Meet Patty, Heartland’s Volunteer of the Month! Patty has been volunteering at Heartland for almost five years now and she does a little bit of everything around the sanctuary: Patty helps with barn chores and animal care, does animal enrichment, assists with barn tours and field trips and lends a hand at special events at the sanctuary! Patty is so wonderful – she’s kind, incredibly helpful, has a great sense of humor and is such a good friend to both Heartland’s people and animals. She’s always willing to step up and get the job done. Thank you, Patty, for being such an amazingly dedicated part of the Heartland family – we are lucky to know you!

1. What do you do in your time outside of Heartland? My husband, Ed, and I live a few miles southwest of Middleton, WI.  We have a son, John, who lives in Los Angeles and we love visiting him a couple of times a year.  We have a big yard and enjoy gardening for hummingbirds, butterflies and other pollinators.  We also feed birds.  We’ve had dogs for 22 years, but recently, and unexpectedly, we lost our beloved mixed lab Jake to cancer.  Our hearts are heavy and we miss him more than words can say.  The house is just too quiet now.  We look forward to finding our next canine companion really soon!  I’m also a long-time volunteer at Middleton Outreach Ministry’s Food Pantry.

2. How did you find out about Heartland? What got you interested? I remember reading an article in the newspaper (Wisconsin State Journal?) about Heartland that made a big impression on me.  Heartland’ philosophy, that animals and people can rescue each other, was in sync with my values.  For as long as I can remember, I’ve felt a special kinship with animals and being around people who feel the same has always brought me joy.  As an added benefit, Heartland was close to my house, only 10 minutes away.  I wasn’t able to volunteer then, but I tucked away the information for later.  When I retired in January 2015, I knew three things.  I wanted to spend time giving back to the community,  I wanted to work with animals and I wanted more physical activity in my day. I really liked what I read on Heartland’s website, especially the therapy aspect of their mission.  It looked like a good fit both for me and 4 1/2 years later, it obviously has been!

3. Can you describe a favorite/memorable moment or event at HFS? Holding and feeding the baby piglet Maxwell when he’d only been at Heartland for a few days.  His face and ears were still healing from landing on the road face first.  He was so small and got cold quickly if he wasn’t moving around.  I fed him and he started shivering so I laid him on top of my chest and covered us totally in blankets, heads and all.  We snuggled together and as he warmed up, his breathing slowed and he fell into a sound, warm sleep.  It took my breath away.  I wasn’t his mom, but I was the next best thing that afternoon.

4. What is your favorite part about volunteering for HFS? There is so much to learn!  The last time I checked there were at least thirteen different species.  It’s fascinating to watch them and see the different ways they interact with each other.  For instance, each group has its own pecking order and when that gets disturbed, the fur or the feathers can fly until they sort it out. I never tire of watching the animals.

5. What do you wish other people knew about Heartland? It’s a farm animal sanctuary and so much more.  Heartland lives it values everyday through its kind, supportive and knowledgeable staff and the multi-faceted program offerings they oversee.  One activity I’m especially fond of, and help with, are our public and private tours and Open Barn Sundays.  We have the most wonderful visitors.  Some of them drive for several hours to get here!  This summer, we even had international visitors.  The love for animals is universal and highly valued.  I have been thanked in the most profound ways and thinking of it brings tears to my eyes.  It is a privilege to be a part of that.

6. If you could adopt only one HFS animal, who would you pick and why? This is not a question I can answer with certainly because it changes every day. I guess lately I’ve been fascinated by the pigs, both big pigs and mini-pigs. Don’t ask me to choose which one, though!

1 Comment for Volunteer of the Month: Patty Neumueller

Volunteer of the Month: Patty Neumueller - Heartland Farm Sanctuary | December 6, 2019 at 3:24 pm

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