Many of the stories we share involve troubling levels of neglect and cruelty. Animal Friends is our monthly series bringing joy and happiness to your inbox. Over the years we’ve had the unique opportunity to witness our animal friends developing strong bonds and relationships with each other. The friendships formed here at the sanctuary are unique to each animal and often aid in their recovery from abuse and neglect. We hope their stories of friendship will not only inspire you but will also show that our animal friends can and do recover from past trauma and abuse with the help of each other. As a place of healing, our greatest hope is that the animals are able to live life on their terms with no expectations or pressures from us. Here are their stories.
Bear and Panda arrived from a cock fighting bust at the end of April. Bear was a breeding rooster and Panda was a breeding hen; both used to produce more and more chickens to be used for cockfighting.
The cockfighting seizure they came from involved 29 chickens: six roosters, fourteen hens, and a mama with her eight babies. When we take these larger cockfighting busts on we immediately reach out for adopters and help from local sanctuaries. The next day we start pulling them from the shelter and adopting them to sanctuaries and families who can provide a safe and loving forever home.
The babies and mama we brought to Heartwood Haven immediately and a local sanctuary offered to adopt them. Ten of the hens were taken to another local sanctuary who offered to adopt them. And within a few days we were able to bring the remaining roosters and hens to the sanctuary to await their adopters.
As luck would have it, Bear was paired with Panda and a few other hens.
Almost immediately something special began to blossom between Bear and Panda. During large rescues such as this we are always mindful of the special relationships and work to keep those bonds intact by ensuring they are adopted together. It was clear Bear and Panda had a special relationship so when another sanctuary reached out to adopt a few hens we adopted the other hens living with Bear and Panda but kept Bear and Panda together here at Heartwood Haven. Over the past several months we have watched their bond deepen and grow.
It is very common for our former cockfighting rescues to live together as a monogamous pair of one hen and one rooster. The roosters are incredible kind to their hens and are often found making nests and finding treats for their hens.
Each day, Bear and Panda sit, dust bathe, and spend their days side by side. We can’t begin to count the number of times that we found them cuddling in the sun, absorbing each other and enjoying their new found freedom. Despite their pasts they have overcome their past trauma and found healing. With your support and generosity we are able to watch lives like Bear and Panda transform from a horrific past to a happy ending.
Bear and Panda will remain here at Heartwood Haven until a loving home is found for them together. Until then they serve as ambassadors for their species and teach visitors to Heartwood Haven about the plight of cockfighting victims.