All of my life, I have been an animal advocate. When I was little, I could be found in my fort, made of throw pillows off of the couch, surrounded by all of my stuffed animals with my doctor’s kit in hand. I would then proceed to cut all of the toe-ends of my socks off in order to make casts for the stuffed animals that came into my office, (yes, I was a veterinarian in my mind), with broken bones. This is where my love and curiosity of non-human animals started, but it is absolutely not where it ended.
Advocating for animals will always be something that I will continue to do. I have professionally and voluntarily worked with and for animals for over seven years. From dog trainer to humane educator and from volunteer coordinator to fundraiser, I have worked for animals. I say advocating for animals is working “for” them because I do what I do “for” the animals in order to strive to make the world a better place for them. It’s a huge part of what I want to do with the rest of my life: write on behalf of animals that cannot speak for themselves, live the most compassionate life that I can, and raise my son to also be the happiest and kindest person that he can be to all animals on the Earth.
After relocating to Charleston, South Carolina due to my husband’s job relocation, I immediately started searching for ways that I could be involved in helping animals. I started fostering animals from a local animal shelter, but I wanted to do more for those animals that weren’t helped by a normal animal shelter: farm animals. I quickly was introduced to Cotton Branch Farm Animal Sanctuary; a safe haven for farm animals. Not only was Cotton Branch a sanctuary for abused, abandoned, and neglected farm animals, but it also rescued and transported those animals, (whether the sanctuary could take them in or not), all while educating the community about these loving, peaceful creatures. I noticed Cotton Branch had reached out to volunteers in search for a freelance community writer and I knew that I had to respond. A few days later, I had talked with a board member and had made plans to make the drive to the sanctuary and meet the residents.
The whole three and a half hours driving to Cotton Branch, I was so happy. By the time that I got there, my face hurt from smiling. Nevertheless, I still continued to smile the entire time that I was there visiting with the residents. When I got there, I was greeted by Jan, (Cotton Branch’s Founder & Director), Jason, (Cotton Branch’s Director of Volunteer Engagement), and a few volunteers. Everyone was so friendly and warm. Jan proceeded to take me on a tour of Cotton Branch Farm Animal Sanctuary, introducing me to every animal residing at the sanctuary and telling me their names, characteristics of their personality, and background. Jan took me on this amazing journey into these animals’ lives and rescues as if I was there through all of it. Visiting the sanctuary had me overcome with emotion, to the point of tears because it was that life-changing.
Visiting Cotton Branch Farm Animal Sanctuary was so special for me and my son. My 14 month old son rode on my back in a baby carrier during the entire visit, in awe of all of the farm animals that he had never seen before. One of the many moments that were special during our time at the sanctuary was when Beau first saw Freckles, the magnificent cow that resides at Cotton Branch. Beau made eye contact with him and Freckles leaned in for a kiss just as Beau leaned in for one. It was precious and filled my heart with joy.
Even though Beau is so young, I can tell that he makes the connection that animals are our friends and being kind to them is the only way that we should be toward them. Living a compassionate lifestyle is something that my family does because it is not only kind to our bodies, minds, and souls, but the kindest option for the animals and the planet. Cotton Branch Farm Animal Sanctuary is peace on Earth for all of these residents, as well as a magical place for people to come and connect on a deeper level with these gorgeous, smart, magnificent beings.
Please consider visiting, volunteering your time, or donating to this wonderful organization that helps so many animals, as well as people. Cotton Branch is truly changing the hearts and minds of people every day through continuous community outreach efforts, caring for its residents, tours at the sanctuary, rescues, and more. Continue to follow this blog for biographies on Cotton Branch’s residents, sanctuary updates, kind recipes, reviews on new, hot, cruelty-free products, tips on living a compassionate lifestyle, farm animal care and facts, and so, SO much more!
**Article also featured on http://www.cottonbranch.org/thebranch.