Tuesday 20 September 2022 9:45 AM
At Harmony Farm Sanctuary, rescued animals enjoy each other’s company. They eat good food and receive loving care from humans.
As with humans, the effects of neglect and abuse can be profound among non-human animals. Acts of kindness and generosity show profound results. Walking among rehabilitated or recovered animals inspires a special kind of joy.
Harmony’s farm was located a few blocks from Sisters Elementary School—near Fair Street Park. This is where the sanctuary will have its booth on Sunday, during the Fur on Fir event at the Sisters Farmers Market.
“I am excited to be a part of the event with other nonprofits,” said Robin Pott, founder of Harmony Ranch.
Fur on Fir takes place on Sunday, September 25 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. (See related story, page 3.)
Moving farm robots to a larger site early in the COVID era.
“We’re done with Fryrear now,” she explained. “It is big, beautiful and well organized. I feel like we have a really great team.”
The organization is 100% volunteer based. The bots donate their time and describe the board of directors as “amazing.” Harmony Farm works on the dedication of many volunteers, who are currently estimated to number around sixty.
Robots work full time as people processors. Although she takes care to keep her therapeutic job separate from the nonprofit, her background helps animals and humans alike.
Animal-based therapy and skill development are popular in central Oregon, and Harmony’s Farm Sanctuary is part of the movement. “We partner with life skills and transition programs at Sisters schools,” Potts said.
Other partners include parks, recreational programs, residential therapeutic boarding schools, Friends of the Children, and Central Oregon Youth Partnerships.
“We also have some young people working here, with a program that helps vulnerable young people in a transitional age,” she explained. The organization, Youth Rising, offers paid training opportunities through the YouthForce Workforce Development Program. It operates in several rural counties primarily in Oregon.
Running a haven for horses, pigs, rabbits, and more requires a significant dedication of energy and time. What inspires robots?
“I would say I do it for the animals,” she said. “It helps give a voice to animals that can’t speak.”
She receives phone calls five or six times a week, asking the farm to “receive animals that are abused, neglected, or no longer wanted.”
In addition to taking in many animals, the robots also work behind the scenes to find homes for unwanted animals that have not set foot on the property.
“We can’t take in more animals than we can afford to care for them properly,” she said. It tries to reconcile it with individuals and with other sacred things; Robots estimate that at least 30 new reserves have emerged around the northwest in the past few years.
Harmony Farm gets many orders for pigs and roosters. People buy pigs that are advertised as “teacup pigs,” without realizing that they will grow into large, intelligent, socially complex mammals.
Many pet pigs end up being neglected or abused. Bots estimate that 98 percent of people who buy pigs as pets end up rehoming them within two years.
Roosters fall victim to the raising of chickens on hobby farms or in the city limits. Some city regulations and homeowners’ associations specifically allow chickens but not roosters, which tend to be very loud.
“Especially during the coronavirus outbreak, people were raising chicks at home,” Potts explained. “A lot of people are running out of time [the males] In the woods, where people thought they would be a coyote’s meal.”
Roosters often survive for several months, slowly starving.
“One summer, I picked 17 roosters from the forest,” said the bot.
Harmony Farm Sanctuary rescues a wide variety of animals, creating a small herd of friendly therapy horses and pigs, among others.
Private farm tours and merchandise sales help raise funds for animal care and feeding.
“If people love animals and want to come see the animals live their best lives, we invite them out and visit,” Potts said. “And we are always looking for volunteers – animal lovers.”
More information is available at Harmonyfarmsanctuary.comOr come to Sisters Farmers Market this Sunday to meet the bots in person.
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