Volunteer Leaving Barn Sanctuary Hopes Others Enjoy Helping Animals – Oakland County Times

One Last Shovel: Volunteer Leaving Barn Sanctuary Hopes Others Will Enjoy Helping Animals

(Crystal A. Proxmire May 9, 2022)

Chelsa, MI – With sore muscles, mud stains on her jumpsuit and wisps of straw in her hair, Marne McGrath gave what she hopes won’t be her last hugs to the people and animals of Barn Sanctuary.

McGrath was one of about 20 volunteers who spent a recent Saturday using a pitchfork and bucket to help clean up muddy straw around a barn full of pigs that would otherwise be headed for slaughter if it wasn’t for the relief organization.

As she worked, a curious pig named Anna stayed nearby, inspecting the bucket with her big pig snout and occasionally leaning over to rub her belly. Anna and another pig named Elsa were saved from an even worse fate when they nearly died in transit. “In the midst of a harsh winter in February 2019, two tiny piglets were loaded onto a transport truck bound for a finishing farm to be fattened for slaughter. When the truck arrived at their destination, the two piglets were frozen to the side of the truck and appeared motionless. They were assumed dead,” the Barn Sanctuary website explains. “The man unloading the truck took pity on these two piglets and brought them home to try to rescue them. Luckily the two piglets became responsive so the man continued to care for them and called us to provide them with a forever home.

Many pigs are family, including Tyler, Marla and Durden. Seven pigs were part of an animal cruelty case in North Carolina where they had been severely neglected and lived in filth. Two of the pigs – Annette and Kim – were pregnant. These pigs joined others from across the country who had been abandoned, neglected, injured or rescued.

In addition to pigs, Barn Sanctuary has cows, sheep, goats, turkeys, chickens and more – all with equally heartbreaking stories.

Mabel – a black and white Holstein – was born on a dairy farm, except she had problems with her legs and trouble standing, as well as a condition that prevented her from reproducing and producing milk. milk. She also has a hearing blast, although it is not life threatening. Because she was not a source of profit for the farm, she was given to the Barn Sanctuary where her job now is to be happy, spend time with other cows and be petted by loving humans. . “All animals have their stories,” McGrath said. “And their own personalities.”

McGrath, who until recently worked for the city of Ferndale and was well known at community events and city council meetings, first discovered the Barn Sanctuary when she saw a clip of Twitch on the networks social. “Twitch was one of the kids. That tiny little thing with that huge voice, it was so adorable.

“I realized they were a hop, a hop and a hop away.”

“On my very first shift, I bottle-fed one of the cows. It was such an amazing experience and I have been hooked ever since. That was four years ago, and his love is only growing.

Taking care of dozens of farm animals and cleaning up after that is a lot of work. That’s why Barn Sanctuary has a brigade of volunteers from all over the Detroit metro area, like Marne, who come in to help. A lot of things are messy.

“I say I shovel cow poop for fun,” she said. “You work your muscles and feel like you’re doing something that makes a difference. I find it very zen. Physical work is good. It is an exercise for your body, your mind and your soul.

This last shift shoveling straw will be his last, at least for a while. McGrath took a job as a village clerk in the Florida Keys, trading Michigan winters for perpetual sunshine. Moo-ve means saying goodbye to Mabel and her other furry friends, but she hopes to come back and visit.

“I’ve met so many great people, and when you work like this together you create friendships and bonds,” she said. “And I made some really good non-human friends.”

Although she hangs up her suit, McGrath hopes others will step in and do some pick-ups for themselves. “It’s a great place to volunteer,” she says.

Humans are welcome to visit Open Houses or register for information on volunteering. Barn Sanctuary is located at 20179 McKernan Drive in Chelsea. For more information, visit their website https://www.barnsanctuary.org.

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