The red sign at the top of the winding road says “Animal Haven,” but everyone who comes here knows the sanctuary for farm animals is a refuge for humans, too.The Animal Haven complex, off Tunnel Road near the VA Hospital, with its creek and pretty red wood buildings, is like a storybook farm in the middle of the city.
Co-founders Barbara Bellows and Trina Hudson dreamed of creating a sanctuary for farm animals, who often suffer cruelty and abandonment. In 1999, they were given land on which to build a refuge. “Ninety-three animals live here now,” says Barbara. “Sheep, goats, cats, chickens, ducks, 18 pigs, one rabbit, three permanent dogs and two who are ready to be adopted.”
With so many animals, how can everything possibly get done? “A solid core of dedicated volunteers,” says Trina. “About 50 of them, now our friends, keep us going.”
Animal Haven receives no funding from city, county or state. For years, they had a thrift store in the living room of their small house. “Last year another dream came true,” says Trina, “when the new thrift store opened in its own building.” A comfy, well-lit place with plenty of parking, the store is already known by bargain hunters for having “the best stuff in town.”
After long days hauling food, fixing fences, tending sick animals and gathering eggs from the free-range chickens and ducks, what do Barbara and Trina talk about at the end of the day? “Nothing much,” Trina laughs. “We’re too tired.”