A safe haven Burling­ton sanc­tu­ary gives home to un­wanted farm an­i­mals

Valley Journal Advertiser - - COVER STORY - BY ASH­LEY THOMP­SON KINGSCOUNTYNEWS.CA BURLING­TON Ash­ley.Thomp­son@kingscountynews.ca

Every crea­ture at the North Moun­tain An­i­mal Sanc­tu­ary has a story.

Take Charley the pig, for ex­am­ple. Be­fore be­ing re­lo­cated to the Burling­ton-based sanc­tu­ary, Charley lived in soli­tude in a con­fined liv­ing space that left him ex­posed to the harsh win­ter el­e­ments and coated in his own fe­ces.

Charley, now weigh­ing an es­ti­mated 500 pounds, had an un­treated leg frac­ture that pre­vented him from walk­ing at the time of his res­cue. Six vol­un­teers ral­lied to­gether to come up with a way to safely move the adult pig to his new home on the North Moun­tain.

Sores on Charley’s skin – likely caused by frost­bite and be­ing cov­ered in his own fe­ces – were healed with nat­u­ral salves cre­ated by clin­i­cal herbal­ist Amanda Dainow, pres­i­dent and co-founder of the North Moun­tain An­i­mal Sanc­tu­ary.

To­day, Charley can leisurely stroll around the sanc­tu­ary’s ru­ral prop­erty and visit with goats, ducks, chick­ens, rab­bits, sheep and a fel­low pig, Wig­gly. He can of­ten be found sprawled out for a nap in the straw strewn across the floor of his baby barn and so­cial­iz­ing with hu­mans or the other mis­treated or sur­ren­dered an­i­mals that found a safe haven at the sanc­tu­ary.

“It is a tes­ta­ment to the for­giv­ing na­ture of an­i­mals, and Charley in par­tic­u­lar, that he is so happy and out­go­ing,” a de­scrip­tion of Charley posted on the North Moun­tain An­i­mal Sanc­tu­ary web­site reads.

Dainow greets all of the an­i­mals by name as she walks through the grounds of the sanc­tu­ary, un­der the near-con­stant watch of cu­ri­ous goats peek­ing their heads out of small wooden buildings that func­tion as their in­di­vid­ual shel­ters. The doors are open, but they’re tucked in­side to get out of the rain.

“There are a num­ber of res­cues in the area for cats and dogs, which is great and we sup­port them, but at the time we started… there wasn’t any or­ga­ni­za­tion specif­i­cally to take in farm an­i­mals,” said Dainow, a life-long an­i­mal lover.

“We live in an agri­cul­tural re­gion, so there are a lot of farm an­i­mals that are in need. Our mis­sion is to pro­vide care for abused, ne­glected and un­wanted an­i­mals.”

Dainow runs the sanc­tu­ary with her part­ner, Leif Vernest, and some help from vol­un­teers. The or­ga­ni­za­tion is reg­is­tered, with non-profit sta­tus.

“I’ve al­ways cared about an­i­mals and wanted to help farm an­i­mals,” she said, not­ing that they have about 40 in their care.

The an­i­mals at the sanc­tu­ary are re- ha­bil­i­tated and given the chance to form so­cial bonds with fel­low res­cues.

“They have a per­ma­nent home here,” said Dainow.

She draws from her work as a clin­i­cal herbal­ist to care for the an­i­mals, and Vernest han­dles the book­keep­ing to re­duce costs when­ever pos­si­ble.

“The pri­mary health care for the an­i­mals here is nat­u­ral medicine. We use a vet for spays and neuters, and if there is an emer­gency that can’t be dealt with nat­u­rally,” said Dainow.

“I try to use nat­u­ral meth­ods be­cause they’re much gen­tler and they’re very ef­fec­tive.”

Dainow is host­ing a Medic­i­nal and Ed­i­ble Plant Walk re­gard­ing na­tive species found in Nova Sco­tia July 9. The event, a fundraiser in sup­port of North Moun­tain An­i­mal Sanc­tu­ary, costs $15 per per­son and $30 per fam­ily. It will get un­der­way at the Wolfville Li­brary at 10:30 a.m.

For more in­for­ma­tion visit www. nmas.ca, www.singingnettles.ca or call 902-538-3662.


Charley, a 500-pound pig, wakes up from an af­ter­noon snooze to greet North Moun­tain An­i­mal Sanc­tu­ary co-founder Amanda Dainow.


Wil­liam-John the goat came to the North Moun­tain An­i­mal Sanc­tu­ary in early 2013. He’s pic­tured so­cial­iz­ing with sanc­tu­ary co-founder Amanda Dainow.

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