Helping a Sanctuary from the Ground Up: Part 1

Picture courtesy of Arthur’s Acres on Instagram

OK, so this is going to be a little different than the posts I have done in the past that were one and done subjects.  This is going to be a series of my journey, or more accurately Todd’s journey from my perspective, of helping a brand-new animal sanctuary from the ground up.  This series will focus on Arthur’s Acres Animal Sanctuary and all the wonderful experiences that helped me grow as a person and a vegan, but most importantly, helped the lives of many animals with terrible pasts. The reason it is broken up into a series, is that I just have too much to write for just one post because this has been an amazing journey so far. If I made one giant post, it would feel like reading a term paper rather than a light blog post. But enough of that: let’s get to the good stuff!

Part 1: The Beginning

October 13th, 2018 is a day that I will never forget.  This was the first day I stepped foot on the new sanctuary, Arthur’s Acres. On this day there was only one rescued resident, a cranky rooster named Charlie, who was abandoned by the previous owner.  The namesake for the sanctuary (Arthur) was still living at Skylands Sanctuary and there were two beautiful girls (Vivian and Fay) getting their final checks with the vet, before they could come.  All of this hinged on Todd getting this property ready for Arthur’s arrival.

That’s what I was doing there that October day, helping get this sanctuary livable and safe for the future nonhuman residents. I rebuilt hinges for 3 metal gates that were in shambles from poor care (once again from the neglectful past owner) with the help of Tony, a tremendous activist from North Carolina. The work was humble, but also crucial; so, Tony and I painstakingly made sure that these gates would hold back a 700+ pound pig. This was probably the first time in my life I was actually thankful for all those projects around the house, my dad forced me to work on while I was growing up.  All that experience handling different tools came in handy (get it!) on this day, and many future days at the sanctuary.


I have been volunteering at animal sanctuaries for over two years, and to say that this was one of the most fulfilling days of my volunteering life, is a huge understatement.

As Todd gave me the tour of the entire 70+ acre property in desperate need of some TLC, I had one thought…”This place is going to be amazing!” There was so much untapped potential in this property and 5 months later the transformation has been incredible. Starting with building gates, I have aided in carpentry projects, fence building/reinforcing, demolition, and ultimately transforming a place of incredible pain and sadness into a sanctuary. I like to think that my greatest contribution to this place has been the physical and emotional support of the founder, Todd.

That is the first important aspect of being a part of this project from the beginning.  Over the last 3 years, Todd has become one of my closest friends, and like any good friend, I wanted to make myself available for him whenever he needed me.  Whether that meant fixing up the barns, aiding sick animals (more on that in a later post), or just hanging out with him in the company of pigs, chickens, dogs, and cats. Perhaps the hardest part of founding a sanctuary is the fact that you are on an island and all the responsibilities fall on your shoulders. This can be the most fragile time in the sanctuary’s lifespan, and there is a real possibility that founders can burn out from the constant stress from caregiving, fundraising, and taking care of themselves. Which is why I felt it was important to be there as much as possible to help take some of the load off Todd’s shoulders. I was not alone in doing so, which has led me to meet some amazing people, be part of unforgettable experiences, and grow closer to my friend and to the animal rights cause.

I will end it here for this post. To find out more about these amazing people and experiences, stay tuned for the next few weeks as I unveil more and more about my experiences with Arthur’s Acres.

But I will not leave you hanging for some adorable pictures of the residents, so here is a small taste of the cuteness yet to come!

As always, Thanks for stopping by



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