Dorothy Davies passed away at the age of 73 on Sunday, September 19, 2021 at Chelsea Hospital, and with her death the world lost a hero to many people and a savior to animals. Dorothy was the founder, along with her husband Monte Jackson, of SASHA Farm – Sanctuary and Safe Haven for Animals – which was incorporated in 2001 as a rescue operation and permanent retreat for hundreds and hundreds of farmed animals. It is the largest sanctuary of its kind in the Midwest.
Monte and Dorothy began rescuing a few animals in the 1980’s after moving to Manchester, and the mission grew as did the number of animals. The operation became official with their non-profit status. The sanctuary and its proprietors were the subject of many newspaper and magazine articles over the years. Some early attention in the media came from the rescue of Jefferson, a steer who escaped the slaughterhouse and ran down the streets of Detroit before being brought to safety at SASHA. Writer Jack Lessenberry referred to the farm as “an animal version of paradise” and to Dorothy as “the benevolent Eve who founded this animal preserve.”
Dorothy was born August 18, 1948 in Wayne, Michigan, the daughter of Walter Seletin Jr and Helen (Walczak) Seletin, and they preceded her in death. Dorothy lost her only sibling, Henry Seletin, on September 22, 1991. She graduated from Garden City High School in 1966 and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Michigan State University. Dorothy and Monte met September 23, 1976 and were married later, but always recognized and celebrated the date that they met as being most significant to them. Prior to being Director of SASHA Farm, Dorothy was the head of the Manchester Township Library. Her son, Darian, attended Manchester High School and Oberlin College, married Rachel Sims, moved out west and had three children with whom Dorothy was very close.
Dorothy loved sharing her favorite things with her grandkids Payton, Hudson and Lincoln, including travel, books, movies and puzzles. She made regular trips to Portland, Oregon to visit them and would often rent a house on the coast to take them for a beach weekend. The kids enjoyed their first visit to Disneyland with their grandma, and she also took the whole family to Costa Rica where they stayed in an eco-lodge in the jungle and went scuba diving, snorkeling and zip lining. With her history as a librarian, Dorothy often gave her grandchildren stacks of books to read and encouraged them in their education. Dorothy was very proud of granddaughter Payton, and grandsons Hudson and Lincoln.
Dorothy had many interests in addition to her work as the leader of SASHA Farm, and primary among them were travel, going to concerts, and doing jigsaw puzzles. She was a master at puzzles, and once completed a 10,000 piece puzzle which took up the entire room. She was a “night owl” who loved to do puzzles into the late hours while listening to music. Her taste in music was vast, but rock and roll was her favorite and she attended countless rock concerts over the years. If you named a band or singer, Dorothy had likely seen them live at some point. She even introduced her grandkids to their first concert when they went to hear Pink perform in Portland. Her last concert was the We Love NYC – The Homecoming Concert in August of this year; she and Monte sat in the front row and at the event they met Stephen Colbert, the late night television host and a person Dorothy had always admired. (And there was once a rescued pygmy goat on the farm named after the celebrity.)
Regarding travel destinations, Dorothy twice circumnavigated the globe and visited many countries. She passed through both the Panama and the Suez Canals. She went on bird-watching and nature expeditions in places like the Galapagos Islands and Uganda, in which Dorothy brushed shoulders with a wild mountain gorilla. Her trips took her to Australia, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Ecuador, Egypt, England, Ghana, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Malaysia, Martinique, Mauritius, Morocco, Nepal, Netherlands, Oman, Philippines, Portugal, Scotland, South Africa, Thailand, Tibet, and Vietnam. Her passport was full, as was her life. Dorothy appreciated traveling the world and learning about other cultures, but also enjoyed packing up their motor home and staying in campgrounds locally and across the United States with Monte. They once drove across the Midwest to Wyoming to catch the best view of the total eclipse of the sun.
Dorothy was an incredible woman with lots of determination and intelligence who accomplished many things in her life. She will be sadly missed by her husband Monte, son Darian and daughter-in-law Rachel, grandchildren Payton, Hudson and Lincoln, stepson Ken and his wife Veronica, cousins, many friends and associates, and her animals.
A memorial will be held on Saturday, October 9 from 1 – 5 pm at SASHA Farm, 17901 Mahrle Road, Manchester, MI 48158. FACE MASKS ARE REQUIRED. To honor Dorothy’s legacy and to benefit the rescued animals, donations may be made via the website at sashafarm.org or may be mailed to SASHA Farm, PO Box 222, Manchester, MI, 48158.