When I first told some people who were unfamiliar with Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary, what a work visit involved, I received some strange looks. They couldn't understand why I loved it so much, especially considering that it involves cleaning out the barns. I'm not sure if you can fully understand what it's like to be at a farm sanctuary until you visit one for yourself, but I intend to convey in this post, why I believe compassion lives there.
Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary, located just outside Stratford, Ontario, is a place of hope for animals rescued from the abuse, neglect, and slaughter found on meat, milk, and egg farms. The Sanctuary was founded and is cared for by the Poole Family (Siobhan, Pete, and their two kids Cicada and Patrick). The sanctuary has been open since 1999 and at this year's open house they celebrated 15 years of providing a home and caring for rescued animals.
My first visit to Cedar Row was in June 2012. At that time one of the first animals I met, was a pig Seamus. He was much smaller at the time and I immediately fell in love with him and how he would roll over to have his belly rubbed. This was my first time since possibly pre-school where I remember being so close to pigs. I remember thinking to myself how similar his characteristics and behavior were to a dog. This is one of the things that makes visiting a sanctuary so impactful, you have the chance to interact with animals that are normally not accessible as they are of course primarily located on farms where they are raised and used for human consumption. Thankfully some of these animals are able to be rescued and call a farm sanctuary their home. You also get to see the compassion and dedication the Poole family has for these animals and keeping the sanctuary open and running.
Once the work portion of the visit is done, it's time to dig into the all vegan potluck and socialize with all of the other volunteers. I've met so many amazing people through the visits and tasted a whole lot of yummy food!
After the work visits, I often leave feeling like my "cup" (and belly) is full. You can visibly see and experience the difference this place has on these animals' lives.
It's not only a happy place for these animals, but a happy place for those that visit. This is a place I encourage everyone to visit and experience for themselves. It's a chance to give back, help animals, connect with other like minded people and eat yummy vegan food of course. Take a peek at the event calendar on their website cedarrow.org or visit them on Facebook to see when their next work visit is.
Have you ever visited a farm sanctuary? What was the most impactful experience for you?