are the silliest pinkest little punkins!
There is a very graphic video on this Petition site asking Costco to stop the abuse of pigs (from their supplier Hormel) whose parts they sell in their stores. Costco does a lot of things well. This is not one of them. Most importantly, Costco is not solely complicit in this suffering. Go veg and and no one gets hurt.
Reason #5 Cows, Steers, Bulls and Heifers
I love cows. When I visit my Mom in PA, I stroll down the country roads and hang out on fences bordering farms talking and singing to cows. Maybe you’ve seen me? I’m the nuttynutbar with an audience of big, pink, soft noses in my face, their heads slightly tilted. I swear cows are related to dogs. That natural curiosity and a genuine sense of connectedness one (I) feels when looking into those wide, warm, soulful eyes. I could be standing at the edge of a pasture with cows nearly out of sight and in minutes they come running. Just to hang out. With me. Maybe I love cows so much, because they make me feel like the most interesting person in the world.
If you’re a person that’s gotta eats cows but try to do your health, the earth, and the cows a favor by only eating those that were grassfed, please read this article by John Robbins.
The video is a 1-minute snippet of about an hour I spent with my new cow friends many years ago.
Reason #6 Cats
Were I not allergic, I could become a cat lady like my friend Elaine who currently has about a dozen (more maybe?) rescue cats. From the soft paws and friskiness of kitties to the chill, zen-like personalities of adults, cats are gorgeous, fun, fascinating, and clever companions.
To show just how extraordinary is Sanctuary One, they have a house designated for cats with FIV, a serious and contagious virus to other cats. And while the cats are unable to leave the FIV building (unless they’re adopted) as not to infect other cats, there is a peaceful, airy porch where they can hang out, sun bathe, and experience the outdoors while still living in the safety of home.
Reason #7 Bunnies
Um. yeah. bunnies. Some bunny loves those floppy ears. Moi. I learned that many of Sanctuary One’s rabbits arrive there shortly after Easter when unwitting parents gift their children bunnies only to later discover those rabbit babies require care and attention. Because, well, animals in captivity need to be fed, watered, kept in clean environs, and protected. I wonder how many baby bunnies are “released” into the woods to fend for themselves. Around these parts we call that coyote food. Note to self: don’t give anyone a bunny for a gift unless that person wants to care for a (rescued) bunny.
Reason #8 Goats
Scott loves the goats. I think if we had just a tad more space, we would be adopting some goats. And donkeys, because I love donkeys (post coming soon). Spending time with goats to me is like hanging out with wise, old, masters of wizardry. I feel like they are translating my thoughts into their own secret, coded, language and assimilating information to be used in magic potions for future healing practices.
Reason #9 Alpacas
Let’s give it up for baby alpacas! O.M.G. They were running around in a little alpaca pack (aka herd), timid and silly, and adorable. We didn’t get to spend much time with the alpacas, because they were very very busy doing their playful baby alpaca thing. Those bangs! Those long lashes! I’m in love.
Reason #10 Ducks
There was a time I ate ducks. There was a time I helped my dad pluck the feathers from ducks he killed. I can’t say I ever liked that chore, holding the dead animal in my hands, her body growing increasingly cold and then yanking out those iridescent feathers while the downy ones slipped through my fingers and floated off into a cool fall breeze. All the while I tried to reconcile my heartache in conflict with my culture. Was she someone’s mom? I’d wonder to myself.
Now I just admire their beautiful wings, how mamas care for their chicks, and that easily distinguishable low-key quack. It’s like ducks chatter to themselves. I do that sometimes too.
Reason #11 Sheep
I never met a sheep I didn’t like. What a sweet collective society they are, hanging with their flock, and so endearingly timid except for the lambs who seem as curious and boisterous as any other baby animal. I didn’t take any good photos at S1 of their sheep. You can see photos here. The beaut in this photo we came upon while hiking around New Zealand. Need a pick-me-up? Get yourself a total smiling SQUEEE moment and check out these 31 fuzzy little lamb pictures on Buzzed. And check out this article on reasons not to wear wool and these cool alternatives to wool.
If you’re looking to adopt one of the many adorables at Sanctuary One, click here to learn more.
“I became a vegan the day I watched a video of a calf being born on a factory farm. The baby was dragged away from his mother before he hit the ground. The helpless calf strained its head backwards to find his mother. The mother bolted after her son and exploded into a rage when the rancher slammed the gate on her. She wailed the saddest noise I’d ever heard an animal make, and then thrashed and …dug into the ground, burying her face in the muddy placenta. I had no idea what was happening respecting brain chemistry, animal instinct, or whatever. I just knew that this was deeply wrong. I just knew that such suffering could never be worth the taste of milk and veal. I empathized with the cow and the calf and, in so doing, my life changed.”
~ James McWilliams
There’s no returning from this decision, because I am unable to close my eyes and my mind to the unflinching reality. I can’t just “unaware” myself.
Given that, I come from a place of peace not judgement, because before I made the connection that at the end of my fork were the remains of a once living, breathing, social, emotional being who didn’t choose to die for me,
I was a bold and content carnivore.
To see the other posts in this series click click click away!
Post 1: International Homeless Animal Day & 54 Reasons I’m Vegan: #’s 1-3
Post 2: Sanctuary One & 54 Reasons I’m Vegan: #’s 4-11
Post 3: 54 Reasons I’m Vegan: Numbers 12-19
Post 4: 54 Reasons I’m Vegan: Coyotes and Wolves
Post 5: 54 Reasons I’m Vegan: Chickens and Turkeys
Post 6: 54 Reasons I’m Vegan: Smallish Animals and Reptiles 24-30
Post 7: 54 Reasons I’m Vegan: Marine Life & Birds
Post 8: 54 Reasons I’m Vegan: African Animals
Post 9: 54 Reasons I’m Vegan: Rainforests, Air, Water, Soil, Climate Change, Peace & Hunger (50-54)