Arriving at Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary in Hartville, Wyoming, I thought how appropriate it was that this rescue was marking our half-way point on the Adventure Of A Lifetime. Many trails and pathways had let us up to this point, and I was ready…as ready as I could have been.
I contacted Kindness Ranch after seeing their Facebook page. This was a side of animal rescue that I had not given much thought to. After their acceptance of our visit, we made the journey, hours out of our way to visit. Kindness Ranch is the only sanctuary in the United States that takes in all kinds of research animals.
According to their website, “the mission of the Kindness Ranch is to provide a sanctuary and place of rehabilitation for animals who have been used in laboratory research while fostering compassion for all animals. Consistent with our mission, we work to rehabilitate our dogs and cats in a home-like environment. Cats and dogs at The Kindness Ranch live together with their human caretakers in spacious yurts specially designed to meet their needs. They receive round-the-clock care to help them adjust to their new lives. The Kindness Ranch also provides an adoption program for all the animals we can rehabilitate. Those who are too debilitated, old or ill to be placed in a loving home can remain on the ranch to live out their days, surrounded by caretakers and volunteers who put the animals’ well-being first.”
Needless to say, this was truly a special place. I asked myself why I had not given much thought before to what happened to lab and research animals. Sure, I look on labels to make sure they are listed as “cruelty free”, but it was still a side of animal rescue I did not know existed. Had I been shopping correctly? Was I contributing to this problem? I did some research finding a “cruelty-free” database and vowed to go the extra mile, checking every purchase.
Our visit to Kindness Ranch was a very special day for me. To learn, educate myself and others on how important this issue was became a priority and why we went so out of our way to visit. Did it matter the shampoo I bought? I looked at one of the animals here. The answer was YES. It is my hope that you will learn as well. We met many beagles who are well known to be research animals because of their temperament, but we met so many other breeds as well at Kindness Ranch including hound mixes and pit mixes as well. All wonderful dogs. We start off this article with our latest episode of “Stop Hounding Me” with Maranda Weathermon, the enthusiastic Executive Director of Kindness Ranch.
I have said before, and I will say it again, that animal rescue is overwhelming. Sometimes, it is easy to get frustrated, thinking that nothing you do really makes a difference in the overall picture. I mentally had to prepare myself before visiting Kindness Ranch because truth be told, I was feeling a bit overwhelmed, and this side of animal rescue depressed us beyond belief. But when I arrived and was greeted with smiles and open arms from Maranda, I forgot all of this. I was here to see the ANIMALS. I was not here to tackle the topic of animal research. Because the more we spoke with the kind people here, I knew what I had always thought to be true. Not one person or one organization can do everything. Kindness Ranch is here for the animals who need them. Other organizations take it upon themselves to change laws or make changes to the process of animal research. But Kindness Ranch prefers to help the animals that need them and as their website states, they provide the labs or animal testing or animal education facilities anonymity in exchange.
In many cases, when dogs or cats arrive here, they have never touched a blade of grass, or experienced being outdoors. They may have never been shown affection or have been potty trained. So to rescue these animals takes so much dedication and work. That is why their volunteers live in yurts here on the over 1,000 acres of property to simply be with these animals in a home environment.
They rehabilitate them to prepare them for a real home environment. Every animal makes progress on different time tables and with different challenges. The volunteers we met were simply beyond words in our eyes. Their love and patience showed through from the way they looked at these animals. They were content to simply be in their company showing them how to be loved. Yes, the animals sometimes were timid with us or afraid. But we know that in time, love here will help them adjust to a wonderful world that is out there for them.
Not only do they rescue dogs and cats, but we met the resident bunnies who Sheriff Brickle and Deputy Digby loved. These bunnies had been used in research for the whole ten years of their lives. Now, they are content to bask in the sunshine, be fed treats and “mother” their stuffed animals.
We also met Craig Boyd, the Ranch Manager at Kindness Ranch.
A true cowboy, Craig takes care of the many animals here like the horses, sheep, pigs and cows. What a job he has!
With a tip of his cowboy hat, Craig told us how much his passion for animals plays a role in what he does here. The animals under his care are truly fortunate to be living out their days under his care.
To some, and yes, to us, Hartville, Wyoming seemed like a far away place. A dream. But when we heard that if you want to volunteer here, you can! They offer guest accommodations for those who are interested in volunteering or adopting! Their yurts? So neat! Spacious, clean and way bigger than our RV, this is definitely a place we will be visiting after our trip ends. If you are looking for quiet, peace of mind, and a truly special way to make a difference for animals, you have found it. They welcome daily volunteers too to work alongside their staff like walking dogs or various chores. Is this a dream or what?
Every single animal we met had a story, yet every single animal’s story was not over. It would have been easy for us to dwell on the atrocities they had endured in their little lives. But instead, we chose to dwell on the life that was changing for them due to Kindness Ranch.
The great news? YOU can be a part of this change. What can you do? First of all, you don’t have to travel to Wyoming. Look for that “cruelty-free” distinction on your purchases. Change starts with us all.
You of course can also donate to Kindness Ranch which enables them to save more lives. Volunteering, renting a yurt, fostering AND adopting is KEY! Can you help in any of these ways? We implore our fans to get involved in one of these ways. These animals need you. Pick a way to help!
Come take a vacation here in Wyoming! Kindness Ranch is calling your name.
Our Adventure Of A Lifetime reached its half-way point here. And these dogs and cats are at their half-way point too on the way to a forever home. We thank the volunteers, staff and animals at Kindness Ranch for welcoming us, Brickle and Digby and our RV onto their beautiful property for the day. And thanks to the beautiful state of Wyoming for welcoming us too.
Learn more about Kindness Ranch at www.kindnessranch.org.