Farm rescue near Toronto is opening for visitors to meet and greet animals
After being closed for a year and a half, a farm animal rescue is finally opening for the public.
The farm sanctuary is home to almost 40 animals, including 25 cows, a flock of chickens, ducks, a horse and a donkey. Visitors can hang out with, feed snacks to, and learn about the animals while supporting the sanctuary.
"We are so excited for people to once again experience the joy of spending time with all the animals," says Edith Barabash, the executive director of Farmhouse Garden Animal Home.
Farmhouse Garden Animal Home used to welcome visitors every month in a big event as one of their main fundraisers until the pandemic hit, Barabash says.
"Honestly that is what got us through the pandemic," Barabash tells blogTO.
They also do very small group tours but nothing like they did before the pandemic.
The online fundraisers and tours will continue but now they are looking forward to get back to normal.
"It kind of feels like some semblance of normalcy is coming back," says Barabash. "My favourite part of the sanctuary has always been seeing people interact with the animals and learn about them."
To keep the event safe, the farm is limiting numbers. They are selling tickets for Aug. 15 and visitors can choose two times slots — 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Attendees can purchase pre-made veggie boxes (grown at the farm) to feed the animals, as well as take family portraits to commemorate their day at the farm. All proceeds raised during this fundraiser will be used to cover animal care costs, including food, bedding and veterinary services.
While people enjoy meeting the animals, the animals also enjoy the visits.
"Over the past five years, they have learned that humans equal love and treats and fun. If they see a human, they come running," she says. "You can definitely get up close to them."
Farmhouse Animal Garden Home became an animal sanctuary after Mike Lanigan was a multigenerational farmer and cattle rancher, decided to stop raising animals for slaughter, and instead focus on growing organic vegetables as a source of income in 2016.
The farm is waiting to see about pandemic regulations and safety but they hope to return to once a month visiting days.
"These visiting days have been an integral part of the sanctuary since the very start, and the past year and a half was not the same without our community coming out to join us," Barabash says. "The world may now look very different, but one thing that never changes is the magic of a day at the sanctuary."
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