There’s nothing like spending the day outside surrounded by nature and animals. But when the animals are rescued souls, there’s something extra special about it. Having the opportunity to get up close and personal with animals who were rescued from abuse, neglect, abandonment or even the lucky few who escaped death is a truly unique and memorable experience.
There's something magical that happens when you bond with an animal. Our troubles feel lighter, our heart fuller and spirit kinder. Though many of the animals rescued have come from heartbreaking experiences, through the dedication of each organization and their hardworking volunteers and staff, the animals learn to regain trust in humans and their ability to forgive is remarkable. We can learn so much from our non-human friends about unconditional love, compassion and even how to appreciate sloppy kisses!
Just outside of Toronto in Southern Ontario, there is an overflowing handful of animal sanctuaries that rescued animals call home, their safe haven. People of all ages head to these sanctuaries to get to know animals of all shapes and sizes. A trip to one of these sanctuaries is good for the soul and the entire family. If you really 'listen', you just might hear these animals 'speak' straight to your heart.
Here’s a list of local'ish sanctuaries, just to name a few:
Dog Tales is a world-renowned dog rescue and horse sanctuary set on an incredible 50 acres of green fields and rolling hills in King City, Ontario. They provide a picturesque setting for abused and neglected animals to heal and be rehabilitated while they wait for their forever home. Many of the dogs available for adoption have been surrendered or were rescued from heartbreaking situations. This is a place you could easily spend the day visiting the dogs, strolling the property or enjoying a drink or bite in their café or on the patio. You might even go home with a new furry best friend. http://www.dogtales.ca/
Cedar Row Farm Sanctuary, located just outside of Stratford, Ontario, is a place of hope for rescued animals. They have rescued thousands of animals since opening in 1999, each of whom holds a special place in their hearts. Work visits are a great way to see the sanctuary, get to know the animals and lend a helping hand. The visits end with a vegan potluck and a chance to get to know the animals and other compassionate volunteers. http://cedarrow.org/
Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary was started in the early 1970s by a caring individual who wanted to help rehabilitate orphaned wildlife. Over the past 4 decades, they have grown to be leaders in wildlife rehabilitation. Situated in Muskoka, Aspen Valley Wildlife Sanctuary is a 460 acre sanctuary of natural habitat. Their primary mandate is to rehabilitate animals so that they can eventually be returned to their natural habitat. They also provide education to the community about co-existing with wildlife and humane solutions for wildlife-related issues. Here you’ll find any number of large animals, from moose, deer, bear, wolves, beavers and other small mammals and birds. This is a wonderful place to go for a day trip while in cottage country. http://www.aspenvalley.ca/
Wishing Well Sanctuary, located in Bradford, Ontario, is home to goats, sheep, llamas, horses, cows, pigs, donkeys and ducks. Each one will live out their natural life at the sanctuary, cherished and cared for. Wishing Well offers workshops, tours and humane education programs for school groups. http://www.wishingwellsanctuary.org/index.php
Donkey Sanctuary of Canada is a refuge for donkeys, mules and hinnies who have been neglected, abused or who can no longer be cared for by their owners. The Sanctuary is 100 acres of tranquility in Puslinch, Ontario, where it is their mission to ensure the animals live out the remainder of their lives surrounded by love, dignity, and the respect they deserve. They offer humane education classes and have a network of foster farms that allows more sentient beings to be rescued. http://www.thedonkeysanctuary.ca/
Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary began with a little piglet named Esther. Esther became a social media phenomenon which led to the opening of the sanctuary. The sanctuary, located in Campbellville, Ontario, is now home to many pigs, cows, birds, goats, sheep and rabbits. They host tours, work days and special events. https://www.happilyeveresther.ca/
Farmhouse Garden Animal Home, located in Uxbridge, Ontario, is run by a multi-generational farmer and cattle rancher who, in the summer of 2016, turned his life around and ended the cruelty. He now uses his land to grow organic vegetables and uses his little plot of land as a place for a community of animal lovers to come together and learn about how wonderful, sociable, gentle, and lovable farm animals can be. After a visit meeting the cows, horses and donkey’s, it’ll be enough to change anyone’s mind. http://www.farmhousegardenanimalhome.com/
Piebird Farm Sanctuary and Vegan Farmstay will this summer celebrate it's 12th year of being a loving home for animal-friends and a haven for Earth-loving people! The sanctuary, with 29 feathered and four-legged friends, is supported by their vegan agri-tourism destination Piebird Vegan Farmstay, located in Nipissing, Ontario. Here you can spend the night getting away from it all, connecting with Mother Earth and a few furry friends.