This special edition of Ruminations is brought to you by Goatlandia's Sanctuary Manager, Meagan Dallas. She is responsible for animal care, volunteer coordination, and other organizational aspects of the sanctuary. Meagan is an active advocate for animals of all species and is vegan.
Summer is approaching and the weather is heating up here!
We are so privileged to live in such a beautiful place. I spend a lot of my days in sweaty work clothes taking care of the rescue animals. I walk the pastures to refill water buckets, clean up after them, and give out medications. I also stop to make sure they get their chins scratched, backs rubbed, and ears pet. I think to myself ‘there is no where else I would rather be’. I wonder if the animals feel that way too. Like there is no where else they would rather be.
Our sanctuary is a place of refuge, where we value each individual and each life. We rescue animals from trauma situations, neglect, abuse, and some of the most horrific conditions one could be subjected to living in. I’ve been rescuing animals for a lot of years and I have learned a lot from them.
One of the most impactful lessons I have learned from rescue work is not about handling a large goat or administering a vaccination, but about the nature of love. For one, I learned that love is forgiving. So many of our animals arrive here and have only known fear and sadness. Oftentimes they have never felt kindness from a human being before. These rescue animals have taught me you can forgive and open your heart to love someone even after you have been wronged.
The rescue animals also taught me that love is brave.
So many of these animals have been abused and exploited by humans. Yet, they come back to us humans showing incredible levels of trust and vulnerability. How many of us would have that emotional courage? I aspire to do the same with people who have caused me harm or fear. To be brave enough to reconnect. To trust. To love.
The most important lesson I have learned from these rescue animals is that love is forever. The connections we form with other beings, human and nonhuman, those go to the core of who we are. My heart is completely filled with faces of animals I have known over the years. Some who I see every day at Goatlandia, some who have found incredible forever homes, and some who have since passed away. Those connections will endure forever because our love is true.
I don’t know enough about animal psychology to know if our animals can truly comprehend their luck in landing at this small farm animal sanctuary in California, but, I do know that they feel happy and loved here. I know that they have been rescued, and through that process, I have been rescued too.