Most animals who come to live at SASHA Farm Animal Sanctuary have not had an easy life. Equines have come with sway backs and overgrown hooves. Pigs have come overweight to the point they cannot walk. We have welcomed run-away cows, and goats with sawed-off horns. They all come with no trust of people and it can take years for these animals to trust us.
Izzy was no different. Izzy came from a puppy mill in northern Michigan. As a Great Pyrenees, she was constantly bred in horrific conditions for her “financially lucrative” pups. Never given a break and kept in a small, dirty cage, she was bred, delivered puppies, had them taken from her too soon, bred again, and again, and again.
Izzy was approximately four years of age when she was rescued and came to live at SASHA Farm. She received immediate medical care and lots of love. Unfortunately, one of her eyes had to be removed due to the lack of medical care she received while at the puppy mill. Her suffering was officially gone because we were not going to let her be trapped or bred again. Izzy’s happiness while running and playing in the large pastures at SASHA Farm made everyone smile.
In no time, Izzy became the guardian of the gate at SASHA Farm. Her instincts blossomed and she was protector of the sheep, goats, and people – whether they wanted it or not. She loved any toy she was given. Sometimes she loved toys by destroying them. Sometimes she loved toys by tossing them in the air and pouncing on them. Her mood dictated how the toy would be loved.
After her position as “Gate Guardian” was secure, she expanded her farm role to include “Produce Taster”, “Play Police”, and “The Paw”. Izzy made sure the produce being fed to all the residents was fresh and delicious. When other animals played, she stood watch until she decided that they had played long enough. “The Paw” was Izzy’s signature move. Simply put, Izzy told everyone when they were allowed to stop petting her. If someone stopped prematurely, that person got “The Paw”.
Time crept on and Izzy began having difficulty walking and breathing. In late March, Izzy passed away, surrounded by those who loved her. She is now at the Rainbow Bridge and she is joined there by some of her pups. She gets to spend time with them and play without the confines of a dirty cage.
We love you and miss you, Izzy. You are now the Gate Guardian at the Rainbow Bridge. Do what you do best – protect, love, and play.
SASHA Farm on CW50's Street Beat
SASHA Farm Board President Bob Harvie and Board Treasurer Marilyn Groves Royle speaking about the sanctuary on CW50's Street Beat
On March 12, SASHA Farm Animal Sanctuary Board President, Bob Harvie, and Board Treasurer Marilyn Groves Royle, spoke with CW50's Street Beat about the sanctuary and the animals we care for.
You can watch Bob and Marilyn's segment here
|Volunteer Spotlight on Katie Eory
Note to our readers: Volunteer Spotlights will become a regular feature in our future newsletters. The animals already know how great our volunteers are, but we want you to know them too!
What brought you to SASHA Farm Animal Sanctuary?
I saw an advertisement for SASHA Farm Animal Sanctuary in VegNews magazine back in 2010. I had just learned that farm animal sanctuaries were actually a thing and was so excited to discover there was one just 30 minutes from me. I was a new vegan looking for community and an opportunity for service work with rescued animals.
What has been your most meaningful experience at the Sanctuary?
Each rescued animal at SASHA is a miracle, but the ones that were the most impactful to me are the 100 layer hens SASHA took in as part of a multi-sanctuary, cross-country rescue in 2013 that saved thousands of lives
. Through videos taken by the organization that facilitated the rescue, we were able to see their journey. I was there the night they finally arrived at SASHA, and the teamwork shown by the volunteers mixed with the emotional homecoming was a beautiful, new experience. Once each hen was health-checked and settled into the barn, the volunteers sat among the hens and just watched them. Monte broke the silence with, “Well, this is what it’s all about.” It was the simplest way to convey the most profound feeling. That is my dearest SASHA memory.
Do you have a favorite animal on the Farm? If so, who and why?
I’m head over heels for roosters! Ray Rooster is the one who turns my heart to mush. He’s a big, sweet guy who lost his vision a few years ago. I remember what it was like helping him through that transition, and I love to watch him today, with his confidence and willingness to accept a big hug. Blind animals have a special place in my heart.
When did you first develop a connection to animals or animal rights?
It happened when I learned about various forms of mutilation that animals routinely endure in factory farms, such as the tail-docking of piglets and the de-beaking of chickens. I was angry. How could we do this to them? How is this okay? That anger turned to empowerment and I vowed to learn as much as I could about what happens to “food” animals and to speak out against it.
What is your favorite vegan dish?
The best vegan dishes are those mainstream favorites that most people think vegans have to sacrifice. Nachos. Pizza. Mac n Cheese. These dishes, when made vegan, are often tastier and much healthier but still seem like guilty pleasures!
What do you like to do when you're not volunteering at the Farm?
I have three animals of my own at home, all with special needs. I love to be with them. I’m also a book nerd, and want to constantly be learning something new. If I could read and muck out barns at the same time, I’d be set! The goats would never approve this.
One Family's Love of Bhima & SASHA Farm
The Todd Family with Bhima, 2016
In 2016, the Todd family drove up from Chicago for our Humane Fair. Below, you'll read how visiting the sanctuary was a life-changing event for this compassionate family. We hope their story will inspire you to come out and meet Bhima-- and the other animals, too-- at one of our public events!
How did you first hear about SASHA Farm?
In Winter 2016, I came across a YouTube video, “Snuggling a 1,500 pound Basset Hound – Gary Yourofsky.”
This happened at the same time my husband, Michael, and I were exploring vegetarianism and veganism. It was fantastic to see beautiful Bhima… so gentle and loving. Gary made the connection of Bhima as an individual. Bhima stole our hearts right away. I knew we had to meet him and hug him one day, offering our love and humble wish to connect after consuming animals our entire lives. Our son, Will (age 7 at the time), had always been vegetarian. Michael and I took until just last year to make the connection with animals we saw as food to our beloved basset hound and cats. My family and I watched the rest of Gary’s series, enjoying and feeling uplifted by every one. Next, I started researching SASHA, looking for the opportunity to travel from Chicago, IL to visit in Summer 2016.
What did meeting Bhima mean for you and your family? Where there other animals you met that made an impression on you or your family?
Our hearts overflowed with love and gratitude for Bhima. He is an ambassador of love and gentleness. Will was in awe by how majestic and gentle he is. When I saw him, I was so moved by his presence and how everyone visiting that day just loved him. In spending time with Bhima, my heart released my past of considering animals for food… it just melted away. I knew I could never again consume or in any way exploit an animal ever again. Meeting Jefferson
, the cow, was profound, as well. His story of courage and freedom is very powerful. Seeing the individual being behind his eyes overcame me with joy and a fueled commitment in my animal activism. Jordan, the pig, was so welcoming and accepting of me, when at one point of his life people must have treated him horribly before finding his path to SASHA Farm. Telling him I loved him while giving my first official pig belly rub felt amazing. Will so enjoyed socializing with every goat and donkey resident. Since our visit to SASHA, he cannot wait to be around goats again!
What did visiting our sanctuary mean for you and your family regarding your veganism?
This visit was the first visit to a farm sanctuary for any of us. At this point, I had been vegan for 5 months, while Will (and now Michael) were living as vegetarians. Connecting with animals with this new commitment to kindness and compassion to ALL earthlings was cathartic. We saw these beautiful animals as individuals... beings that feel love, joy, fear, and pain, just like us. Profound desire to be the voice for animals as an activist grew even stronger! Visiting SASHA allowed us to renew our interconnection to animals, humans, and nature. We cannot wait to go back again!
What would you say to other parents thinking about bringing their kids to one of SASHA's public events?
I urge you to commit to an event this year to share this joy with your children! SASHA Farm allows you to meet the animals and share their stories. Spending time among them in their natural environment is just wonderful! Animals do not belong in captivity for us to observe. Instead, SASHA Farm brings people and animals together. Your children can experience firsthand what it is like to see farmed animals treated with unconditional love and compassion... I wish you and your family the pure love and interconnectedness experienced at SASHA!
Spring and Summer Public Tour Dates- RSVP Required
- Saturday, April 15th
- Sunday, June 18th
- Sunday, July 16th
- Sunday, September 17th
These dates are subject to change with advance notice.
Please RSVP to Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on his cell at (248) 842-5447. If you don't know Bob, he is a volunteer, who also leads the tours and chairs our Board of Directors.
The tours will begin at 11:00 am and conclude no later than 2:00 pm.
We are again suggesting a donation of $10.00 per person.
Events and Fundraisers
- Our Spring Social will be held on Sunday May 21st from 12pm to 4pm.
- Our Humane Fair will be held on Sunday August 13th from 12pm to 4pm.
We will be hosting our annual silent auction and vegan banquet on October 14th. The location, ticket price, and additional information will be shared soon. We are looking for items to be donated for this fundraising event. Please contact email@example.com if you have new, cruelty-free items that you would like to donate. We are accepting donations now!
We will have a table at VegFest in Novi, Michigan at the Suburban Collection Showplace on Sunday, April 30th.
We will have a table at the Walk & Wag event on Saturday, May 20th hosted by the Humane Society of Huron Valley.
We will have a table at the VegMichigan Summer Festival on Sunday, August 6th
SASHA Farm supporter Charles Leister is running a 50-mile race on September 8th to raise more for our animal residents. You can donate here.