Spring and summer are finally making an appearance here in the PNW, and there are always projects to be done at Heartwood Haven. (Mila, above, is already exhausted by all the work she has put in as Overseer of Things.) Being involved in animal rescue means we become excellent project managers: we identify scope, we break down the work, we plan the schedule, and then we adapt to the external influences introducing change to our best laid plans. You’ve heard the old Yiddish proverb, right? (Wo)man plans, and God(dess) laughs.
In the case of large projects, to increase our chances of success, we plan and execute these in warmer months. Not only is the weather (slightly) less fickle in the warmer months, but you, our supporters tend to have more time to join us on the sanctuary as volunteers. (We love having you!) This spring and summer, there are three major items on our agenda: perimeter fencing, chicken barns, and procuring a truck and trailer.
This important project has been on our minds since we started the sanctuary in October 2017. We live in an area that has predators, including bobcats and coyotes. We also have a lot of neighbors that let their dogs wander the neighborhood. These animals can be dangerous to the prey animals that we provide sanctuary to so a perimeter fence is important to keep them out and keep the sanctuary’s animals in.
We have already started installing the perimeter fence and are nearly one-third of the way through the project. The perimeter fence will provide three sides to Lucy and Ethel’s habitat expansion, so we are working quickly to finish by the time their quarantine is done. Hope hurt her shoulder last weekend so we are hoping that heals quickly, and we can get back to work on the perimeter fence this weekend.
Finishing the perimeter fence will also mean that Shadow and Mila will be free to roam the property. Currently they both help with chores and spend almost all of their days outside with us, but we always make sure they are close by. With the perimeter fence, they will be able to explore and run and play. We are hoping to rescue more dogs in the future so the completion of the fence will certainly make that easier.
When we first started the sanctuary, we did not have much funding and used what we already had on hand to make homes for the roosters and hens. Both of our rooster bachelor flocks are currently using repurposed sheds as their coops with insulation and roosts. The metal sheds need frequent repair and take away time that we could be spending with the animals or on animal care.
Repurposing and being thrifty has allowed us to rescue and intake roosters and hens quickly as the need presented itself. We know we will rescue more hens saved from slaughter after a life of living in battery cages. Not only will we have new residents, we are also merging the two bachelor flocks into one which means we will need a larger barn for them. We provide sanctuary to nearly fifty (50) roosters, and while they have an adequate fenced habitat, we find it important that they have enough room in their coops at night.
To continue rescuing and reduce the risk of maintenance on repurposed structures, we plan to purchase two chicken barns; one for roosters and one for hens. This will allow us to care for the fifty roosters and fifty hens at the sanctuary.
Truck and Trailer
Acquiring a sanctuary truck and trailer has become significantly more important to us as we care for rescued large animals. We can no longer load every animal at the sanctuary into our vehicles and take them to the vet when they need to go. It is important to us that we have the means to get everyone out in case of a fire or other natural disaster that would put the animals’ lives at risk.
For now, we do the best with what we have:
- Katya buys fencing materials 13 posts and 13 bags of concrete at a time because that is exactly what fits into the Civic.
- Bales of hay and straw have to be transported two at a time with the trunk open and making a mess in the car.
- Twice a week we fill the Subaru to the brim as we load up on produce for the animals.
These are not impossible tasks and certainly not the things that bother us. However, we do want to take Lucy and Ethel to Corvallis, OR so they can be spayed at the OSU hospital. This trip means we need a truck and trailer. Rescuing farm animals means we need larger transportation. Rescuing animals means we are responsible for their safety, and we take that seriously. We want to be prepared for the daily, planned needs and the rare, emergencies. What peace of mind it would be to have a truck and trailer with the capacity to transport or evacuate our residents!
Call to Action:
If you (or your employer) have the means to support any of the summer projects through monetary donations, time, materials, or (our biggest dream) through donation of a truck and/or trailer, please contact us. Don’t forget, we are a 501(c)3 non-profit sanctuary, so all donations are tax deductible!
In conclusion, Stout would love to see you all here at the sanctuary. He would love nothing more than volunteers who keep Hope and Katya busy outside with projects so, well, so things like this stop happening. (He also accepts guests who enjoy a rousing game of “String” after the work outside is done for the day.)