By Shelby Deering | March 2017

In the past few weeks, the farm has experienced both summer temperatures and wintry weather, and there’s plenty of mud to go around to the delight of our pigs. This means that spring is nearly upon us! So far, March has brought us new faces and plenty of excitement around our upcoming events.

Penelope enjoying sunshine and an ear scratch.

A few weeks ago, we were delighted to rescue Penelope, an 8-month-old female potbellied pig who’s as sweet as can be. The best part? She’s available for adoption! In mid-March after her spay surgery, Penelope will be ready to go to a forever home. Previously, Penelope’s owners lived in a city that doesn’t allow potbellied pigs and she wasn’t getting along with the family’s dog, so that’s how she came to be with us.

Since we believe that potbellied pigs don’t make very good house pets, Penelope’s perfect home will have suitable outdoor and indoor space that is safe, stimulating, and of course, piggy-proof! She should have access to a mud pit and straw (she loves to root around and fills her days with making straw nests), and we know she’d enjoy having a pig companion, too. She’s curious and personable, and we’ve enjoyed having her around.

If you live in a city or town that allows potbellied pigs as pets, and if you’re able to make a visit to Heartland and plan for a home visit by Heartland staff, we’d welcome your adoption application. The fee is $100, and completed applications can be emailed to our Shelter Director, Alecia, at Or you can mail it to Heartland Farm Sanctuary, P.O. Box 45746, Madison, WI, 53744.

And be sure to check our Facebook page to read our posts about Penelope, including her recent appearance on the Channel 3 news! We didn’t think she hogged the camera too much.

Speaking of sweet girls, our adorable dwarf horse Cookie is feeling a lot better now that she’s had a life-improving dental

Cookie after surgery, rocking her new half-shaved face look!

surgery. She had two (rather large!) teeth removed, and we can all tell that her mood and personality have been greatly lifted. She’s exploring the farm a lot more now, and is visibly happier.

She’ll need additional check-ups and another dental surgery in the coming months, and we’d greatly appreciate your support as we continue with her care. If you’d like to help Cookie feel even better, you can donate online to her medical care fund. Follow the link to improve this little horse’s quality of life.

We love it when we can make our animals feel as good and as comfortable as possible. This winter, we sent four groups of chickens to “winter homes” where we supply foster families with everything they need—straw, food, treats, etc. They’re pretty darn spoiled by their foster families, too.

Last month, Reggie and Sweet Pea came back to the barn for a week while their foster family was on vacation, and they looked amazing, shiny, and well-cared for. We are thankful to our volunteers for taking in these chickens.

We’ve introduced some new chickens to our small flock in the arena, and everyone seems to be getting along. Sable, Goblin,

Mushroom, Sable, Goblin and Junebug

and Junebug have been wonderful additions. Unfortunately, Mushroom, who had been under the weather, passed away recently. It makes us sad, but we know this can happen because chickens can be surprisingly delicate creatures who unfortunately are talented at hiding their symptoms if they aren’t feeling well. We all miss her very much.

There is never a shortage of happenings here at Heartland. Before we know it, our Summer Camp 2017 will be starting, and we need volunteer assistant counselors! If you’re 16 or older, able to commit to one or more weeks of 7 to 8-hour days, and of course, LOVE farm animals, contact Stephanie for more information at We’ll have 11 weeks of camp this summer, with the first week starting June 12 and the last week starting August 21. Our assistant counselors love helping the kids with animal care chores, craft projects, games, gardening, and spending time with the animals, just to name a few of the responsibilities. Feel free to send this opportunity along to friends and family who just might be a perfect fit.

Registration is open for Summer Camp, and the weeks are filling up fast! On Tuesday, March 21, from 6:00 to 7:00, we’ll be holding a Camper Open House at the Heartland Barn. This is a great chance for first-time camper families to see the farm and ask any questions. For this event, RSVP with Jamie Monroe at

Say hello to Claire!

We’re in full swing of planning the last-minute details of our “Baine’s Bash” Heartland Farm Sanctuary Gala—tickets are on sale, and we’re still looking for silent auction items. Our dinner will be a delicious, plant-based feast and the night promises tasty cocktails and hors d’oevres along with an appearance by the guest of honor himself, Baine the dwarf goat. 

We’re also gearing up for our Animal Hearts Spring session that starts in April and the resuming of our public Barn Tours. Follow the link to see upcoming dates.

With our extensive programming, we’re lucky to have Claire DuCharme, our new Programs Manager. You can read all about her on our Heartland Staff page.

Spring serves as a time to begin fresh. We’re excited about what this year will hold for us here at Heartland—new animal friends, new opportunities, new supporters, and new lives that are touched through our sanctuary.

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