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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The Donkey Sanctuary – Visiting our adopted boy Henry

Animals

Today I went on a visit to The Donkey Sanctuary, in Manchester with my Mum and her Boyfriend Chris.

For Mother’s Day, I adopted my Mum a Donkey (named Henry) because she adores them and we had the privilege of meeting him today for the first time. We will definitely be paying some more visits and I would encourage everybody else to do the same.

There isn’t enough awareness, or appreciation, of The Donkey Sanctuary and the life changing work they do 365 days a year.

I would like to begin by saying how pleased I was to see how well the gorgeous Donkeys were taken care of. They had plenty of space to move around, a large sleeping area, plenty of food (including treats like ginger biscuits and carrots) and fresh water available and it was very clear that the Donkeys are loved and cared for unconditionally. They had obviously grown comfortable with the staff caring for them. And all of this warms my heart and fills it with joy.

The Donkey Sanctuary is an international charity, which has been running for 45 years, which aims to transform the lives of Donkeys throughout The World, whether they’ve been abandoned, abused or if they simply cannot be taken care of anymore. This sanctuary is incredible as they are compassionate and will never turn a Donkey down, regardless of their age or their state of health.

The Donkey Sanctuary are also an assisted therapy centre, working with Children with additional needs and/or sensory issues. Children are always said to be more relaxed when with animals, as they are not judgemental and due to their caring, therapeutic side. I speak from personal experience as I find all animals to be of more use than any therapy.  This aspect of the sanctuary also allows the children, and visitors, to form bonds and trust with the donkeys, which is always such a lovely feeling.

It was incredible being able to visit Henry, knowing that our donations go towards his basic care, husbandry and health needs. Without forgetting to mention the fact that he is absolutely gorgeous and approvingly very well fed… as you can tell by looking at his huge tummy!

In total, The Donkey Sanctuary (in Manchester) has a grand total of 18 beautiful Donkeys. Each with their own stories and their own unique, cheeky personalities. There was only 1 female, you can imagine that she’s treated like a Queen.

Today, during my visit, a Donkey had become injured (due to rough play with another Donkey) and within seconds a member of staff was on board to treat the Donkey and mend him back to good health. The Donkey had hurt his eye; he was soon running around again cheekily alongside his 17 friends. It was refreshing to see how observational the staff were during this time.

When the Donkeys are old enough to retire, they go off to the partner sanctuary in Devon with lots of other Donkeys to spend their older years in a brand new location. Basically a holiday for the Donkeys.

Please go and visit if you get the opportunity to, you will be amazed by how content the Donkeys are thanks to this charity.

Lots of love and hugs,

Laur xx

 

Veganism – why I don’t exploit my animal friends

Animals

Definition of a Vegan: ‘A person who does not eat or use animal products’

Veganism. In this single word, I am already beginning to picture people rolling their eyes and throwing a glance my way as though I have two heads. I bet you think I’ve been paid to write this, or that I’m just some modern day hippy. You’re probably thinking, WHY Veganism? Why would you choose to live on a lifestyle of vegetables, do you enjoy the taste of cardboard?

Amazingly, Veganism is now on the rise with more and more supermarkets, cafes, restaurants and companies catering for Vegans as more people have decided to join the cruelty-free lifestyle, saving hundreds of animals each year. With the high rise in Veganism, this brings a demand for more products to be made available for us to consume, use and wear. N0 – Veganism isn’t just about food!

Veganism isn’t a Diet; Veganism is a lifestyle

There are a wide range of Vegan products available, way more than just your average fruit and veggies – though they are delicious too! We are now able to have a Vegan alternative in pretty much everything. Cheese, burgers, ice-cream, yoghurt, popcorn, chocolate, pizza, milk, soup… You name it, there’ll more than likely be a vegan, cruelty-free, alternative to the things you usually buy.

Veganism is not expensive, you can buy lots of vegan products and spend a little amount of money. Also, you’ll be rewarded with the feeling of no longer contributing to suffering and animal abuse. Vegan products are available in most supermarkets now including:

  • Asda
  • Tesco
  • Sainsburys
  • Morrisons
  • Aldi
  • Lidl
  • Ocado
  • M&S
  • B&M bargains
  • Holland and Barrett
  • Waitrose

Right now, hundreds of animals will be sent to slaughter, animals will be living in treacherous cramped conditions where they cannot turn around or move properly, where they are forced to stand in their own faeces and where they will have no access to the outdoors or fresh air. These animals will never feel the cool, crisp morning air running through their fur (or feathers) and they will never experience the feeling of walking through freshly grown grass.  And all this is because they are forced to give up their short lives to become ‘food’. Shouldn’t all beings have the rights to their own lives? Flashback to the past, remember when Sweeney Todd was butchering people and putting them in pasteries? People were very disugusted, sickened and confused when they found out. Yet, this is the reality of millions of animal’s lives. This isn’t okay.

You’re probably thinking ‘Well, I buy free-ranged so it’s okay!’ But may I just remind you that NO animals want to be killed? Whether they’re free-ranged or not, they are still being exploited and are tragic victims of animal abuse, pain and suffering. Some companies use pictures of animals looking ‘happy’ in order to sell their produce and have positive words in their products in order to attract customers.  including the Happy Egg Company.

Are the Hens really all that happy, being used as machines? Being forced to lay egg after egg whilst confined in the worst possible conditions?

Animals are here with us, not for us

The animals you are consuming will have been artificially inseminated in order to be forced to get pregnant. Then, straight after birth, the animals are taken away from their Mother’s before they’ve even developed a bond. Before the baby has been able to lactate from it’s mother. Not only does this traumatise the animals and cause them distress but it also has a negative impact on their mental state too. Then, when the mother is no longer able to give birth they will be sent to slaughter too. What kind of life is that? Being used a machine and then being forced into a death sentence?

Imagine if a Human Mother was injected time after time, forced to give birth unwillingly and then killed when they could no longer reach pregnancy?

How would you feel if your baby had just been taken away? Will be due to go to slaughter and will never be seen again? If this happened to a person, it’d be all over the media and people would be going insane. So why do people think it’s okay to treat animals in such a way?

‘Not your Mum, not your milk’

Imagine the controversy of feeding a new-born lamb with a Human Mother’s breast milk? Imagine how disturbed people would be? The feelings of anger and disgust?

Well, it’s exactly the same scenario when Humans are drinking animal’s milk. The milk you’re consuming alone or in your food products, was meant to be for a new born. The eggs you’re eating are periods, the flesh you’re eating was once a living, breathing animal who wanted nothing more than to live and to be free. The fur on your new, expensive coat was once an animal too who was born to live, not to be worn.

I chose Veganism and with this I chose to live a cruelty-free and compassionate lifestyle. After years of being Vegetarian, I educated myself in the harsh realities of the dairy industries and simply decided that enough was enough. I just wasn’t willing to contribute to the pain and suffering of beautiful, intelligent animals. I didn’t want to put money into the industries that cause horrific experiences for hundreds of thousands of animals.

I chose Veganism because I wish to work with animals in the future, I’ve made a personal pledge to save as many animal’s lives as possible, I’ve made a promise to care for and love all the animals in my care unconditionally. And for me, I couldn’t be hypocritical and spend my day saving animals for me to go home afterwards and eat some(one) that doesn’t belong to me.

And most importantly, I wish not to eat my friends, the reasons I fight each day,  I wish not to treat my body as a graveyard but as a nourished temple filled with joy and compassion. I wish to work exceptionally hard in order to create a wonderful world for animals and all living things.

Go Vegan, join the happy and compassionate lifestyle where we embrace animals and nature as opposed to destroying them.

Hugs,

Laur x

animals