Meet Our Sanctuary Residents
We are grateful to the photographers whose pictures grace this page (Conner Frey, Mark Wakeman, Sharol Hall, Roby Snyder, board members, and volunteers). A very special thank you to One Heart Wild VP Brenda Newell, she has spent countless hours photographing our nonhuman Sanctuary friends.
Because of the talent and passion of so many creative people, we are able to put this tribute together with photos that capture the essence of our four legged and feathered inter-species family. They are the foundation - our teachers and friends - for all that we do and the services that we provide.
We are forever grateful for their willingness and ability to bring out the best in our human species.
"The assumption that animals are without rights and the illusion that our treatments of them has no moral significance is a positively outrageous example of western crudity and barbarity. Universal compassion is the only guarantee of morality." Arthur Schopenhauer
Our oldest mare, April was born on April 3, 1991. She was our first mare and, oh, what a lovely, sweet and spicy friend she has become. She wasn't coming to stay....she was coming to heal and then sold to a new home. Her arrival at our sanctuary enabled her to do a great deal of emotional and physical healing. All four of her feet were excruciatingly painful, she had a bad infection on her lower leg and she was depressed, seriously depressed. She had been hurt by humans and other horses and she checked out.
No one liked her when she came, there was nothing there to connect to. She required a lot of care, some of it painful, and through it all, she never once acted out in any way to put us at risk. The first vet who worked on her commented on her willingness to be helped, in-spite of her pain.
When she had healed enough for her owner to sell her, we couldn't let her go. We paid the fee, and from that moment on, she was HOME...she was loved, and she has been the best girlfriend, mentor, maternal presence one could ever hope for.
Today she is the rock of our animal assisted work and she shines when bus loads of children come to learn about empathy. She is also very opinionated about how her life needs to be. We love that about her! She has also become an integral part of the domestic group of horses here, a situation that she could not tolerate when she first arrived.
She is most deer like when out and about on the property, she not only sees what is on the ground but scans above her head as well. The birdfeeder was a pleasant reward that no other horse has found. April loves bananas, interrupting office work by peering through windows, and generally sharing her opinion of all things great and small.
April’s colt born May 26, 2008. Regal, smart, sensible, sweet love, runs like the wind, rears like his momma, high play drive, brave and very careful and smart with his body – from day one. He is a brilliant teacher of how a social facilitator operates and connects. He has a few quirks, likely from his quirky mom April, but tempered by his relationship with Holly, Sierra, Skye and Homer. Izzy has stepped in to the ranks of his best buddy group as well.
Johnny and April had a rough start together. His birth was difficult and caused physical injury to April. He was slow to get on his feet and slow to nurse but once all systems were sorted he was a firecracker. April, a first time mom in her 20s, was learning under fire how deal with a raucous and mostly sweet little boy horse. As much of a handful as Sierra was, Johnny added rough and tumble jumping, body slamming joy to the picture. Many of our funny April stories are all about how she found her way through parenting as a princess who we believe just longed for a nanny.
Johnny has benefited from his stable social horse group and he, like Sierra, has lived a life free from human caused trauma. No training at two years old, no pressure to be anything but Sweet Love Johnny!
The Bay Connection
April, Johnny and Izzy are very bonded.
Montana ~ An Epic Journey of Love & Trust
Montana is the horse who started it all. The first horse we adopted, the one who challenged everything we thought we knew about horses, the one who never settled for anything less than us showing up with an open heart and willingness to try and understand Who He Was and Is!
Very often, our most important lessons in life, are unexpected, very challenging, and often painful. Montana started his life as a "grade" (throw away) companion for a thoroughbred who was a hopeful racer. Both horses were babies, both suffered neglect and judging from the behaviors of both horses when they arrived here, abuse as well. Montana's friend moved on to a thoroughbred rescue and we began our journey together.
When everything you know isn't enough, when the pain of someone you love is so evident and yet so out of reach for you to fix, you have two choices. Give up or Grow! We never gave up and today, Montana is such an important part of everything we do, teach, and believe in.
For those of us who work with him in animal assisted sessions, he is fondly called "The Magician" because of the incredible breakthroughs and relational experiences people have with him. He can big and bold, kind and patient, and sometimes obnoxious, and also the first guy we call on when we have a vulnerable client who needs a careful hand.
He is also known for his incredible intelligence. There isn't a lock or gate latch he hasn't figured out. Many defy logic because he doesn't have fingers for the complicated task. Teeth and lips work just fine! Once he is free, he often opens the gates of other horse residents...because he can!
Our journey together has been incredible and hard and so meaningful.
Montana inspecting the Nitmitz Volunteers Handiwork
The boys ~ This day they were the building inspectors!
"Life is as dear to a mute creature as it is to man. Just as one wants happiness and fears pain, just as one wants to live and not die, so do other creatures." His Holiness The Dalai Lama
Sweet, big, lovable Jet will steal your heart and calm your mind in a moment's worth of cuddling. He and his brother Buddha are very special, know the sound of the refrigerator opening, knives cutting fruit and veggies, and the crinkle of food wrappers, and they "wheek" excitedly to ask for a treat. Excellent partners in helping clients relax, breathe deep, and awaken their curiosity about another species. Unfortunately, too many small nonhuman animals like these are seen as little more than passing fancy. We never stop to consider that they, like us, want a happy life that is suitable to their species and that they feel many of the same emotions we feel.
Sadly, our friend Buddha passed away on December 2, 2015. Although we are uncertain what caused his death, based on his prior happy, healthy, active behavior and eating, it appears it was a sudden onset of something like a heart attack or stroke. We are very sad that he has passed and feel great empathy for Jet. His grief was expressed by the changes in his behavior and lack of eating, drinking and joyful "wheeking." Grief takes time and for Jet, it was a long time.
When the time was right, we reached out to rescue organizations to find him a new companion, honoring the fact that all social animals need social contact with their own species. Bennie came to live at the Sanctuary a couple months later.
Bennie was a pet store purchase as a baby with another guinea pig. The pig he lived with died and his human commuted to Seattle, leaving him alone all day and sometimes for days. He was still a baby when he came and Jet was still grieving. It took quite some time for the boys to bond. In the meantime, Arrya stepped right up and mothered that little pig as if he were her own. They have remained an odd little pair that makes perfect sense to them.
Bennie and Arrya Inter-species Friendship
Mooshi was the pig who started our love affair with pigs! She went to college with a OHW family member to help ward off being homesick. Home for the holidays and when her human was studying abroad, we fell in love with her and five years later, Mooshi moved in as a permanent resident. She and Sweet Pea have been friends for many years and they are now OHW Animals and Empathy ambassadors together, visiting students in the classroom and teaching them about guinea pig needs, personalities, and care requirements.
Sweet Pea Cuddling High School Students
Sunny & Copper Bunnies
Sunny found her way here by accident as a little bunny headed for life in a breeding barn, confined to a cage not large enough for her to stand up in. She showed up the day our good friend Homer horse passed away. She moved in to the house and we fell in love with her. Being sensitive to the fact that all social animals need social company of their own kind, we wanted Sunny to pick a friend to share her life with. We took her to a bunny rescue where she got to hop around and meet the bunnies looking for a forever home. She chose Copper. Sunny was spayed and Copper moved in as soon as she was ready for company. They are the best of friends and spend their time in and out of their cage with the dogs and cats, in and out of the pots on the deck and laying around grooming each other. Bunny Bonds Are Deep!
Bear & Tigger Kitties
These two brothers were adopted from the Humane Society in 2001. They have been an integral part of our inter-species family, getting along with everyone; chickens, dogs, horses, goats, guinea pigs and bunnies. Bear passed in 2016 but Tigger is still enjoying all that Sanctuary life offers him.
Tigger and Sparky have seen the coming and going of all of the Sanctuary residents to date. He loves to follow visitors and clients around the property with Grace and when he needs a senior break he can be found straddling the top rail of the front yard fence, a classic Tigger picture.
He enjoys participating in client sessions, workshops, and training events. A verysocial, kind, loving guy we all adore.
Tigger Enjoying Being Read To...
Our Animals & Empathy elementary program includes the students visiting the Sanctuary at the end of classroom sessions. One of their classroom activities is to write a story about one of the Sanctuary residents they learned about and then read it to them during their field trip. Many children read to the animal whose story touches some aspect of their own (friendship, grief, trauma, healing, hope). Learning to take the perspective of another and act compassionately is one of the goals of Animals & Empathy. There are no better teachers than our fellow animal and their parallel life stories.
In 2015 a local dog rescue posted the story of a litter of pups and their mom that were rescued from CA after being found in a ditch with a dead adult dog. The pups were infested with several types of parasites and would not have survived without human intervention. We fostered the pups for several weeks and fell in love with them all. Arrya and her sister stayed in the One Heart Wild family and enjoy several visits each year full of sister love and play.
Arrya has a very maternal side to her, and like Grace, shows unique patience and kindness towards the small animals and birds. She and Bennie the guinea pig have a special connection. She also has a herding side to her and she is still working on peaceful coexistence with the big animals. She is improving with maturity...as we all do. : )
Arrya's Mother and Siblings
This picture was taken when mom and babies were found in CA with a dog that had died. Mom has a forever home with the family who brought her to WA. Her name is Dixie and she is much loved by her human family.
Arrya with April...she is growing up and loving her work at the Sanctuary
There's Something Very Special About This Friendship
Grace & The Foster Puppies
Gracie was a tolerant Auntie when her home was invaded by 5 foster puppies who demanded everyone's attention and extra care for weeks. Their mom and siblings were found in a ditch in CA with a deceased adult dog. They came to WA by way of a rescue organization. They most certainly would not have lived without intervention. They were very sick with a heavy load of several different types of parasites. Happily, all the puppies found forever homes, two of them, Arrya (middle) and Sage (left), within the One Heart Wild family.
Grace doesn’t have an adoption story, hers is a human rescue story and a testament to the synchrony and comfort our bond with other animals can be. Drea’s 98 year old grandmother in Montana was in decline and dying in 2006. While spending the final weeks of her life with her, and grieving the eminent loss of one of the most important people in her life, Corgi puppies were being advertised in the local paper.
With three dogs at home, a new puppy wasn’t in the plan but Grace WAS in the plan. The breeder said that one puppy wasn’t quite right, her eye was lazy and she suggested not considering that pup. That was the only pup I saw and I picked her up days later to share my drive back to WA. We didn’t make it out of MT before a uterine infection created the need for an emergency stop at a vet. Caring for her helped me move through my grief.
Her name, Grace, in honor of how my grandmother lived and left her life, is how Grace has lived hers. She befriends every human and nonhuman animal who comes to the Sanctuary with special patience for the chickens, bunnies, and guinea pigs. Grace is the heart of the Sanctuary and she is represented on the logo to honor her contribution to our mission.
Social Mammals Are Hard Wired for Loving Our Babies
The horses left to right: Skye King, Sierra (blaze), Holly and Johnny (rear end to us).
Skye and Holly came to us through a breeder who was having serious medical problems and was beginning to disburse the herd. We visited the herd and started to keep a close eye on the horses we considered most at risk of finding good homes due to age or physical or emotional health problems. We purchased four horses in an effort to save them from uncertain futures.
This picture is important in telling the story of how we humans rarely consider the cost to the nonhuman animals that we breed for show or profit. Year after year the females are impregnated, give birth, love and nurture their babies and then we take them from them, too early and without a thought for the pain the female suffers emotionally and physically. We also don't consider the attachment wounds, separation anxiety, PTSD and suffering we cause for the babies.
In the picture above, Holly is allowing Johnny to nurse. Sierra was not happy about sharing her mommy's milk? She tried every threat and tactic she could think of to keep him from nursing, all the while Holly did everything she could to nurture and encourage him. Holly's maternal instincts, kindness, compassion, and empathy are part of who she is. What must it have been like for a mother of this caliber to lose her babies after only four or fewer short months together, year after year - a most unnatural and heartbreaking predicament?
"Non-violence leads to the highest ethics, which is the goal of all evolution. Until we stop harming all other living beings, we are still savages." Thomas A. Edison
Born May 19, 2005. A quarter horse breeder in Montana was beginning to disburse their herd due to health issues. We were closely following a few mares that were most at risk and yet, somehow, the first horse that came from that dispersal was Skye, a two year old gelding who hadn't been a consideration.
When he arrived he was literally covered in ticks, bite marks, and he was sick. He had stripes down his hind legs from chronic diarrhea for nearly a year no matter what we tried. We will never know for sure what was causing his physical problems, they eventually subsided and he was been a healthy guy ever since.
We are curious about the psychological costs he paid being the only young male among thirty broodmares; this is very unnatural and most certainly affected his social development and likely exposed him to a lot of stress. The bite marks all over him were likely due to mares who grew impatient with the rough play of a young colt.
When Johnny came along a couple of years later, Skye finally got to experience being a young male horse - rough housing and playing within a group of different aged geldings and mares. He is kind, quiet, patient, and a dedicated energy conservationist. He is also very social. It was hard to find a photo of him that didn't include Johnny, a client or volunteer.
Johnny & Skye ~ Best Friends for Life
Skye King Soaking Up Some Loving
Learning an Inter-species Language in Sanctuary
Arrya puppy is learning how to be in relationship with all kinds of nonhuman and human animals respectfully. It is a patient process to teach her and we all play our part.
Clara chicken and Arrya have a particular attraction to each other and Clara occasionally has to teach Arrya about acceptable behavior and boundaries.
Clara's life was at risk because she was laying soft shelled eggs. When we went to get her, she was living in an over crowded hen house and was being picked on by the other hens. New young chicks were being added to an already crowded environment. Even though Clara allowed herself to be packed around by careless young humans and was part of the "family," she was no longer useful.
Since her arrival at the Sanctuary she has not layed a soft shelled egg. She is a sensitive and shy chicken and has difficulty with the chaos of too many birds and the stress of figuring out where her place is. Over time, she has made a few safe hen friends and we allow her to decide what she needs to do for herself to feel safe. Some nights she chooses not to go in to the coop and instead spends the night in a safe cage in the garage. Some nights she feels safe to cozy up in the coop with the other hens. We just follow her lead and as she requests and we are noticing her confidence increase.
All of our hens are adopted or rescued. Many no longer producing eggs or have slowed down and therefore are no longer worthy of care in their previous life with humans. We think wise women of all species are incredibly integral to the stability and wholeness of a community. We are grateful for our seniors.
June of 2016 we were contacted by a breeder who had a 5 week old chick she needed to rehome. The chicks momma hen dutifully sat on her eggs for 21 days and then tragically killed the babies as they started to emerge. This chick was saved and lived in the house in a box for weeks; anxious, vocal, desperate for care that the human couldn't accommodate. Within hours of his arrival at OHW, attempting to attend to his ceaseless crying when alone for any amount of time, we brought two new chicks in to give him the social contact he needed.
The chicks, Aspen and Cedar, were a couple of weeks younger and much smaller so it was risky. We set up a large cage in the office with a divider between them thinking proximity through a safe fence would allow them to get to know each other. He paced the divider, calling anxiously. We thought the anxious behavior was temporary but it wasn't, he was over the top, squeezing through a three inch gap, before an hour had passed...only then did Peace reign.
He was bigger than both of them put together. Emotionally he was way behind the girls. He slept with them, ate with them, followed them around and freaked out when they started doing more sophisticated behaviors like rolling and bathing in the shavings, jumping up on the roost and off again, exercising their legs and wings, and jumping out of and back in to the coop from the office floor.
Soon little practice crows sounded off from the office making his gender known. The threesome were a little family. He learned from them and they provided him comfort and the social contact he craved. At 6 months old they moved to a coop outside and we envisioned they would stay together as a little flock. That was not to be, Phoenix's early anxiety was blooming in to what parallels reactive attachment in humans and it was aimed at people and causing anxiety for the girls. Aspen started to mirror his attitude towards people and Cedar starting avoiding them both. We made the very difficult decision to begin integrating the sisters in to the flock.
Today, the sisters are happy and kind and are living a stable social life with their flock. They hang out with Phoenix daily but neither has a desire to move back in with him. Jade is the only hen who can handle his intensity and she chooses to spend time with him off and on. Quite remarkable considering she is a senior hen who herself can be a bit anxious.
Phoenix continues to be reactive in certain contexts and sweet in others. He has also continued to be a very vocal guy. He has connected strongly with one of our young clients and is a different bird in her presence. He remembers and recognizes her even when there are weeks between visits. His early life trauma has impacted him but he is healing and living a life that is as rich as we can provide. We are hopeful that age and maturity will make it possible for him to one day integrate in to the flock and be safe around people.
Phoenix before the sisters came
First Outing with the Sisters
Jadie Girl and Phoenix
How she ever decided that she would be safe with Phoenix is hard for us humans to understand. But she knew, and the first night she went in to his coop while he was out with us, sitting on our lap watching the flock, we didn't know if we should walk our talk and trust her choice or intervene because "we know what is best for her!" We checked in with her several times and her answer was always the same...she was staying.
Of course she knew what she was doing, we just had to follow her lead.
Aspen and Cedar
These girls have grown up to be lovely additions to the flock. It has been fun to watch the personalities develop from the time they were a few weeks old to now. Many of those early traits have remained. Aspen did everything first and if all went well, Cedar would eventually follow.
As bad as Aspen's behavior got during the time she was with Phoenix, she has become a hen who loves to have attention. She is happy to stand on a lap or knee and "study the human." She has always had a way of looking straight at you, with intent to discover something about you.
The sisters can always be seen together when they are out and about and have developed a very strange sleeping arrangement. They take turns sitting on top of each other like a momma hen would do for her chicks. At first we thought it was a fluke but after many nights checking and taking photos, we have confirmed that is a thing between the two of them.
Born May 19, 2000 – The first broodmare to come from the health dispersal in Montana and the one we were most concerned about. She had a hard life physically and emotionally. Her worth was solely based on her ability to produce a baby every year that was then taken from her well before it is natural to do so. Babies stay with their mother's herd for the better part of two years, some young mares for most of their lives. What we do in abruptly separating babies from their mother's is horrendous. Breeders of all species take what they want from the perpetual cycle of animals they produce in the ever present desire to create a "perfect" specimen, neglecting or worse, those that don't have that promise.
The life of a female in a breeding operation is about money and human ego; care is minimal to keep expenses down and profits up. In the range operation that Holly came from, the mares aren’t handled except for breeding or being impregnated, minimal routine or even emergency care is provided year after year. Holly first caught our eye because of her feet. She had been lame off and on her whole life. She has scars on her lower legs from being tied, probably to keep her from kicking a stallion she did not want to mate with. The year we saw her she had suffered the emotional and physical terror of being severely attacked by a stallion. The scars on her neck bare witness to that horror.
Holly arrived pregnant, within weeks of giving birth. Our empathy for her was immense. What must it be like to be that pregnant, in a new place, surrounded by strangers, weeks away from giving birth and having no idea if you were safe or not. Who were your allies? Did you have any here? No doubt these were thoughts she had.
We gave her space and time and kindness. She was a fundamentally kind mare, in spite of what humans had done to her. When she gave birth, she was dangerously protective for two weeks and we gave her as much privacy and protection as she needed to feel safe. Within a month, she was warm, kind, and generously sharing her little filly with us. We promised her she would never have to give up another baby. She was in Sanctuary. She would have a stable group of horses with her, including her daughter, for the rest of her life.
It is easy to imagine the anguish other social mammal mother's must go through in the process of having their babies taken from them year after year. It has to be a hopeless living hell.
We promised Holly this baby would stay with her for life.
"The worst sin towards our fellow creaturees is not to hate them but to be indifferent to them: that's the essence of inhumanity." George Bernard Shaw
Thankfully the way she got in, wasn't the way we got her out!
As Holly has grown to trust her life here at the Sanctuary she has shown us another special skill that she possesses...we think she may be part Labrador because she can smell food in places no horse would think to look. She puts herself in some pretty tight spots to get it too and is unflappable as she has to negotiate backing out of those tight spots....the garage, the feed rooms, and most recently, the chicken coop which required going in to the run, then stepping through the window and having her big quarter horse body fill the coop entirely while she put her nose in the feeders. Fortunately, she didn't have to back through the window to get out...although she probably could have done it!
Born May 23, 2008, just three days before Johnny.
Our intention with Holly’s arrival in foal and April’s pregnancy was to give the mares and foals as close to a healthy equine social group as possible under the constraints of captivity. Sierra’s birth was nature scripted and perfect. Holly was experienced and her little filly hit the ground feisty, sweet, spicy, athletic, coy, and confident.
After a couple of weeks, Holly started to settle in to her new home and by the time Sierra was born, she felt safe. This little equine dropped on the ground with confidence and it has been fascinating to see how an experienced, emotionally resilient mare encourages that confidence. Holly taught us so much.
Sierra can be as hot as a firecracker and as cool as a cucumber. As a youngster she found every place that she shouldn’t put her head and put it there with a couple of scars to prove it. She is a pistol and a love who has suffered no human caused trauma in her lifetime....a rarity between humans and horses.
Sierra knows the name we call her mother. When they are not together and we call Holly to come up to the barn from where ever she has wandered off to, Sierra immediately knows who we are calling. She gets excited and starts looking in the direction we are calling and she starts calling her too. These two have had a big impact on some of our clients needing to resolve their own mother/child challenges.
This Mother - Daughter Bond Runs Deep
Our first mini horse. We were called in by a veterinarian to help with two horses in need and we rescued Izzy and her Thoroughbred friend in the summer of 2011 from serious neglect. We were able to re-home the TB and he lived his the rest of his life being loved and adored.
Izzy it turned out was not really re-home-able because of her inability to get along with any other horses. She was overtly defensive with every horse she met at our sanctuary; on her hind legs, mouth open, teeth bared, never minding that she is a third the size of every horse here. We have no idea what her life was like prior to coming to live at One Heart Wild but her trauma was obvious; socially, emotionally, and physically. Her healing has been slow and profound and paralleled by our mini horse learning curve which has been steep and compelling.
She has found her place, has made two best friends and a couple of good friends within the group and she coexists with everyone else. Our lessons in Izzy School started the day we removed her from her neglect and asked her to get in the trailer. Let’s just say her answer was ‘hell no!” on that hot summer day and we had to dig deep to find successful communication – she was at liberty (we didn’t have a halter for her) so we did it on her terms. She has continued to demand her voice be considered and she has strong opinions about her life. We can relate!
We can't imagine the Sanctuary without her, she loves working with our clients, and has become an integral part of everything we do. She continues to teach us all that what you believe you can do, you can do...regardless of size or strength, boundaries matter A LOT, and cooperation happens within mutually respectful relationships. All of that and more from the smallest horse at the Sanctuary!
While Izzy has made friends in the herd, Montana has stolen her heart and their relationship has blossomed in to a love affair. Who can blame her?
Montana knows that connection happens when you get on the other's level.
Annie - The Softer Side
Born April 7, 2002. Annie eventually found her way to us but not without suffering major life trauma that included the death of her foal along with Rasa's. She escaped the pain by weaving or freezing. While Rasa was hyper reactive to her environment, Annie went the opposite direction and shut down deep within herself. She too would run to the end of the paddock, her body trembling, but not from a noise, those barely registered for her. It was always from something a human asked of her, even a simple “could you move a bit to the side” would send her in to a panic.
It took three years to see solid improvement in her and Rasa's emotional resilience. She has been slower to trust and to allow a connection to comfort her. Her emotions are written all over her face like we have never seen before. When she is experiencing a sense of safety, trust and connection, the photographs of her facial expressions are stunning. When she slips back into the place of frozen passive defensiveness and lack of emotional trust with humans, she literally looks like a different horse.
She too is a post traumatic stress survivor. Her weaving will still show up on occasion when she has difficulty processing her emotion but it is infrequent and easily soothed. She is finding her place, feeling connected and confident with the people and horses here at the Sanctuary. Her playful and intelligent nature is coming out in her ability to open locks, doors, latches and chest plow gates open. Isn't that great. ; ) She is also part of a tight knit social group we fondly call the "Power Squad" - she, Holly and Sierra.
Annie Enjoying the Peace in Sanctuary
Born March 28, 2001. Another broodmare from the medical dispersal in Montana. She and Annie spent a year on a breed lease in Wyoming before finding their way to our Sanctuary. She was a shattered mare, physically, medically, and emotionally, when we picked her up from the transporter to bring her home. She and Annie both had foals with contracted tendons, typically caused by a nutritional deficiency in the mares during pregnancy. A condition in our world that is very fixable, but in the world the babies were born in to, it was a death sentence handed out by humans. With no compassion for the mares and no opportunity for basic veterinary knowledge to give the babies a chance, human superiority won and the horses lost.
The mares were started under saddle during their time in Wyoming and clearly that human experience brought additional trauma. Rasa was so talented, the pressure was on to get her ready for Nationals, newly started under saddle, dominated, and pressured without an ounce of empathy, she was driven until her body broke down, her mind along with it, and her immune system followed. She was a very sick and very underweight shell of a horse when she arrived. Her post traumatic stress behavior was so severe the slightest sound out of the ordinary would cause her to nearly jump out of her skin and send her trembling to the opposite side of her paddock. Through attending to her veterinary needs, we discovered she has a painful degenerative tissue disease that will need special care for the rest of her life. We are very grateful to be part of an ongoing research protocol led by Dr. Kellon for Rasa's condition that includes how we manage her feet, a supplement regime, and pain medication for accute spells.
Because of her trauma and sensitive nature, her healing has been a very slow, quiet, and persistent process. She is one of the most expressive mares we have ever known and we are just barely at the tip of knowing what lies beneath the protective layers. She is an amazing passive, connected, unassuming intricate piece of the stable social domestic group.
When she came, we renamed her Tabula Rasa which means ‘clean slate’ and we started on that together. Her emotional healing has come full circle and she is often the first horse to step up to the gate for clients with trauma and anxiety. A huge turning point for her was befriending a very troubled mare that was transferred to us from the Humane Society. Rasa rose above her own challenges to support Mia through thick and thin, they moved from traumatic attachment to healthy best friends and taught us so much in the process.
Rasa didn't look back after Mia passed. She began experimenting with having an opinion, and it has been met with full acceptance. In that process of trusting her own voice and being respected, she blossomed yet again. Today you can see her squeal with joy and protest, choose the paddock she wants and refuse to accept anything less, and show up for clients with a knowing, open heart.
Trusting Humans Who Promise Not To Hurt Her
Rasa and Bailey during a ROOTS Institute Module
Bailey loved to be where ever the action was. She spent a lot of time in the arena with us during the final 2017 ROOTS module. the students, Rasa, Holly, April, and Izzy were all very aware that Bailey was choosing to be "with us" vs. just passing through or foraging.
Sparkle – AKA Sparky is at least 18 years old in 2017. The oldest on record with our veterinarian and he doesn’t appear to be going anywhere soon. Sparky looks like a sheep in the winter due to his angora roots and a goat in the summer due to his pygmy roots.
He grew up playing head butting games with the kids and still today can manage a good rise up and head butt on occasion. He has a human playmate or two that can bring out the young goat in him.
Today he spends most of his time at liberty looking for things that seem good to eat when nothing seems good to eat, sleeping in the sun, hanging out with Izzy and napping, and occasionally chatting with April, literally. Sparky has seen it all, he is the last of the original nonhumans who came to the property that is now One Heart Wild.
Years ago, he lost his best friend Eddie, and has since parented, mentored, and befriended two new goats to the herd; Jeffrey came shortly after Eddie died and Flower came in early 2017.
A favorite with our clients and everyone who meets him, he is a gem, one in a million!
Sparky and Baby Jeffrey
Sparky is a Very Special Super Senior
Sparky & Jeffrey Goats
Both boys love people, love attention and Sparky always gets a smile when he does his best version of a mountain goat, rising up and pretending to head butt.
When Sparky’s best friend Eddie died, we started talking to local nonprofits about adopting another goat. We found Jeffrey at a goat rescue in King County. They found him sick and suffering at a local auction. He was just a baby and he had infected injuries, pneumonia, a hacking cough and was starving.
We brought him to Sanctuary in the winter and he lived in the house for months recovering before he could move outside with Sparky. Once he was feeling better, he spent the days out doing chores and getting to know Sparky. His favorite place to play was on top of the manure pile. Beneath the tarp was a mountain of warm manure becoming earth. He laid, slid, slept, and played king of the mountain on that pile for most of his first year.
Sparky and Jeffrey have been buddies for a decade and while Sparky got older, Jeffrey got bigger. Topping out at over 185 pounds, he is taller than Izzy. When little fragile Flower came to the Sanctuary, we weren’t sure if Jeffrey would be safe for him and he amazed us all with his gentle head butts and willingness to get baby goat wild and PLAY!
Jeffrey has been a people lover since the day we met him, a stealer of hearts at first sight. He loves to be groomed and will stand for as long as human arms and hands are willing.
Jeffrey Baby LOVED the Heat From the Compost Pile
A sweet memory of this little man who had such a rough start to his life with humans.
Who Can Resist That Smile or That Impressive Goatee?
A Fragile Little Flower Had A Lot of Healing To Do
Jeffrey Was Very Careful with Little Flower Right From the Start
Flower after 3 Months at the Sanctuary
Flower came to the Sanctuary through the Kitsap Humane Society. He is just a baby and was picked up after being severely mauled by dogs, nearly losing his hind leg as a result. Once he was past the critical stage of recovery, he transferred to One Heart Wild to complete his healing.
We are still getting to know this little guy. He is young, and having had a major trauma emotionally and physically, he is still in the process of recovering and building confidence with all of the species here and new visitors.
Sparky wasn’t sure he was up for managing the wild and crazy energy of a young goat and thankfully Jeffrey took that job willingly. Within a short time, the three of them have settled in to a sweet little herd of three, bringing smiles and laughter to all who meet them and enjoy their antics.
A little herd of three wonderful goats!
Long before we even knew about Wilbur or could imagine how he would steal our hearts, we longed to have pigs live at One Heart Wild. We know when people meet different species and get to know them as personalities, more like us than different, they start caring about how those animals are treated in the world. Pigs are in dire need of people caring more about their plight with humans.
The winter of 2016 we were contacted by Pony Up Rescue. They had rescued a pig in November and were looking for a forever home for him. That pig was Wilbur and we were so excited to meet him and give him a safe, loving, forever home.
He had been feral for years after a history of neglect and abuse. Both chapters of his previous life included trauma and suffering. Pony Up gave him a chance at knowing love and kindness and as hard as it was on them and Wilbur to transfer him to One Heart Wild, he was getting the forever home he deserved and needed.
Wilbur was scared to death of long handled implements, the kind we clean horse stalls and his trailer with. He would cry at the sight of one, a sign of his past trauma. In the beginning we would have someone sit and comfort him while another person cleaned his area. After a couple of weeks getting used to everyone, we started taking him out for walks at liberty. At first all of Wilbur’s outings were rather frantic, nervously trotting around, scanning the property, looking for his escape routes and figuring out if he was safe or not. The day he went on his first Walk, we celebrated. That was the day we knew he felt like he was home. From that first Walk, he has continued to BE HOME here and stolen the hearts of everyone who meets him.
The horse trailer has served as a perfect nursing home for him and the new pig that would come months later. Insulted and warm during the winter months, dry and safe for recovery from surgeries and other medical issues. We are now raising funds for a proper pig house and run with hopes to have it completed before winter hits in 2017.
The Window to A Sweet, Gentle Soul
Everyone was curious and excited about the Sanctuary's 1st pig!
Pumbaa ~ Blueberry Popsicle Lipstick
Our second sanctuary pig resident came with Flower from the Humane Society. He too was likely attacked by dogs, his injuries and deformities weren’t new but were creating pain and suffering for him.
We don’t know what his history was but his hind quarters are scarred and hairless, his tail is missing, and his hind foot is mangled. When he was picked up he was unable to walk without pain, something was wrong with his eyes, he had some recent injuries, and skin infections.
Pumbaa has needed ongoing veterinary care since arriving to get him comfortable and healthy. He has struggled to be comfortable walking around at liberty or with a harness and getting him back to the trailer has been very difficult. Something in his past has created a barrier for him and it seems so out of character. He is the sweetest, most kind little pig you could ever want to meet. Always up for a belly rub, always careful and kind, we don’t have a vet visit without the doctor’s telling us he is the nicest pig they have ever worked with.
He has healed all he can heal and now we need to build him an enclosure that is Pumbaa escape proof. His time at the Humane Society revealed a relentless effort to destroy and escape his enclosure. Whatever motivates that behavior is likely connected to his inability to trust us and get in to a rhythm of returning to his enclosure by choice and on his terms.
We are all anxious to create a space for him to be content with his life and continue enjoying the love and attention he gets from visitors, volunteers, and clients.
His Favorite Kind of Bed
Willie Kisses Are the Best!
The first bird to come to the Sanctuary, Willie was less than a year old when he was rescued from a death sentence because he is male. When humans breed other species for their own purposes, there is always a preferred sex and that means death to the opposite sex. Hens are the preferred commodity but only as long as they can produce an egg a day. Roosters have minimal value in the human-chicken relationship and they suffer greatly as do the hens.
We didn't know anything about chickens when Willie came but he taught us. He is a prince of a guy, coming when his name is called, sharing meals, sleeping on the back of our chairs, and following us around to be a part of what is going on....until the inevitable happened....we rescued some hens and changed his world. No longer at leisure to spend time with us, he now had a serious job to do and once again, he was teaching us.
Willie called the girls when he found good things for them to eat. He spent time running back and forth to check in with them if they separated in their quest for finding food. He called out different alarms for threats over head or on the ground, and when the coyote came, he fought and save two of the three girls. That fight left him with injuries that required surgery. He recovered and now watches over ten adopted hens.
Handsome Man Willie
Mia Preparing To Sunbathe
The first hen to come to Sanctuary. She and her girlfriend Esmeralda were in need of a safe place to live out their lives because they had reached the point in their lives where they were no longer producing eggs and therefore were no longer valued. After spending their lives producing for humans, there is no retirement or appreciation for all that was given, there is death so that new hens can be purchased to produce.
Mia's personality brings social stability to the flock. She and Willie have been together the longest and they have a sweet, connected friendship. Mia is very communicative and knows her name. We don't know for sure how hold she, as of 2017 she is at least 8 years old. We hope she is with us for many years to come.
We believe all lives have value for the entirety of their life. We also believe that humans have a responsibility to the nonhuman animals they bring in to their lives that goes beyond the benefit the nonhuman animal provides.
This beautiful, friendly girl with a big voice came to us from a neighborhood in downtown Seattle. We are her third and final home. The woman who found us was a Jazz singer with an equally powerful singing voice and she loved this hen but her neighbors Did Not!
The Appenzeller Spithauben is the national breed of Switzerland and they are known for their loud and unusual song. More like a peacock then the hens most of us are used to hearing. Her first people lived in Seattle as well and they probably bought her because of her beauty without knowing anything about her breed. Thankfully she didn't end up as another casualty in the human-chicken predicament.
We are so happy to have her here. She is unique in every way and she is the only hen who lays white eggs. Just one more thing that sets her apart.
Bellaroo ~ A Transgender Hen
Bella was another hen rejected when she was no longer produced an egg a day. If hens are kept under lights so they unnaturally produce eggs year around and are kept in stressful over crowded housing, their bodies burn out of egg laying between 2-3 years old. Their natural lifespan is at least a decade. Our oldest hen Daisy lived until she was 13.
We quarantine our hens for a couple of weeks to be sure they are healthy before slowly introducing them to the flock. The first morning after her arrival we heard a strange noise coming from the garage. It sounded like an awkward crow. As the days progressed, she perfected that crow and started exhibiting other rooster behaviors too. Like calling the other hens over to eat a treat she found while foraging.
Her previous human was stumped...she had not done that with him. She in fact laid green eggs. We did some research and found the science around hens becoming more rooster like in their behavior than hen like. We are thrilled that Bellaroo is part of our One Heart Wild family!
April Meets Petunia After Her First Bath at One Heart Wild
One of the things that continues to amaze us, and is commented on frequently by those who comes to visit or participate in our services, is the peace that exists within this interspecies community that is One Heart Wild. The stable social environment - created when every animal being is seen as an individual, with a personality, social needs and a psychological history - nurtures curiosity, trust, resilience and regulation. That expands what is possible between us and our animal kin.
A fancy girl who arrived very under weight, sick and meek. It took her some time to heal and become a vibrant part of the flock. We so appreciate her quiet demeanor and unique way of being in the world. Unassuming, yet very present, aware, and communicative.
Our beautiful senior Jadie Girl is such an interesting personality. She came with Victoria and over the years has become very good friend with Mia.
She lives in the big coop with the flock but on occasion she asks to spend the night with Phoenix. Sometimes she stays for a day, sometimes a couple of weeks. When she is ready for a change in scenery, she starts pacing. We know that is her way of letting us know to let her out.
We strive to give all the residents as much agency as we safely can in captivity. That contribute greatly to their ability to express their unique personalities, increase their emotional resilience, and it definitely improves their welfare and well being.
She is a younger hen who got sick and stopped laying eggs. She didn't get care from a veterinarian and suffered as a result. We are thankful that she found her way to us so we could get her the help she needed. She became best friends with Bailey and when Bailey passed, Penney showed us just how real chicken friendship grief can be.
Bailey passed here at the Sanctuary with Penney by her side every step of the way. After she was gone, Penney tried to rouse her and when that didn't work, she stayed close for quite some time before moving away.
Penney is still living in the coop she shared with Bailey. She is out following us around most days. She also likes to hang out with Izzy the mini horse. We are hopeful one day she will want to move in to the big coop with the flock.
She was a chick brought in to a young family with a two year old who wasn't careful or kind to her. Without strict parental supervision, Orchid was subjected to a lot of pain and suffering and when she was big enough she tried to protect herself and that almost ended her life.
Thankfully she landed here at the Sanctuary. She is quite a character. Happy to squat down for a pet, happy to be held for a minute or two and always keeping a sharp eye on anything a human has in his/her hand that may be food. She will leap three feet off the ground and grab a potential treat before the human ever knows it's on her mind.
We had some volunteers drop by one day, bringing the most amazing vegan donuts. While we were enjoying a visit and sharing our excitement about the treats, Orchid came out of no where, jumped up, grabbed a glazed strawberry filled delicacy from a hand, and proceeded to devour it. Good Effort Orchid!
Victoria came from Seattle with a couple of her friends. The family's children had grown and everyone was losing interest in the hens. She was getting picked on quite a bit, a typical problem for the girls when they are kept in quarters to small to find safe navigation around conflict.
She is such an interesting gal, from her looks to her sound and her behaviors. She can fluff her feathers and slowly strut around looking just like a little turkey. For a short time, when Phoenix and the sisters were out with the flock, and he would get scary towards the hens sending them running away screaming in fear, she puffed up and chased him off. And he ran! She still has conversations with him through the fence of his coop. So interesting that it is her friend Jade who ultimately decided to march in to his coop and stay on occasion.
Victoria desperately wants to be a momma hen. She sits on the eggs the girls lay a couple of times a year and we go through months of picking her up off of them and putting her outside to forage or to get a drink before she runs back to her eggs. During these times, the girls (who have several places they like to lay their eggs) will stand on the end of the nest box she is in and lay their egg literally on top of her. She dutifully uses her beak to then pull it in under her. They all work together to help Victoria accomplish her goal.
We have thought long and hard about "letting" her follow her call to raise a family. On one hand, we know there are so many animals who need to be saved and cared for it is hard to justify bringing more life in to the world, even though they would come in to a forever home. On the other hand, we are very focused on each individual, their unique personality and their unique needs. Do we have the right to deny her her right to do what her body tells her to do when she is willing to sacrifice herself to accomplish that? Tough questions that have answers on both sides.
Homer ~ A Friend, A Leader, and A Teacher
Homer was well in to his teens when he came to Sanctuary. It is emotional to remember his presence. He was the rock of the domestic group of horses. Homer was instrumental in helping Montana orient towards healing. He had a love affair with April that included intimacy, he welcomed Skye and fathered him through his illness and transition, and when Johnny and Sierra were born he was the best Uncle you could imagine. He taught us so much! We didn't get enough time together and we treasure every precious year he was with us.
Homer was a professional roper and when he couldn't do that anymore he was a barrel racer and when his anxiety being raced became unmanageable regardless of the painful mechanics used to control him, he was no longer useful. He suffered emotionally from post traumatic stress and physically from a career where he was a tool vs. a thinking, feeling, conscious, fellow mammal. Not uncommon in the world of competition and entertainment with nonhuman animals.
When he got off the trailer, he was obese and couldn't take a step without tripping, his feet were in such bad shape. From the first moment we met him, he stole our hearts. He loved everyone, every human, every horse, every cat and dog. He was a character who loved to be in the middle of whatever was going on and even as he was healing himself, he was instrumental in the healing of many of the horses who came to live here.
We are grateful to have been the ones who got to love and honor him through his final earth chapter and we are immensely grateful for all he taught us and all he did for every being 2 or 4 legged who met him. It was a privilege to see the trauma triggers from his past life slowly lose their charge as he settled in to a life where he was loved and understood as the amazing Homer that he was.
"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated." Mohandas K. Gandhi
Foster Bunnies Need Your Love and Support
We took in six Polish bunnies ranging in ages 2 - 9. They have not experienced a bunny life or the life a loved bunny living with humans. Living in small individual cages, they have not been able to be social, or to race around, bucking, standing, and being joyful. As products of the breeding industry, they have spent their life as potential producers of the "perfect specimen" for show and competition. Our goal is to transition them from producers to part of the family.
They now have potty boxes, a bed, regular meals, and they are all learning about fresh fruit and vegetables. It is quite surprising to give bunnies fresh greens, or sweet peas, a strawberry or banana, and watch them not know what to do with it. They are learning that good things happen when people come around; they get yummy food, cuddles and loves, and carried outside to spend time on grass in enclosures big enough for bunnies to exercise their bodies and then flop on the grass and take a nap.
Another sweet bunny who suffered some trauma and her coping mechanism is to become invisible. When she came she literally shrunk in to the corner of her cage if we looked at her and when we picked her up to take her outside. She was scared to death and we could feel the tension in her body when she was held. She is changing and becoming more confident already and we are hoping that she and Rosie will bond and can find a home together.
As her personality emerges, she is curious and quite a character. In time, we expect her to fully recover and enjoy her new life free from the fears of her past.
This little guy is only 2 years old. He is the sweetest little man ever. He is busy and loves to run and jump and flop when he is outside.
He is also very interested in the girls. We look forward to him being neutered so he can make a friend to spend his life with.
As you can see from his picture he has, what we have just learned, is a severe dental issue, he'll need surgery to correct it and regular trims which may be able to be done at home. He is very easy and willing to be held. We are currently raising the funds needed to cover his surgery.
This little bun is also very kind and quiet. Easy to handle and although she is a bit nervous about what our intentions are, she is adjusting so well. She suffered some kind of injury on her front legs and the hair has grown back white but at this time it is just an old scar that isn't causing her any problems. She is healthy and getting the hang of a comfortable life.
Cookies and Cream...we call her CC
She has such a curious personality. When we pick her up to love her or to take her outside for time in the sun and on the grass, she looks right at you. It is so amazing to see her confidence and curiosity expressed in her willingness to make eye contact. She was the first one to figure out she could come right up to the door to and take a treat from our hands. She is also willing to try anything we offer.
Ruby has been in the life producing babies for 9 years. She is kind, quiet, enjoys being pet and cuddled and needs a loving indoor home for the remaining years of her life. She is healthy and is enjoying every bit of her new life of freedom and loving care. It is so gratifying to see that she knows the best of human kind where you welfare and well being are our priorities.
She has had some trauma in her life and can be defensive and protective of herself. She also has some damage to one ear, maybe frostbite? She loves having a bed and is getting the idea of using her potty box. It is going to take patience and kindness to help her heal her worry about humans. She has improved so much already. She really loves to be pet and will crouch down and close her eyes with enjoyment but she can't tolerate humans who won't give her time to trust.