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Creature Comforts For Rescued Animals

The animals at the Black Sheep Animal Sanctuary Ōtaki love their cosy homes! Brian and Bessie are pig companions who play and wallow together in their paddock and snuggle at night. The rabbits hop and frisk in their spacious runs, and each goat has a special house in the goat paddocks.

Brian and Bessie share the sanctuary with over 200 other animals who have found abundant creature comforts at the Black Sheep, which looks after pigs, sheep, cows, roosters, miniature horses, ducks, geese, rabbits, turkeys and even a cockatoo. Every animal has an individual care plan and is continually monitored to ensure they are flourishing and intellectually stimulated.

The Ōtaki-based animal refuge has greatly expanded since its founding 14 years ago, and various buildings and structures now need replacing. An upgrade to the antiquated power system was made possible by generous community support in 2023, but it has since emerged that much of the original infrastructure still needs repair and extension. These extra bills have come at a time of soaring costs, when the sanctuary’s fundraising op-shops are no longer able to fund essential building work.

The Black Sheep crew are on-call 24/7. Two of the long-term caretakers, Kate Waghorn and Lyss Baumgartner, describe some of the tasks that keep them busy: around-the-clock feeds for rescued baby animals, regular parasite treatments, devising enrichment activities, building fences and animal housing, and of course tending to sick and vulnerable animals.

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Alongside their on-site responsibilities, Kate and Lyss work hard to keep the sanctuary’s Opportunity for Animals fundraising opshops in Newtown and Miramar running at optimum capacity. Kate comments “We’re very grateful to the shop volunteers and animal sponsors. However, unfortunately our costs have been going through the barn roof due to rising rates and inflation, and we need to reach out to the broader community for help buying in winter feed and restoring crucial infrastructure.”

The answer is a fundraiser to provide Creature Comforts for the sanctuary animals. The sanctuary volunteers are rolling up their sleeves, aiming to raise $20,000 for essential building projects – a dedicated run to protect rescued ducklings from predators, a pig chute for vet visits and vaccinations, a vet care shed, permanent shelters for the sheep paddocks to replace their perishing shade sails, and an additional small hay shed. Such help is vital to the sanctuary’s survival, Lyss points out. “The Black Sheep is incredibly grateful to all our supporters over the years. We know everyone’s stretched in these difficult times but every contribution, no matter how small, adds up. Donations in kind are also extremely welcome” says Lyss.

You can help Bessie and Brian to continue enjoying their creature comforts by sharing the Givealittle campaign.

Creature comforts – building a better sanctuary for Brian and Bessie - Givealittle

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