Have you ever wondered what it’s like to have an animal sanctuary? A lot of people dream about one day starting one of their own but not a lot of people know what day-to-day life is like when you actually run a sanctuary and have lots of residents who depend on you for everything from food to shelter to healthcare, so we’re going to let you tag along with us through a typical day at Carroll’s Animal Sanctuary and Rescue.
Rise and shine!
Is that the sun? If it is, then we’re already up! Animals are governed by the sun. They wake when it rises and go to sleep when it sets. Of course, this means longer, more active days in summer than in winter but the tasks we need to complete each day are similar regardless of the season.
Come and get it
First up…breakfast! Not for us…for the residents! Preparation for breakfast can take anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour depending on whether there are pre-cut veggies in the fridge. Our thoughtful volunteers will often prep enough veggies for a few meals which cuts down on the day-to-day chopping. Distributing the meals and making sure all the residents are eating can take another 30 minutes to an hour. Then there’s the clean up. That’s another 20-30 minutes to wash up and stack the bowls for the next meal.
After breakfast the chores begin. Depending on the day, these can include refilling hay bags, redistributing hay, and providing minerals for the goats or sheep. Every day we prepare and give out medications to those that need it and fully clean out the barn… twice! (Once in the morning and again at night), fluff the residents’ beds (also twice a day), add straw when needed and clean and refill all the water bowls. We monitor the residents’ water carefully to ensure that the animals have enough to keep them hydrated during the hot summer months and to make sure that the water bowls don’t freeze when the colder temperatures set in.
Chores usually take us to about noon, depending on how many volunteers we have with that that day. And then, around 3:00 pm (5:00pm in summer), we do it all again! If it’s winter, this means that the sun is going to start to set soon and the animals need their dinner before their early winter bedtime. If it’s summer, the residents will have more time to do their own thing outside, if the weather is nice, or inside if it’s too hot. This can include foraging, napping, playing, socializing or just exploring. Dinnertime in the summer is very late but we’re lucky to have amazing volunteers who are willing to stick around and help out!
Rest? What’s that?
So, you may be wondering what happens between noon and dinnertime? Most days we can be found around the property fixing things, coordinating volunteers, or doing other activities that help the animals like moving compost, giving out snacks, chauffeuring to vet appointments and then there’s the usual admin work like planning events and tour days, answering emails and doing our social media posting. During the summer months we also spend time hosting tours. Plus, we have to make time for lots of snuggles!
After dinner prep, serving and clean up, it’s time for the residents to go to sleep for the night. But we’re not done yet! Before we can settle in, we always do a head count to make sure that everyone is safe and sound.
Running an animal sanctuary is a lot of hard work but knowing that our residents are safe, loved and cared for makes it all worthwhile and we wouldn’t want to ever be doing anything else.