Saturday, 24 September 2016

Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, Campbellville, ON

In May, I read and enjoyed the book Esther the Wonder Pig: Changing the World One Heart at a Time.  I remembered reading about her story in the Toronto Star.

Esther's owners, Steve and Derek, had adopted her as a six month old mini pig and were assured that as big as she would get.  Then they discovered that she wasn't a  "mini" pig at all ... she was, in fact, a six week old commercial pig, which means she should have been destined to be raised and butchered. Esther grew from being the size of a sneaker to over 650 pounds! They tried to raise her as long as they could in their house in Georgetown, just outside of Toronto. They eventually bought a 50 acre farm in Campbellville, about 45km west of Toronto, and opened the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary and now take in animals that need homes.

To inspire kindness and compassion for farmed animals everywhere.

Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, located in Campbellville, Ontario Canada, was founded in 2014. Since its inception, Happily Ever Esther has been dedicated to rescuing abused, neglected and abandoned farmed animals. Our goal is to provide a safe, life-long home for all of the rescues and to educate the public about the true nature of farmed animals through tours, volunteer programs and community outreach.

Two years ago, Happily Ever Esther was nothing but a far fetched dream. But thanks to the support of thousands of people - from all over the world - Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, is now a dream come true. Home to over 40 rescued animals and Esther the Wonder Pig.

When I read about the farm sanctuary, I knew I had to visit it.  They have tours a couple times a month.  It was a busy summer for Gord and I so I booked my ticket for today.

We waited for the tour to start sitting around a fire.

Krista, one of the board of directors, was our guide.  As we made our way around the farm (it took almost two hours), she told us about the animals, where they were rescued from, what had happened to them and what could have happened had they not been rescued.   All the animals on the far are spayed and neutered.

She started us off at the chicken coop.

Richard the rooster and the hens ...
there is a shy peacock hiding in the greenery

We were warned that Esther was napping and there was no guarantee that we would see her.  There was a lot of excitement when she walked out the door and into their yard (she lives in the house with Steve and Derek).  It was lunchtime!

She likes iced tea (diluted) after her meal

Then Esther went back inside after she ate and Derek told us more about pigs and answered our questions.  They had had an expert come in and apparently Esther considers Steve at the top of their hierarchy (so "dad") and Derek her sibling (so she is inclined to push him around).

Steve lured Esther back outside with treats.

She played with her kong for a bit.

As she pushed the dirt around with her nose, Steve sprayed her to keep her cool (pigs burn easily).

Steve covered her up to protect her from the sun and she went to sleep

Here is one of their dogs ... she's 16-years-old and she and Esther get along well.

The tour continued and we moved to the barn.  Inside the barn were a rooster (he's new), pigs and a goat named Diablo (he gets excited so they put him in the barn when there are tours).

Honouring the founders
Pig buddies, Bear and Dan
One of April's babies

We visited Len.

There are rabbits.

Sixty pound rabbit, Theresa's (she was shy) best friend is a chicken

We headed back outside and visited with April and her babies.

We headed over to visit the sheep and goats.

This duck has the run of the place
Catherine and her son, George
Catherine was so chilled

We visited with BJ, the donkey, and Escalade, the horse.  They have been together for ten years and were rescued together.  Apparently they hate to be apart.  When one has to go to the vet for a check-up, they have to take both.

The cows are in the same enclosure.

She wanted to be petted
Sir Denver and Jasmine

We finished off in Esther's orchard.  The eventual plan is to be self-sufficient.  You can donate money so they can buy a tree if you want to help them out.

If you donate money to buy them some hay, they'll give you a bracelet to say "thanks"!

There is a gift shop and I bought a teeshirt.

Before I left, I checked on Esther ... and she was still snoozing where we'd left her earlier (but minus the cover).

What a life!

Rueben, their other dog (he was sooooo friendly), was having a nice snooze too.

It was a fun visit and I'm so glad I went.  And yes, I will be back!


Anonymous said...

Great photos of all the animals, and I'm so glad Esther came out to see you! I'm looking forward to going there myself one day!


Teena in Toronto said...

Lemme know when you go and I'll go with you, Judy :)