Almost Two Years for the Philly Rescues – Meet Kevin & Cathy

Back in September of 2018, Kevin and Cathy were among 128 baby chicks who took a long journey from a parking lot in Philadelphia to a life at SASHA Farm where they would be cared for with the loving kindness which the SASHA Farm Animal Care Team is known for. These particular chicks are a Cornish Cross breed, “broiler chicks”, bred for accelerated growth. They can reach 5 pounds in 5 weeks before slaughter. Chickens bred for meat are forced to grow 65 times faster than their bodies normally would.

A small meat producer in Pennsylvania had purchased two thousand young chicks intending to raise them for meat. With no heat during one bitter cold night, nearly 1,000 of them perished. The farmer chose to end his business endeavor by giving away some of the surviving chicks to friends, while leaving the remaining chicks in a vacant lot, which were advertised for free. The PSPCA (Pennsylvania Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) intervened, and worked with their rescue partner Indraloka Animal Sanctuary to bring the remaining chicks to safety by seeking out additional rescues. SASHA Farm heeded the call. Our rescued chicks grew quickly, even with the specially formulated low protein feed that our local feed mill created just for us. Some died from heart failure at just 2 months of life. Their baby hearts simply could not keep up with their adult-sized bodies.

Around the age of 5 months several chicks developed sores on the pads of their feet known as Bumblefoot. Avian specialists at the Bird and Exotic Pet Wellness Center in Toledo gave us specific care instructions and evaluated several of the chicks. They stated, “Being bred for meat is basically a death sentence. It’s almost inevitable that they will suffer from enlarged organs, heart disease and bumblefoot due to their extreme weight.” Regardless, our staff and volunteers spent hours every day treating and bandaging each foot with a specialized pad and providing antibiotics and other medications to help alleviate the pressure from their enlarged bodies.

Now, almost two years later, we continue to provide specialized care to those who are still with us. It is such a joy to hear them as they vocalize their recognition of their human pals, and run to greet us when we approach. Our animal care manager says, “These birds have the most AMAZING loving personalities. The hens are a little bit more reserved, but the roos are just the funniest, friendliest, and snuggliest boys there are. They love their humans. They are very talkative.” Roosters Kevin and Josh each have their own little flock of hens to care for, with Cathy being part of Kevin’s flock. Both boys are so good to their hens.

Josh and his “ladies”

So, today we celebrate Kevin and Cathy, as well as Helena, Gina, Josh, and Henry, just to name a few among those who are still with us, joyfully greeting us and following us around every day, happy to be loved and safe at SASHA farm.

We are grateful for the opportunity to provide a safe and loving environment to all the chicks who came to SASHA, even though we could not prevent or cure all that afflicted them. Each one was an individual who repaid our love a thousand times over just by being who they were. Those who remain live each day in honor of the ones who have passed.

* Thank you to Shara Jones, Animal Care Manager for much of the current information. See website blog “All for Love” to read the whole story: https://www.sashafarm.org/2019/04/07/all-for-love/

Zoey Comes Home Again: Celebrating the Katrina Dogs of SASHA Farm

“On August 29, 2005, a community and its animals were irrevocably and tragically altered. Katrina, one of the deadliest and strongest hurricanes ever recorded, exacted a devastating blow to the Gulf Coast leading to the loss of thousands of lives, both people and animals.” *  For the people who survived, many lost their pets and were never reunited. We imagine the human Katrina survivors who had to abandon their animals have spent many sleepless nights wondering where their pets ended up and if they found happy lives with new people.

Where was SASHA Farm in 2005? Our founders had been rescuing animals since the 80’s and became a nonprofit in 2001. Although the focus was on farmed animals, they had an incredible “dog barn” and had rescued and adopted out many dogs who could not find placement otherwise.

When we heard about Katrina, we knew that we could help, and that our wonderful community of supporters and veterinary partners would do everything they could to make certain these Katrina rescues would go on to lead healthy, happy lives with new adoptive families.  Our volunteers, our staff, and our founder, Dorothy Davies, made several trips to shelters in the New Orleans area to bring back dogs to SASHA Farm, where they would be lovingly cared for while being treated by veterinarians and adopted out to families in the area.

For a few weeks, it was pretty chaotic. But truly a joyful chaos – as about 50 dogs (adults and puppies), along with donated dog crates, food dishes, dog food, medicines, toys, blankets, leashes, collars, and so much more – just took over the Farm.  The kind and loving veterinarians in the area provided their services free of charge, and our compassionate volunteers and staff took on the additional duties of caring for all of these dogs. Many were found to be heartworm positive, and most were suffering from malnutrition, dehydration, skin problems, and all other issues imaginable. The majority needed to be spayed or neutered as well.

Puppies snuggling in their new home at SASHA Farm. Zoey is the brown and white spotted puppy to the right.

Once the dogs were on the road to good health, the adoption process began. It was an incredible time, seeing how many in the community were so eager to open their homes to a Katrina dog. There were countless happy endings, and we received many letters from adopters telling us how much joy their adopted dogs brought into their homes.

Fast forward to 2020. We assume that many of these Katrina dogs adopted from SASHA Farm have passed. But let us tell you about Zoey. She was adopted out to a couple in the area and lived 15 incredible years with them. She followed her adoptive mom everywhere and loved every minute of her life. But through no fault of Zoey’s, or of her people, the adopting parents became unable to care for her any longer. They called Dorothy and asked if she could come back to SASHA to live out the rest of her life. Dorothy responded immediately, “Of course. We would be honored to welcome her back to SASHA Farm.”

Zoey checking out her new surroundings

You see, another Katrina survivor, little Toto, also lives with Monte and Dorothy in their home, along with two other rescued terriers. Dorothy found Toto on one of her trips to New Orleans. Thinking she was a puppy, she soon realized Toto was just an older, quiet dog. Now, Toto and Zoey will have plenty to discuss!

Toto – loving her home at SASHA Farm

A few other Katrina dogs stayed at SASHA Farm rather than being adopted out.  Miles and Zevon were rescued from the roof of a flooded house. Zevon jumped off safely and got to the rescuers, but Miles broke his foot when he tried to follow his buddy. They rode back to Michigan in the same crate and were inseparable for all the years they lived together, even when one had to go the vet. The other put up such a fuss that it was easier to take both together. Sadly, Miles passed in 2018 and Zevon several years before that. They were both favorites of visitors and volunteers alike and are deeply missed. Bella was another Katrina dog who was adopted out three times but each time she ran back to SASHA Farm, so finally we knew that SASHA was meant to be her forever home until she passed.

Left below: Miles is the bigger dog on the left in the crate. Right below: Miles was a sweet, happy boy, loved by all. RIP Miles and Zevon.

Bella

Zoey, as you might expect, is still checking out her new surroundings, just starting to feel comfortable. She misses her parents but is starting to come to Dorothy and Monte for pets and scratches. She is beginning to show her appetite too. Sweet, gentle, and very quiet, we expect Zoey will start making some noises and following Dorothy around in no time!

Zoey coming home again

We ask that any of you who adopted a dog from SASHA after Katrina to post a picture on Facebook or Instagram with a little about your dog, or send to office@sashafarm.org. If your dog has gone to the Bridge, we offer our deepest condolences. We imagine there is a VERY SPECIAL place for all the Katrina dogs at the Rainbow Bridge.

Welcome back to SASHA Farm, Zoey. We are so grateful that you survived Katrina and have been able to find love again.

* Quote taken from the Louisiana SPCA website on Hurricane Katrina:

https://www.la-spca.org/katrina

Jazzy J and Wally’s Hay Drive for SASHA Farm

This is Jazzy J ! She’s a new kid on the block and wants you to meet her. She loves her hay and would love for you to contribute to this Hay Drive for SASHA Farm.

Jazzy J (one of our “newbies”) and Wally (a long time SASHA goat resident) want you to know that this is the time of year when we fill up the hay barn with their food, so the goats and all their hay eating pals at SASHA Farm will have plenty to eat in the upcoming months. They love their hay almost as much as they love YOU, so Jazzy J and Wally are asking for your help – “keep it coming” they say!

Hey, did you know these HAY facts?

  • The hay eating SASHA animal residents (cows, equines, goats and sheep) eat almost $1000 of hay per week
  • A $7 donation will feed Bhima for a day (this big boy weighs about 2000 pounds!)
  • A $50 donation will feed Bhima for a week

Your contribution to Jazzy J and Wally’s hay drive will make an impact for all the hay eaters, whether you donate $5 or $500. Please donate to our Facebook Fundraiser, or mail a check to: SASHA Farm, PO Box 222, Manchester MI 48158. You can also donate via Paypal from our website, or Venmo a donation to @SASHA-Farm.

Please let us know that your donation is for the Hay Drive.

Jazzy J and Wally are so grateful for your help, so they promise you lots of “goat attention” when they can see you again! And they’re excited to announce that all donors of $5 or more will be entered in a contest. The winner is the person who comes closest to guessing “How many bales of hay can we stack in the hay barn?” Your gift for guessing correctly? A SASHA t-shirt!

Here’s Wally loving all his days at SASHA Farm and happy to co-chair this Hay Drive with Jazzy J!

THANK YOU AGAIN for all of your love and support. We couldn’t do this without you.