December 2016 Barn Blog

Heartland is a Home for the Holidays

December 2016 / By Shelby Deering

For us humans, holidays serve as reminders to spend time with family, connect with those we love, and be “home,” whatever that home might be. For some of us, home is a physical dwelling, but for others, home is whenever we are with people who help us feel good and safe. And that’s what makes Heartland Farm Sanctuary a home for our animals in need. We feed them, protect them, and shelter them against the cold winter winds.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t always been this way for our residents. Bertram the sheep and his bud Frances didn’t fit into their flock, and had no family to call their own. Zeus the goat was found wandering the streets of Milwaukee, sick and alone. Beatrice the pig and her sister Maxine were discovered rooting around in a garden, the victims of falling off a slaughter truck, and they only had each other. And sometimes, animals find a temporary home at Heartland. Like Truffles, a potbellied pig and long-time boarder here at the farm.

Truffles arrived at Heartland in August 2015, boarded by her mom who needed a place to keep her. The city she lived in did not allow potbellied pigs. At first, Truffles would only sleep in her crate, like she did when she was a “house pig.” It’s amazing how similar pigs and dogs are! Over the next year, Truffles became an official “barn pig,” learning how to make little nests out of straw and root around in the dirt and grass. Truffles’ mom came often to visit and to volunteer in the barn every week. Truffles was always excited to see her, and they were inseparable during their visits.In the meantime, Truffles’ mom was searching for a farm property so she could bring her home. This November, it happened, and Truffles left Heartland a day before her 2nd birthday. She now enjoys a farm with a wonderful yard and the ability to be an indoor or outdoor pig. It was a good thing she learned how to be a “barn pig” at the farm! We miss sweet Truffles, but we are over the moon that she has been reunited with her family.

We love welcoming our human fans into our “home,” too! On Saturday, December 10, from noon to 3 p.m., we are holding our first-ever Holiday Open House, an afternoon filled with cookies, hot chocolate, and guided tours to meet our farm animal friends. Attendees are invited to bring gifts for the animals and put them under Heartland’s holiday tree. Gift ideas can be found on our Sanctuary Wish List or on our Amazon Wish List where you can purchase a gift for Heartland and it will be mailed directly to us. Just visit, click on the Wish List tab, select “Find a Wish List or Registry,” and type in “Heartland Farm Sanctuary” for the wish list. When you select Heartland as your charity, we’ll receive an additional donation from Amazon at no additional cost to you.

We’re also offering opportunities for businesses and individuals to sponsor (and decorate!) a holiday tree in our arena for $100. Those interested in sponsoring can email Jamie Monroe at The Holiday Open House will be serving as our only public tour in December, so be sure to buy tickets ahead of time on our website.

beauGiving Tuesday, a day of sharing donations in response to the spending taking place on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, helped us to create an even warmer and fuzzier home for our animals. Our members raised a total of $6,711.35, which was incredibly close to our goal of $7,000. The donations are going toward hay that’ll be used for food (a main food source for many of our residents in the cold months) and straw for bedding and insulation. We are incredibly grateful to our supporters.

If Heartland seems like a second home to you, we welcome you to attend one of our two upcoming Volunteer Information Sessions, taking place on December 13 and January 17. Meet us at 6 p.m. at the barn.

Some of our volunteers are sharing their homes with our chicken pairs and groups. They’ve started leaving the barn to go to what we call their decidedly warmer “winter accommodations.” Those birds are pretty spoiled during their “hotel stays,” and we so appreciate our dedicated volunteers who take them in.

At Heartland, home for us is our group of tireless volunteers, the supporters who come to our events, and of course, the amazing animals who reside here. We feel honored to be able to help these wayward and displaced creatures find a home of their very own.