For each new resident, settling into sanctuary life brings the challenge of finding them new friends, new family.
We take a lot of care to get to know each resident during their initial quarantine time to try and figure out to which group they are best suited. With almost 200 residents, there are a lot of personalities to figure out and navigate!
For most of our residents, the goal is to place them with their own species. This lets them live with a family with similar ways of communicating, playing and enjoying life.
But finding their new family group is even harder when we have special physical or medical needs to consider.
Fiona, our blind calf, is a good example. We would have loved for her to live with our main group of cattle, but when the female cows go into heat (don’t worry, all our males are neutered) they can become quite pushy and enjoy mounting each other. Fiona is so tiny and can not see a way to escape a situation where she might be feeling bullied or uncomfortable, so we introduced her to a sheep herd. Fiona now has a family of sheep who she follows around the pasture and sleeps nestled in the barn with at night.
We also have to accommodate social preferences and behaviors.
Penny, our two-legged goat in the wheelchair, is another great example. Penny needed a friend who understands her love for head-butting and sassy goat attitude. Then Molly came to us unable to walk or stand. After her recovery, she was reluctant to join a herd. She likes to be in the clinic and near people. They seemed like a good match. We wanted to put them together, but give them their own space. So we built an area just outside the clinic where Molly is happy and Penny can be closely monitored.
Some are just stinking cute (and vulnerable to injury), but safety is our first and foremost concern.
Many of you know our wonderful little guy, Milo, the baby goat who came to us in January unable to walk or stand. This little guy just got the green light to remove his neck brace. (Don’t miss his antics immediately after its removal.) We are so excited for him to be starting the next chapter of what we hope to be a long, healthy and happy life. But while his neck continues to heal, he still can’t be around the rough-housing of other goats.
So now we have the job of helping Milo find his family. Who will be his brother (or sister) from another mother?
Many ideas are being floated around, should he join a family of chickens where he can be safe from bullies, or maybe he should have a pen built next to other goats so he can see them but not be injured? WDYT?
We are still figuring out who his forever family will be. For now, we have expanded his baby pen, so he has more room for cool jumps and running, two of his very favorite things.