Volunteering – Idlewild Animal Sanctuary

Animals, Work experience/volunteering

Where:

Idlewild Animal Sanctuary, Conwy Valley. North Wales.

When?

September 2017 – Present.

I began volunteering at Idlewild Animal Sanctuary in September, 2017. I opted to partake in voluntary work alongside my university studies. I sent a message querying about volunteering, and was soon invited in for an induction.

Roles:

The sanctuary remains close to my heart as it follows a vegan lifestyle, similar to my own. My roles at the sanctuary include basic animal care and husbandry (Cleaning out, feeding, grooming), whilst working with a collection of wonderful animal species. Including: Small and large mammals (Goats, Sheep, Donkeys and Rabbits) And birds. I’ve made friends grown in confidence and expanded on both my knowledge and experience within the animal care industry. 

I also enjoy spending quality time with the animals and encouraging them to remain both mentally and physically stimulated through different forms of enrichment. Alongside ensuring they are content and healthy. 

Volunteering – Little Owl Farm

Animals, Work experience/volunteering

Where:

Little Owl Farm, Oldham. Lancashire.

https://m.facebook.com/LittleOwlFarm/#_%23_

When?

February 2017 – Present.

I began volunteering at Little Owl Farm in February, 2017. After an email and 3 bus rides lead me to finding myself at the farm for the first time.

Roles:

My roles at the farm include basic animal care and husbandry (Cleaning out, feeding, grooming), whilst working with a collection of wonderful animal species. Including: Small and large mammals (Goats, Sheep, Donkeys and Rabbits) And birds. I’ve made friends, grown in confidence and expanded on both my knowledge and experience within the animal care industry.

I also enjoy spending quality time with the animals and encouraging them to remain both mentally and physically stimulated through different forms of enrichment. Alongside ensuring they are content and healthy.

Additionally, I enjoy expanding on my knowledge and experience with animal and nature photography. Snapping my farmyard friends brings me joy, and I love picturing animals in that given moment and sharing my images with others.

Chester Zoo 31/05/2019

Animals

I’ve been a regular, proud visitor of Chester Zoo from an early age. I became introduced to the Zoo during fulfilling and memorable family visits as I grew and developed and learned more about a variety of different animal species. I distinctively recall standing in awe, gazing at the towering Giraffes and becoming mesmerised by the Flamingos unmistakable pinkness.

My friend and I headed to the Zoo yesterday. The weather was in our favour, as it remained dry and temperate throughout. Though, I wouldn’t have minded either way. I’ve visited the Zoo in snowy conditions and warmer ones, and all experiences have been a joy!

https://www.chesterzoo.org

I wanted to give an insight into my favourite species. I particularly have a soft spot for Ungulates, which I guess heightens my admiration of Goats…

I particularly favour Chester Zoo. The animals’ enclosures resemble natural environments as closely as possible, and aim to encourage both mental and physical stimulation through enrichment and the exhibiting of natural behaviours. This is important, especially in captivity as it helps to reduce stereotypical and abnormal behaviours, such as: Pacing, head banging, pica (the consumption of non-food items) and bar biting.

Giraffes (Giraffa Camelopardalis)

Place of origin: Africa.

I had the pleasure of seeing the Zoo’s newest, and most beautiful, Giraffe calf’s who stood elegantly at approximately 6 feet tall. Twins: Mburo and Karamoja, and newest arrival Mojo. They were lightly coloured and curious animals, covered in patches that are totally unique like fingerprints. They successfully widened the smile on my face, with being my favourite African mammal. Giraffes are currently near extinction, and the Zoo aims to conserve and protect species for future generations.

Okapis (Okapia Johnstoni)

Place of origin: Southern and Central America, Asia.

The Okapis continue to fascinate me greatly, with a horse like appearance and zebra-like stripes situated on the legs and the behind. Fascinatingly, they’re known as the closest living relative of the Giraffe and they share similar features. Ie: they’re both ungulates and herbivores. This Okapi in particular was enjoying a watermelon slab, before sharing it with the small Deer inhabiting the same enclosure.

Elephants (Loxodonta)

Place of origin: Africa.

The Elephants at Chester Zoo are a related herd, named the hi-way family. Heartbreakingly, two members of the herd have tragically passed away (October, 2018) due to the spread of the lethal EEHV virus, which is known to attack membranes, resulting in bleeding and a fever. Almost all Elephants carry the virus, yet, it only turns into an illness for some. I believe another member, one of the youngest, has also recently been treated for the disease and it currently making a speedy, successful recovery. The herd were being bathed during our visit, as they contentedly soaked up the water and widely opened their mouths, almost like a smile.

Find out more about EEHV here:

Black Rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis)

Place of origin: Africa.

Tapir (Tapirus terrestris)

Place of origin: Southern and Central America, Asia and Africa.

During my previous visit to the Zoo, the Tapirs were running around energetically outside. This being when the weather was dramatically colder. This time around, the group were relaxing indoors before one slowly proceeded to wake up. There are 5 species of Tapir, which inhabit forested regions in America and Asia. The youngest individual was easily identifiable amongst the others, due to white markings on the body. The markings are typically present from birth, but fade significantly during development.

 

More of my favourite images:

Veganism and recovery – cruelty free healing

Animals

In April 2016, I made the incredible decision of transitioning to Veganism. Something other than an Instagram fad, but a lifestyle always rising in popularity, involving love, peace and contentment. And, of course, joy for all beings.

Standing out from my family, I had never been a keen meat eater. I would never opt for meat during meal times and would always feel more comfortable choosing alternative options. I believe that consciously, I always knew it was wrong for me to consume animals who simply wanted to fulfil the entirety of their lives. Thankfully, my family have always remained supportive of my choices and have never forced any kind of lifestyle upon me.

As I also struggle with Anorexia Nervosa, Veganism may be viewed as another way of restricting certain food groups or making excuses for not eating things containing animal products. Though this may be the case for other sufferers, it isn’t for me. Not every choice make is Anorexia driven. And I wish to flourish into the happy Vegan I’m destined to be, for myself and my beautiful animal companions, with the message that Veganism can be helpful for those suffering from all kinds of Eating Disorders. But as Veganism grows, so does the demand for products suitable for myself and others.

Choosing Veganism has enabled me to feel as though I have a purpose. My purpose that remained unawakened for a lengthy duration of my life. Being a voice for the voiceless and caring for animals in the same way they care for me and turn the darkest days into brighter ones. I made the decision to switch on my own, which gave me independence and a sense of free will. Veganism for me hasn’t just been about transforming my dietary choices, but about strengthening my love of animals and kindness overall and about making a positive impact in our world.

Widening my eyes and increasing my knowledge into the harsh realities of the dairy industry (Prior to becoming Vegan, I was Veggie so I was already aware of the meat industry…) had implications in my decision. Witnessing animals being forced into a torturous and heartbreakingly cruel industry, where they are constantly used and abused like machines and torn away from their traumatised mothers was something I simply couldn’t contribute to anymore. Educating myself, and realising I don’t need animal products in order to survive, changed my life and my outlook into just how unfairly animals are treated in our world.

Additionally, as I am on a pathway to a career within the animal care industry I felt it was only natural of me to become Vegan. Because caring for animals is my life and something I am highly dedicated to. If anything, it’s given me even more of a reason to fight. Animals aren’t able to speak up for themselves in an understandable way, which is why people like myself do it on their behalf.

My Anorexia has deprived me of countless things. Memories and friends have been lost, but my admiration for animals has always remained strong as a reminder of why I must fight. Being a life-long animal lover, I felt Veganism heightened the compassion I’ve always held in my heart for animals of all kinds. Transitioning to a cruelty-free lifestyle has enabled me to not only choose compassion, but to also feel increasingly compassionate (and happier!) too as I do all I can to minimise animals’ suffering with my food and lifestyle choices. Knowing my lifestyle reduces cruelty and suffering fills me with copious amounts of joy and fulfilment.

With the compassion I hold in my heart for animals, viewing them as my lifelong friends, I’ve been aiming to find the same level for myself as I work hard in my recovery pathway. Veganism isn’t a magical cure for mental illnesses and it’s vital to acknowledge that, though, it can give people a brighter outlook on life. Recently, my lovely teacher reminded me that I must care for myself in the same way I care for animals. Meaning, I mustn’t rush to give myself a hard time when I am faced with mental and physical battles day in and day out.

The life lessons we learn from animals are phenomenal and irreplaceable. From them, we can gain an increased understanding regarding love, happiness, care and compassion – all of which we struggle to apply to ourselves at times. Especially whilst going through a dark patch.

Spending my time volunteering with animals continuously insights me into the loving beings we’re blessed to have with us. And for me, Veganism will only continue to aid me in my recovery pathway from Anorexia and other mental illnesses.

Animal Therapy – The therapy extending beyond four walls

Animals, Mental Health

Today I want to talk about a kind of therapy that is more than sitting in a room with a trained therapist. Animal therapy. As with each day that comes I am learning more about the benefits and uses of animals in people’s daily lives and individual roads to recovery from various issues, meaning I am very keen to give others an insight into why animals are becoming increasingly popular in healing.

What is animal assisted therapy?

Definition: Animal-assisted therapy (AAT) is a type of therapy that involves animals as a form of treatment. The goal of AAT is to improve a patient’s social, emotional, or cognitive functioning

Therapy animals are often seen as Dogs, which is wonderful since they assist so many people in need of a loving, helpful, forever companion. However, we are blessed to have with us so many wonderful and unique animal species who also deserve recognition for the roles they play in our lives as companions, helpers and life-long friends.

With animals in therapy, there isn’t that added pressure of worrying over causing upset to the other person with certain things have been expressed. In therapy I always find myself struggling to string a sentence together, let alone trying to get it out of my mouth. I have never liked the idea of communication in case speaking about my bad times makes the person listening feel equally as bad. But with animals it flows naturally and it feels way more comfortable due to the lack of awkwardness and the increase in calmness.

Animals bring out the best in us without special training. Just simply by being themselves.

A key factor highlighting the positive attributes as having animals as therapy is that you are under no obligation to communicate with them if you choose not to, but you are still aware that the animals are there to listen and to be the friend you need to pick you up when you’ve fallen. Even without speaking, which can be tough for many people, animals can easily pick up on high levels of stress and anxiety, which Humans struggle to detect without the physical signs and symptoms – such as crying. Animals are excellent at detecting mental signs of distress, not just physical ones. They will quickly do all in their power to alleviate that by nudging you for attention or sitting with you to prevent you from dwelling on your thoughts and feelings alone.

Talking therapies have always proven tough for me since I struggle to verbally talk about my thoughts and feelings due to judgement and fear. But with animals, there is none of that, there is no worry or fear of judgement or abandonment. Whenever I am surrounded with the Goats, my problems are no longer swimming around my mind or bothering me as much for me to feel the need to express them anyway. I don’t have the time for my thoughts to linger when I have a responsibility to care for, and play with, the Goats. 

‘Animals make all the bad things go away’.

I am one of many people worldwide who personally experiences animal therapy. I’m not talking about an assistance Dog. Many people experience animal therapy from friends with fur to friends with scales, or even spines. There is no limit in which animals can be used for animal therapy. But today, I’m talking about Goats. Goats for me have acted as a form of therapy, alongside being the best friends imaginable. Excellent listeners who give the best hugs and provide the best happy distraction, aswell as endless love and affection.

With animals I don’t have to sit and figure out how I will express myself, it just naturally happen whenever I am in their presence.

It’s time we moved on from using Goats for meat and dairy and instead focused on their values, providing them with the happiness, love and freedom they deserve. Goats are the honorable, trustworthy and kind hearted companions we all need in our lives.

My wonderful friend Lainey Morse the founder of Goat Yoga and my fellow crazy goat lady is one of many people using animal therapy as a means of adding happiness into other’s lives. Lainey has experienced the healing properties her Goats possess, meaning it has proven to be very beneficial in her recovery from mental illnesses. Goats entered Lainey’s life and have aided her, not only mentally, but also in her heart and soul too as she continues to inspire many (myself included) with her continued bravery and strength each day. Additionally, Lainey’s yoga classes have grown to be a worldwide phenomenon which were created with the idea of Goat Therapy and compassion. Though it doesn’t cure people’s issues, it aims to give people a happy/calming distraction from their every day issues, worries and stress. And, unsurprisingly, people LOVE IT! Because it’s impossible not to be filled with joy and contentment when surrounded with such cheerful and jolly Goats!

To gain an insight into Goat Yoga in a greater depth, please visit: http://www.goatyoga.net.

There are lots of amazing properties about Goats that many people have yet to recognise. Goats have gentle souls, they are highly intelligent animals, cheeky and inquisitive, sharing many known characteristics and personality traits with Dogs, a “man’s best friend”. Meaning they are very easy to bond with and are always down for cuddles and affection, an instant mood booster and anxiety reliever.

I feel that with Goats, I am never alone. Being welcomed with their presence is always a huge heart warmer and when being around them it’s as if my problems have magically vanished, appearing vacant and less heavy in my head. As soon as I see a Goat, that is it! I am quickly drawn to them and fail to take my eyes off their playful behaviours. Goats bring out the best in me and enable me to temporarily forget about the other issues in my life, a key property in the art of therapy. Providing me with senses of worth and importance, common factors that are easily forgotten during times of mental distress. My darkest thoughts quickly begin to focus on the wonderful animals I am surrounded with, seeing them getting on with their daily lives without a care or fuss in The World proves to me that a life without worry is possible.

Our animal friends teach us many life lessons that I highly value and treasure close to my heart. I am confident that with the continued help of my animal friends, anything is possible, and I will continue on my journey towards happiness and self-love to aid me in my career pathway of saving animals in the future, just like my inspiration Lainey Morse.

In the photos below, you will view animal therapy occurring with the presence of Goats. Judging from my expression in each individual image, I am feeling very happy and content with the help of my four-legged friends. 

Would you look at these images and see somebody suffering with complex mental health illnesses? Goats don’t only mask my feelings on the outside, but also on the inside too.

 

 

Blackpool Zoo – Zoo keeper for a day

Animals, Work experience/volunteering

On the 19th November, 2017, I was lucky enough to have the wonderful experience of being a Zookeeper for the day at Blackpool Zoo alongside my beautiful cousin, Savannah. I would firstly like to point out that the experience was the most enjoyable, informative and well organised experience I have endured. And one I’d, wholeheartedly, recommend to everybody! Additionally, I would like to take the opportunity to thank Blackpool Zoo and their incredible Zookeepers for making the day one I’ll never forget. And, of course, the animals for making my day unforgettable and a day I’ll forever treasure close to my heart.

I received this opportunity as a Christmas present in 2016 and had eagerly waited all year for the day to arrive. I had wanted to do this for a very long time, but the waiting lists had always been lengthy, so you can imagine how excited I would’ve been. I was counting down the months, the weeks, the days and then I was soon to be counting down the hours and then the minutes.

The day approached. I had my alarm set for 6am – hours before we were expected to arrive to the Zoo – and I quickly got dressed into my zoo gear. Work boots, waterproof pants, a water proof coat and lots of warm thermals to wear underneath. I could barely sit still. We drove the 45 minute journey to the Zoo (Me, my mum, my auntie and my cousin) and sat excitedly waiting for the time to come around.

We then headed into the Zoo’s reception area where we were greeted by a lovely receptionist who handed us high visibility jackets to wear, stating ‘Zookeeper for a day’ on the back. Admittedly, I felt very special whilst wearing the jacket and I couldn’t wait to get started with, what was set to be, the best day of my life. We sat in the reception area for a short duration of time, awaiting our next step on our big day!

Lauren the Zookeeper turned up and politely introduced herself and we were taken along to the old Elephant enclosure. Blackpool Zoo have recently developed a new project, named ‘Project Elephant’ which is the new enclosure for Kate and her new Elephant friends. So before heading over to that, we were taken to her previous enclosure to be given some (very interesting) information about the Zoo’s history, which included the history of the Elephant enclosure. And Kate! It’s safe to say, Kate has been through one heck of a journey and she certainly is a credit to Lauren and the rest of the Zookeepers. It’s very heartwarming to hear how Zoos have improved in today’s modern day society, where we have a better understanding and knowledge of Zoos and the requirements of different animal species. This became evidently clear to us when we were taken around Kate’s new house! (Project Elephant)

The new house was INCREDIBLE! And it appeared to be much better suited to cater for Kate and her needs. I was lucky enough to have a VIP tour of it. It’s much larger and more natural looking. There are a range of fixtures and fittings suited to Elephant life. Including tree trunks that can get moved around the enclosure, to represent an Elephant’s natural environment and to act as enrichment. There is now a swimming pool in the outdoor area for Kate to enter, as and when wanted, and there were hay nets suspended into the air that were put onto a timer. Ready to be suspended down to the Elephants during random times throughout the day and night. Again, this highlights the improvements in enrichment and knowledge from Zoo staff.

Project Elephant ‘Base Camp’ is now open to the public at Blackpool Zoo, with an incredible enclosure and 3 gorgeous Elephants to visit.

It’s a vital requirement of Zoos to provide enrichment for the animals, in order to prevent them from boredom and stress. It’s also part of  The Five Freedoms. (Animal Welfare Act, 2006). Also, enrichment serves a purpose of keeping the animals physically and mentally stimulated. A requirement in which Blackpool Zoo carry out exceedingly well.

  1. Freedom from discomfort
  2. Freedom from fear and distress
  3. Freedom from hunger and thirst
  4. Freedom to exhibit natural behaviours
  5. Freedom from pain, injury and disease

We then had the chance to feed a variety of different, gorgeous, animals. Some of which included: The Giraffes, Penguins, Anteaters, Pelicans, Lemurs and Tortoises. We also had the chance to meet the Tapirs (Who I immediately fell in love with) and the Aardvarks.

After we had our VIP tour of Kate’s new enclosure, we were then greeted by another Zookeeper who took us to carry out some more of our daily tasks. We headed to the Tortoise enclosure and were, happily, faced with Giant Tortoises. Including Darwin – The Zoo’s oldest resident. We were given a selection of Vegetables to feed to Tortoises, it was very fun watching them chomp away. Though, we had to be very careful to mind we didn’t get stood on. The Tortoises were friendly, but giant. Friendly giants. Plus, we didn’t want any broken feet…

Feeding the Penguins involved filling their fish with essential vitamins and mineral tablets. We had to hold open the Fish’s fin and then place the two tablets inside. We then headed out to the Penguin pool and went on to feed the Fish, which the Penguins were clearly very excited for as they gathered around the front of the pool. We then listened to the Penguin talk which was informative and presented very well. A task I found, near, impossible was being unable to stroke one of the Penguins (due to the zoo choosing to NOT having him having any human contact). The zookeeper explained how this particular Penguin was the only one to have not been touched by Humans, even the keepers, as they wanted him to be a more ‘natural’ Penguin. Which is fantastic (not very easily done though, he was adorable!) 

I’m very eager to talk about the highlight of my day (though, it was all fantastic) I absolutely adored meeting the Tapirs. I’ve always had an interest in them, but I can happily say that my love for them has increased. Spending time with the Tapirs was incredible and it has, in fact, inspired me to work with them in my future animal care career. There are two Tapirs at Blackpool Zoo, one was more friendly and the other was quite timid and wary. I got to spend lots of time tickling and cuddling the Tapir (we even had some kisses) and he was slowly closing his eyes as we continued to tickle him in his favourite spot. This experience allowed me to engage with Tapirs for the first time, and also enabled me to see what magnificent mammals they are.

Another highlight of my day…(Okay, they’re all highlights) was feeding the Giraffes. Giraffes are my favourite animal, including Goats of course, so having the opportunity to get so close to them (for the second time) was definitely an experience to remember. Not many people can say they’ve been face to face with the World’s tallest Mammal! We fed the Giraffes with Acacia leaves, which are similar to their natural diet, and they highly enjoyed them. I loved seeing their large tongues sticking out ready to grab the leaves. I also loved how friendly and gentle they were, considering their size. Giraffes have charming personalities and never fail to amaze me with how majestic they are.

Now, lets talk about the Lemurs. My goodness, what a life-changing opportunity! I wanted to take my Lemur friend home, he wouldn’t leave my shoulder and I felt very accepted within the ‘Lemur community’ I had just headed into. We headed into the Lemur enclosure after being welcomed by the Zookeeper and were given some information about them. Stepping into the enclosure was an experience in itself, I suddenly felt a little weight on my shoulder and was faced to see a gorgeous Lemur waiting for his grapes right beside my head. It was epic! We were handed grapes and the Lemurs were quick, and eager, to approach us for their snack. It was adorable seeing them taking hold of the grapes and taking bites out of them *insert Lemur chewing noise here*

The Lemurs concluded the day, and what a day it was! We then headed back to the Reception area to hand in our jackets and to receive a goody bag, containing a range of small gifts and our very own completion certificate.

This was an experience I’ll never forget, certainly something I aim to take part in again. It has provided me with a real glimpse into Zoo life and what is typically involved in a Zookeepers’ day – essential as I strive for a career within the animal care industry.

Lots of love,

Laur xx

My Tickle a Tapir experience – Blackpool Zoo

Animals

On the 25th March 2018 I had the opportunity to meet the two gorgeous Brazilian Tapirs at Blackpool Zoo (for the second time) when carrying out the `Tickle a Tapir’ experience. I chose to book myself onto the experience following on from my Zookeeper day, where I developed a keen interest in Tapirs and fell in love with their unique personalities. It was certainly a highlight of my day which I wanted to experience again. The experience was incredible and lasted approximately an hour – in this time I fed the two Tapirs (named Pocahontas and G’kar) and learned more about them in the process. Including the fact that they have a very hearty appetite and their long snouts were proving to be very beneficial in their overall survival process, aiding in feeding and breathing.

Brazilian Tapirs are just one species of Tapir. They are intelligent, Herbivorous (feeding on plants, vegetables and fruits) Mammals from South America. With a life expectancy of around 30 years old. Unfortunately, their conservation status is vulnerable – meaning their species are at risk of becoming endangered due to habitat loss, and since they are hunted for their meat and skin, which is used to make leather, it saw a massive decline in their overall species number.

Blackpool Zoo are just one of many Zoos in The UK who carry out vital conservation work, which is important in playing a crucial role in protecting our fantastic animal species from facing extinction. Without Zoos, we would’ve lost many animals due to dangers and threats in their natural environments.

I was greeted in the reception area where I eagerly waited with my Mum and her partner Chris, by a Zookeeper and one of the men from the work experience department, from which we headed down to the Tapir enclosure together. I was given a talk about the Tapirs and then into the enclosure we headed, ready to be greeted by two very hungry and curious Tapirs.

Pocahontas is two years old and Jafar is seventeen years old. I could differentiate the two when I realised that Jafar still had markings on his legs from his younger days. Typically, Tapirs will lose their markings at around the age of two, but Jafar didn’t lose some of his. The pair had recently had some dental work done and I was warned (beforehand) by the Zookeeper that they may be quite wary of me; considering they had been sedated a few weeks ago I found them to be very friendly and trustworthy. Yet, understandably, curious.

The experience is certainly something I would recommend to others, and would carry out again myself. I found the experience both fun and informative. The keepers were very knowledgeable and quick to answer any questions, or queries, I had. My experiences at Blackpool Zoo have always been positive and memorable, I am a very proud member and a definite visitor for life.

Lots of love,

Laur xx

 

My lesson from Darwin The Dalmatian – Not the Scientist

Animals

Okay so, today I am going to be informing you all of a very important life lesson I learned yesterday, whilst at the farm volunteering. Whilst I do this, I aim to help others to come to the same realisation that I have in order to help certain thoughts and feelings around things (mainly anorexia related.) However, an important life lesson for everybody to take into consideration.

My lesson comes from a 7-week-old Dalmatian Puppy named Darwin (who belongs to Cindy, John and Izaak.) But I must add that all kinds of lessons can be learned from animals which I will talk about in future blog posts yay! During my time at the farm yesterday I was lucky enough to spend some time looking after him and as I sat watching over him, kind of like a parent and their baby, I picked up on a few things beyond his cuteness…

Darwin was very content doing what puppies spend the majority of their time doing – sleeping. Also, eating, playing and doing his business. I picked up on a few factors, such as Darwin didn’t appear to feel guilty after he’d eaten and when he didn’t exercise it off, he just slept. Darwin didn’t cry over his food, he simply ate it and enjoyed it. No guilt, no tears. Darwin didn’t feel bad or guilty for doing what he knows he needs to be doing in order to grow up big and strong, into a lively and playful adult. Darwin also has little signature ‘puppy fat rolls’ which he didn’t seem at all phased by. Why? Because he will grow into his body, and his fat is essential in order to keep him warm, to protect his organs and to store all of his energy used in playtime and general daily living. Plus, he looks adorable and cuddly and that’s all that matters (and his health of course.)

You may be thinking… ‘well, isn’t that obvious?’ and my answer to that is, no. As an Anorexia sufferer I struggle to see why these things are, or should be, important. I find it impossible to apply things to myself because I feel undeserving and guilty. I struggle with concepts such as seeing food as a necessity rather than a punishment, caring for myself and not being so hard on myself and depriving myself of the things I need. I struggle to remember at times that food is important and vital in order to survive and thanks to little Darwin, I am able to remember that; I need to work exceptionally hard now to put my newly found knowledge into practice, meaning the next time I want to skip a meal I must remember Darwin and his enjoyment for food.

I wouldn’t deprive Darwin (or any animal) of any of these things: food, love, health, happiness and contentment. Therefore, why should I deprive myself of them? Why should any of us? Another lesson I am learning to drill into my head until it’s no longer debatable. If Darwin knew what I was doing to myself, endulging in Anorexic behaviours, what would he think? We’re all aware of how much Dogs (all animals) love people and wouldn’t want them to be suffering in any way, shape or form.

Animals are healers and I believe we are able to learn more from them than any kind of therapy could ever teach us. From animals we are able to see the art of caring for, and loving ourselves, and why it isn’t something to feel bad for or guilty about. You would never see an animal counting calories, which enables us to see how irrelevant it is in the grand scheme of things. You wouldn’t see an animal strictly counting steps and exercising obsessively because they ate a few more calories than usual. They would use those calories to their advantage, remembering that food equals energy and calories are just numbers. You wouldn’t see an animal glancing at their reflection in the mirror and becoming obsessed by it, wishing for it to be smaller. Another thing is that animals do NOT give two hoots about their weight, they could’ve gained 10kg and that wouldn’t set them backwards in any way, it’d probably be their pathway to enjoying more food.

Two main things animals need that we also need:

  • Food and water – These things are VITAL for survival and we would die without them. Both people and animals require a set amount of calories (energy points) in order to get through each day. And, yes, you need food when you’re just sitting down like Darwin when he sleeps. We wouldn’t starve animals, highlighting the fact that we shouldn’t starve ourselves. We need food even when we despise our bodies and even when we’re having a bad day.
  • A healthy body – *Anorexia screams* But a healthy body is very important in order to get us through each day, to keep us going, to reduce the chances of us becoming poorly, so we can do basic things such as walking to the shop. If an animal’s body wasn’t healthy, if the ribs were prominent, we would be very concerned and it would be closely monitored. It isn’t something we should be aiming for; we should aim for health, always. Everybody, both people and animals, need and deserve to be in good health in order to fulfil a happy, long life.

I hope this managed to help! Feel free to share it to everybody you know.

Ps: If you’re currently feeling guilty for eating, give your pet a treat and see how excited they get for it. That’s normal, fearing food isn’t, we should all aim to be as happy in life as animals are because they have feelings too and they are quite often the right ones.

Lots of love,

Laur xx

Summer at Little Owl Farm

Animals

Today, I am going to be writing about Summer at Little Owl Farm (where I volunteer) so you can all hear about all the fun things that are taking place. I’ll obviously include lots of animal pictures because…why wouldn’t I?!

Little Owl Farm opened during Easter 2016, which means that this is the second Summer they’ve been open for. How exciting is that! I know there’ll be many more Summers to come at the farm and lots more memories made.  Since opening, more and more people are becoming aware of the farm and are taking it upon themselves to visit and to make beautiful little animal friends and to enjoy a homemade cake, or two, or ten! (Haha) The farm is becoming more known to people which is brilliant because they deserve every success in The World.

This is my favourite farm because it’s very friendly and there’s always things going on for people of all ages. Including crafts, animal finding and den making. And no two days are ever the same. Cindy comes up with some amazing craft ideas involving children sticking things together and decorating them to make a snail or a caterpillar (for example.) My favourite time was when a little boy mixed all of the glitters together so he could make a ‘rainbow cow.’ I mean, he wasn’t meant to do that but it was really funny and that turned out to be a really groovy cow. Without forgetting to mention the themed days and weeks that are regularly taking place, including book week which has just passed. Also, this farm allows children and adults to have a hands-on experience with the animals which is very important and exciting, though we have to ensure nobody leaves with a rabbit in their pocket…Or if you’re me, you may be tempted to steal a Goat 😉

It’s very clear that Cindy and John take lots of pride in their farm – as they should! And do their best to make sure everybody is happy and that they feel welcome. I know that when they ask how things are, they genuinely care, whereas some people may just ask to make a conversation. I’ve known Cindy and John for around 6 months now, but it feels like longer (in a good way!) as I tell them pretty much everything so I’m very lucky to have such understanding and supportive people in my life. They are the loveliest people I’ve ever had the privilidge of meeting. In addition to this, they always look happy to see people and get along with everybody (and animals of course) very well which makes people even more keen to carry on going back.

Go and visit Little Owl Farm this Summer (and this Autumn, Winter and next Spring too and all the ones after) as you’ll have a fantastic time meeting fellow animal lovers and you may even be lucky enough to have your face painted or you could even get an ice-cream after you’ve had fun feeding the animals. Not to forget Izaak’s new addition, Darwin! Who you do NOT want to miss like I accidentally did!!

Also, a huge shoutout to Cindy, John and Izaak for making their farm such an amazing place for both animals and people 🙂

Lots of love,

Laur xxx

 

Little Owl Farm

Animals

As an aspiring animal rehabilitation/orphanage worker I deem it necessary to gain experience working within the animal care industry, before and during my time at University. By doing this, I aim to gain newfound knowledge aswell as building my confidence up when it comes to approaching people and educating them on my animal knowledge and my understanding regarding unique and beautiful animal species that people may not know much about.

I also enjoy spending my time in the company of animals as they do not judge you and they have a caring and therapeutic side which works wonders for myself, and plenty of others too. When with animals, I gain confidence and I am able to refind my compassionate side which works wonders when I am struggling to find the motivation to care for myself properly.

One of my favourite placements has been at the Little Owl Farm, in Oldham which I strongly advise you all to visit. I am so glad I found it and my only regret is being unable to take my animal friends home with me!  You will have an amazingly wonderful time and will be in such a loving, tranquil environment in a beautifully scenic spot, alongside beautiful animals and wonderful people.

Prior to heading to this farm, I had never been to Oldham and it was challenging to travel such a distance on my own using public transport. Though, I managed well and I safely and happily arrived at the farm in freezing temperatures during my first visit back in February. I must add, Google maps is highly underrated and I imagine I wouldn’t have been as successful in my travels without it.

The farm is incredible, the owners made me feel like family and they hold a big place in my heart. I felt very welcomed and comfortable too which was lovely considering I am usually very anxious when it comes to new people. It is the same whenever I am at the farm and being there makes me happy and relaxed and as though I had been there all along.

Cindy, John and their young son Izaak have created this farm and a wonderful home for lots of gorgeous animals on their own and have worked incredibly hard to get to the point they’re at. They are wonderful and obviously very knowledgeable with regards to animals and their welfare. It is obvious that this family are passionate about what they do and they very clearly have a strong love for animals.

There are now regular events which take place there at the farm, including charity fundraising events and a range of fun activities going on for the Children during school holidays and birthdays.

This farm is going to be very successful, well, even more successful than it already is, and I can’t wait to see Cindy and John’s hard work paying off more and more, I can’t think of anybody who deserves it more than this lovely couple. Since opening over a year ago, the farm has already gained lots more visitors and has welcomed some new animal arrivals. Yay!

Go and visit, make new animal friends, get up and close to them, maybe even get your face painted or enjoy a bite to eat at the cafe!

Lots of love and hugs,

Laur x

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