This post is focused on sanctuaries mainly for animals that aren’t conventionally seen as “pets” because, while there is a fair bit of attention on saving animals like cats and dogs, often times other animals' welfare is treated as less valuable. That being said, there are a lot of amazing people in the area that commit so much money, time and energy to create homes for all kinds of animals. If you want to support a sanctuary you can help by donating or volunteering. Many sanctuaries even welcome visitors, so you can have the very rewarding experience of meeting the lucky animals.
I would love to make this a growing resource so if you know of other animal sanctuaries in the area please let me know!
But without further a due here is a rough round-up of some animal sanctuaries near Hamilton.
|A happy pig in the sun at Ruby Ranch|
Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary, just outside Stratford, (about a 1 1/2 hour drive from Hamilton) is home to hundreds of rescued farm animals. They have an animal sponsor program and welcome guests to come on a "working visit" (contact them to set one up). They're also hosting an open house on Saturday, June 23rd, 2012 from 11am-3pm which will not only be a chance to see the farm but also to hear animal advocate Rob Laidlaw read from his book Saving Lives and Changing Hearts. For more info visit www.cedarrow.org
Cobble Hills Farm Sanctuary in St. Mary’s, ON (about a 1 ½ hour drive from Hamilton) focuses mostly on providing a home for ex-battery hens. They give youth who are crown wards an opportunity to volunteer to care for chickens. People interested in supporting the sanctuary can volunteer their time on one of their work days, sponsor an animal through a monthly donation, make a monetary donation, or donate an item on their wishlist. For more info visit www.cobblehillsfarmsanctuary.com.
Ruby Ranch, in the Arthur/Mount Forest area (about a 1 1/2 hour drive from Hamilton), focuses mostly on rescuing pigs- from pot bellies to giant factory farmed pigs. They welcome monetary donations (through a single donation, or through sponsoring a pig) and also have a wishlist of items. They hold volunteer days (I went to one! It was fantastic!) and one of their goals is "to always welcome visitors". Contact info and more on their website: www.rubyranch.ca.
Snooter's Animal Sanctuary, outside Stratford (about a 1 1/2 hour drive from Hamilton) is a forever home for cows, cats, dogs, horses, sheep, chickens, peacocks and pigs. They welcome cash donations, and have a wishlist of items. They also have a small online store of animal books, movies, merchandise and more. They're holding an open house on July 14th 12-5pm and a volunteer day on October 20th. For more info check out www.snootersforeverhome.com and their facebook page.
Story Brook Farm Primate Sanctuary, in Sunderland (about a 2 hour drive from Hamilton) is a home just for primates. They aren't open to the public but are welcoming volunteers (pre-registration required) for a build day Saturday June 23 - 10AM-4PM and are holding two open houses: one on Sunday July 15, and another on Sunday August 26th (click through the links for tickets). They welcome monetary donations, and have a sponsor a monkey program. They even sell the paintings by one of their resident monkeys named Pockets Warhol! Take a look at Pockets' works here and check out his facebook page too.
The Donkey Sanctuary in Guelph Ontario (just over half an hour away from Hamilton) has saved over 100 donkeys, hinnies and mules by providing them with foster homes or caring for them at the sanctuary itself. The Sanctuary welcomes visitors Wednesdays and Sundays, from 10am to 4pm, from May to October, admission being just a small donation ($7 for adults). They encourage visitors to meet the donkeys, brush them, learn about them and see how they're cared for. The sanctuary welcomes volunteers and donations(of money as well as items on their wishlist). They also have a sponsor program. Learn more on their Help Us Page. For more information about the Sanctuary check out their website.
And that's all the local sanctuaries I know of at the moment. I'm sure there's more, and will post again when I have more information, so please do email me if you know of another.
It takes an incredible amount of on going work and commitment to run sanctuaries so that animals have a home where they are safe from abuse and neglect. If you have money to donate, remember that every bit will help make a difference in an animal's life. If you have the time to visit or volunteer at a sanctuary-do it! It is a rewarding and memorable experience to be able to spend time with the individual animals and see how unique and deserving they really are. Seeing animals enjoying affection and spending time out in the sun is so precious and uplifting- especially when you know that without the sanctuary their lives would be very different.