By Shelby Deering | April 2017

When you love someone or something—a person, an animal, a place, a cause—you’re destined to experience both highs and lows. Life isn’t perfect, even in a place as warm and fuzzy as Heartland Farm Sanctuary. Lately here at the farm, we’ve run the gamut, spanning from success to sadness.

This April, we said goodbye to our longtime friend, Phil the Polish rooster. With a flamboyant fountain of feathers atop his head, it was hard to miss Phil. Over the last six years, he became a popular and cherished figure at the barn—he was well-loved by volunteers and visitors alike. Phil was with a volunteer during his winter stay when he passed away unexpectedly from natural causes. Needless to say, we’re all a bit heartbroken.

His mate Pandora, who was always at his side, has since formed a bond with two of the barn’s newest hens: Goblin and Sable. The three instantly formed a connection, and another rooster will be joining them soon. Chickens enjoy having companions, and here at the farm, we make sure that everyone has a friend or two. As Pandora grieves in her own way, we feel lucky that Goblin and Sable have been there for her, as she adjusts to life without Phil. We’re adjusting, too.

Winnie the pig has recently gone through her own set of challenges. She’s developed some issues with mobility due to a condition called Osteochondritis Dissecans that affects her joints. Unfortunately, pigs like Winnie are bred to grow very large in a very short time, which can cause a great deal of stress on the body. We’re working with several veterinarians to create a care plan for Winnie, making her life as comfortable and happy as possible through pain management and adjustments in her living conditions.

When we’re faced with the need to provide additional care to our animals, that’s when we rely on the gracious funding provided by our amazing Stable Supporters. If you’d like to become a monthly donor and sponsor Winnie to help with her medical care, feel free to fill out our Donation Form.

Pigs love to be in the company of pig companions, so we have no doubt that Winnie’s friends will support her as she begins to feel better. We see lots of friends in Penelope the potbellied pig’s future as she moves to SoL Criations Farm Sanctuary in Endeavor, Wisconsin. They’re preparing to welcome pigs to their sanctuary, and Miss Penelope will be their very first. We’re thankful that Penelope will have a loving, safe home among some of the best folks around. And since Penelope will need other piggies to play with, please consider becoming a sponsor for her future pig companions. There’s never a shortage of potbellied pigs who need good homes. Visit the SoL Criations “Sponsor an Animal” page to help the sanctuary rescue a pal (or two! or three!) for Penelope.

We still have some spots open for our Animal Hearts program, created for children aged 8-12 who have been impacted by trauma or loss. The session begins April 20, and you can email Claire.DuCharme@heartlandfarmsanctuary.org for more information.

There are also openings for several of our weeks of Summer Camp 2017. Right now, six weeks are full (which is indicated on our registration page). When you sign up your child, this summer, he or she will have even more opportunities to experience the land around us. We’ll explore the beautiful forests, prairies, and pastures teeming with life outside the barn, in addition to close-up- and-personal time with our sweet rescued animals through chores and other barn-based activities. Register today to guarantee your spot!

Our upcoming events are keeping us busy. Tickets are still available to our Gala 2017: Baine’s Bash! Baine is looking forward to meeting all of his adoring fans.

You can also meet Baine and his animal buddies during our Public Barn Tours. The next tours will take place on April 29th at 1:00 and 3:00 p.m, and spots are open during both times.

But if you’re really hoping to form a deep bond with a farm animal, volunteering offers plenty of opportunities for quality time. Our next Volunteer Info Session is on April 26 from 6:00-7:00 p.m. RSVPs can be sent to HeartlandFarmTracy@gmail.com.

We also have two high-need volunteer opportunities we’d love to share with you. First, we’re still accepting applications for Volunteer Assistant Camp Counselors for our Summer Camp 2017. If you are 16 or older, able to commit to one or more weeks of seven to eight-hour days, and love spending time with friendly farm animals and kids, please contact our Programs Facilitator Stephanie for more information. She can reached at Stephanie.Weis@HeartlandFarmSanctuary.org. Our counselors love to help the kids with animal care chores, craft projects, games, gardening, and hands-on animal time. Feel free to share this opportunity with friends and family who you think would fit the bill.

If you enjoy spending time in vegetable gardens, we could use your help as a Volunteer Gardener. We have two gardens that need attention, requiring hands every step of the way, from amending the soil to planting and mulching to watering, maintaining, and harvesting. If you’re only able to volunteer once, or if you can come by weekly, we’re open to occasional or regular volunteers. For more information, contact Stephanie at Stephanie.Weis@HeartlandFarmSanctuary.org.

Here at Heartland, even on the toughest of days, we still smile knowing that we’re making a difference in the lives of so many deserving animals. We rise above the difficult times and continue to offer our unwavering care, support, and love for these gentle creatures.

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