Friday, August 21, 2015

Welcome Home, R.A.S.T.A.!!!


They are home!  The animals from the Rescue and Sanctuary for Threatened Animals have been safely moved to their new home in Chemainus, and this blogger is one happy camper!

Today, for the first time, I met Theodore (aka Theo) the steer, whose shelter I painted.  And I met Wilbur the big farm pig, and Tango and Romeo the mini donkeys, and Toby the mini horse, and 39 potbellied pigs whose names I will take a bit longer to learn.

Wilbur, the big pig.
Have you ever seen such a handsome dude?
White shirt, silver cummerbund, black pants!
I'll go out to dinner with him any time.

Romeo and Tango

Toby - who made shy with me
Pigs, pigs and more pigs! 

Today, I spent several hours there just breathing in the wonderful scent of farm critters and hay and warm sunshine.  Today I photographed to my heart's content.

Those who have known me since I first became involved in animal sanctuaries about ten years ago will be able to imagine the size of the smile on my face and the feeling of utter contentment in my heart.

Senior pig with yellow flower

Piggy snout to piggy belly

Lucie and Theo share a quiet moment

Toby:  Why does that lady keep trying to take my picture?
Romeo (or is this Tango?): Because we are the stars of the blog!

Lucie, the owner of the sanctuary, is not smiling quite so broadly as I am.  For Lucie, the trip from southern Alberta to Vancouver Island was far from relaxing.  Before the animals could be loaded, there was twelve hours of prep for the journey.  Then four hours to load - Theo, bless him, loaded with no trouble (though the actual travel, with him pacing side to side redistributing the weight in a dangerous manner, is another story - but mostly he was a good boy).  The little pigs and equines loaded nicely too.

Theo gets some luvin' from Lucie

Of course we loaded nicely.
It was a long trip!
I'm thirsty!

The trouble maker was Wilbur the big pig.  He was Not Getting In the trailer.  No Way.  No Sir!  He fought and bashed and dashed and threw things.  He rammed and banged and roared and stomped.  Of the four hours to load the animals, Wilbur took three.  When at last he was safely inside, he was exhausted and so was Lucie.  They began loading the animals at 2 AM;  they arrived in Chemainus over 24 hours later. That was a long, slow, scary trip.

I'm sowwy.  I didn't mean to be naughty.
I was scared! 

Wilbur today is somewhat the worse for wear - in fact, he is not doing well and Lucie is watching him very closely, hosing him down to keep him cool, assisting him to stand (as much as one can assist a seven hundred pound pig) so he will stretch his muscles and keep his joints moving. His back end is weak, one of his rear legs and thighs trembling, the hoof turning under with every step.  He is refusing food, except for fresh strawberries and celery.  He needs all the positive vibes you can send for his speedy recovery.  That's my first request of three.

Is that celery for me?

As if worrying about Wilbur wasn't enough weight on Lucie's shoulders, a donation of thousands of dollars worth of framing material (2x4s and 2x6s) for the shelters - a donation she had been assured was hers - has fallen through. And workers hired to build the shelters are here and have no materials to work with!  So that's my second request - if any of you have connections to builders, contractors, lumber yards - that might provide even some of the framing materials, please call them NOW. The sanctuary has, of course, talked with businesses here, many of whom have provided gift cards or other materials and discounts, but what is really needed now is the personal connection - someone reading this blog who personally knows someone in a position to be generous with framing material.

Got Labour.  Need Wood!
And the third worry is the metal roofing for the shelter - we have still not been able to obtain this, and again your personal connections would really help.  Whether it is a few sheets or a whole bunch, the animals and the sanctuary owner will thank you.

And if you don't know anyone in the industry, maybe you could make a donation towards the costs?  You'll find their webpage here, or check them out on Facebook.

After all, can you really look at these faces and turn away?





Can you?


CarolineA said...

I am so excited for you Jean, I grinned with each picture and memories of you making porridge first thing on a cold morning came flooding back!
Can you go to the island media for help, they are soo good on the island, I'm sure if Rasta can get this story on tv, there will be plenty of items donated.
I feel for Wilbur and he reminds me of our senior dogs after our move. It was hard on them and the first few days their bodies were stiff and sore and they were not very interested in food or anything. With treats and love and massage (don't know how easy it is to massage a portly gentleman such as Wilbur) and a few days of steady ground under their feet they started doing better and now are happy as can be. I'm hoping this will be the case for Wilbur too.
As for Theodore, WOW! I have a funny feeling there are going to be a lot of Theodore stories, he looks like a character.

Wendy Hamilton said...

Yes, look at those faces indeed.... Adorable, all of them.
Local media is a great idea.. I forget the name of show now .. shaw, out of victoria.. (channel 4 I think, I'm sure you know who I mean?).. Always looking for local interest stories here on the island and southern gulf islands.
(The owner of Arbutus lumber on Gabriola Island comes to mind as he used to have a loved pet pig.. maybe they would have a soft spot...)

Gloria Hamilton said...

I wold suggest Shaw as well as they do a mid-island program and Cowichan Valley programs and news. This would be a great news story for CHEK TV as well. Wishing you all the best getting everything together.

Anonymous said...

seriously try this they can help,en_CA,pg.html

Jean said...

Anonymouse, I know they do apply for grants (which itself is an incredibly time consuming process, having done some for other sanctuaries and rescues) - the immediate need is for wood while the hired labourers are here.

Kim Hackl said...

Let me know how I can help out.... would be happy to do whatever I can!
Kim :)

Jean said...

Thanks Kim - I will pass on your number (sent separately but not published here) to Lucie. I'm not sure if they have an island number yet.