Running an animal sanctuary is a labor of love. It requires countless hours of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. Knowing an animal sanctuary owner, I know she has poured her heart and soul into this for the past 20 years, investing over 1.5 million dollars, working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, and spending over $10,000 a month on feed, vet bills, and maintenance, paid 99% privately through her family that support the sanctuary.
But the reality of sanctuary life is not always visible on social media. You may see cute pictures of animals snuggling up to each other, but what you don’t see is the endless hours spent nursing sick animals back to health, the sleepless nights spent monitoring animals in distress, and the heartbreak of losing an animal despite her best efforts.
Running a sanctuary is not like running a zoo, where there are hundreds of employees and millions of dollars to play with. They rely on the generosity of volunteers and donors to keep the doors open and the animals cared for. And when an animal needs medical attention that costs tens of thousands of dollars, they do everything in our power to give them the care they need.
Make up your own mind
But sometimes, despite their best efforts, she still faces criticism and scrutiny from the public. When concerns are brought to her attention, she works with the authorities to address them and ensures that the animals are receiving the best possible care. She does this because she is committed to her mission of providing a safe haven for animals in need.
So, if you are considering volunteering or donating to an animal sanctuary, please understand that sanctuary life is not always easy. It requires hard work, sacrifice, and unwavering dedication. But it is also incredibly rewarding to see an animal who was once neglected or abused thrive under care.
Nature has its say and way
Working in an animal sanctuary exposes you to the raw and unfiltered reality of life. Every day, you are confronted with the truth, stripped of any veneer or facade. Yet, amidst the challenges and struggles, nature offers a valuable lesson – it operates on its own schedule, making its own decisions, without any need for human intervention. This humbling realisation reminds us that as humans, we do not hold authority over nature; we are merely a part of it, coexisting alongside its intricacies.
Nature seems to cast a knowing smile at us, recognizing our place in the grand scheme of things. It acknowledges us as we are, without any expectations or attempts to mold us into something we are not. Unfortunately, we don’t always afford animals the same courtesy. Far too often, we try to impose our own standards and expectations on them, disregarding their natural tendencies and instincts.
But the truth is, animals are just as much a part of nature as we are. They deserve our respect and admiration for the unique qualities they bring to the world. And in the sanctuary, we are privileged to witness these qualities firsthand, observing the beauty of each animal as they live and interact with their environment.
In the end, working in a sanctuary is a humbling experience that teaches us to appreciate the raw, unadulterated truth of life, and to recognize the beauty and worth of every living being, no matter their species or size.
As I reflect on the immense love and beauty of nature and its inhabitants, I am struck with a profound sadness. Our society has become so consumed by unrealistic standards that anything falling short of perfection is deemed unworthy and undeserving of our attention. Whether it’s elderly individuals forced into nursing homes or animals facing euthanasia, we have become a society that is quick to dismiss anything that doesn’t fit our idealized version of the world.
We can no longer bear to look upon anything that isn’t “perfect” or appears to be suffering. Our knee-jerk reaction is to push these uncomfortable realities away from us, so we don’t have to feel anything anymore. We retreat into our own lives of superficial sweetness, indifference, and a sense of “just holding on for the ride.”
But what does this say about us as a society? Are we so lost in our own world that we can’t be bothered to see and acknowledge the pain and struggles of those around us? Is our need for perfection so all-consuming that we are willing to sacrifice the beauty of imperfection and the lessons that come with it?
We are able to realise that true beauty lies in the imperfections of life, and that true strength comes from embracing them. It’s time to break free from our narrow-minded view of the world and open our hearts to the beauty of imperfection. Only then can we fully appreciate the beauty of nature and all that belongs to it, without fear or hesitation.
Animals, our true teachers
Animals can teach us valuable lessons if we are willing to listen. They possess their own wisdom, timing, and power over their lives and make their own choices accordingly.
Animals are part of nature, nature is not what we often think it is. Nature encompasses ALL. Beauty and ugliness is how a human mind classifies and separates but not nature, for nature it is one and all – equal. It sustains itself within its own energy level, everyone is welcome but no one is forced, convinced or coherced to join. There is wisdom and knowing that all is well in all of creation.
The next time you encounter an animal, would you be willing to look deeply into its eyes and just be with it for 5 seconds? Stop everything, do nothing, and not even think. It might be all that the animal needs to connect with you and give you a gift that you have yet to receive in your life.