A safe haven Burlington sanctuary gives home to unwanted farm animals
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.