Our wonderful assistant innkeeper here at the Harrison House Suites, Matia, has a special connection to the local Island Haven Animal Sanctuary. In this blog, she discusses what it’s like volunteering her time with her mom to care for animals who otherwise may be put down.
Island Haven Animal Sanctuary
What happens to farm animals after they have served their intended purpose and can no longer preform the tasks that we require of them? Unfortunately, most are put down; but there are a few farms across the world that are aiming to change that standard. One of which is Island Haven Animal Sanctuary right here on San Juan. They provide a safe place for animals to call home and live peacefully in retirement for the rest of their lives.
Island Haven Animal Sanctuary’s mission is to provide lifetime care and sheltering for animals who while still able to lead a quality life are unable to find homes due to old age, chronic illness, handicaps, temperament issues or who have been rescued from neglect and/or abusive situations and require rehabilitation.
Island Haven was founded in 2015 by Julie Duke. She saw an ad for three horses and two alpacas that couldn’t be cared for anymore. At first she saw it as an opportunity to realize her lifelong dream of owning a horse. Soon after, she realized that it had much larger potential. It took about a year to get this organization running. She had to find volunteers, put together a board of directors, get funding, and most importantly, secure the land for all the animals. Today, these three horse and two alpacas are the founding members of the forever home sanctuary that currently holds 10 horses, two alpacas, two llamas, two pigs, two goats, four turkeys, four ducks, three roosters, and 15 hens.
By Donation Only
The organization is completely volunteer run and is funded solely on donations. Ever dollar donated goes straight to the animals. The farm that the animals now call home is a beautiful historic cattle ranch called October Farm. Although the farm isn’t open to the public, private and school tours are welcome by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org for an appointment. Many of the animals there have so much love to give and will happily take any extra attention you may shower on them. If you love animals and left your pets at home, visit the farm to get your furry friend fill. This would also be a great activity for your kids! Tours are free although donations are greatly appreciated. All the animals love to meet new friends.
Sponsors & Volunteers
Not able to visit in person? Consider sponsoring one of these special animals to help make sure they will get the care they need. Sponsorship information is available on their sponsorship page:
If you live on the island and are looking for a little extra animal cuddles and time outdoors, Island Haven’s Animal Sanctuary is always looking for more volunteers. No experience necessary with farm animals. You can do as little as brushing a horse or two or committing to as feeding all of the animals multiple times a week.. Any time that you give to the animals might seem small to you but makes a huge difference to these animals. Find out how to get involved here: https://www.islandhaven.org/volunteer-form
On San Juan Island, we have have a place for all of these animals to call their forever home.
Be sure to follow them on facebook https://www.facebook.com/islandhavenanimalsanctuary/ and check out their website at www.islandhaven.org
Visit the Island Haven Animal Sanctuary during your stay with us at the Harrison House Suites. While you’re here, feel free to ask Matia herself more about her experiences at the sanctuary!
We’ll see you for check-in!