Jacobs Ridge – Day Four (21.07.2019) 🇪🇸

Jacobs Ridge

I woke up at the usual time of 6:20am, eager to start yet another fulfilling day. I got dressed and came out of my tent, welcomed to a stunning pink sunrise in the near distance.

I then headed to the house to apply suncream and to brush my teeth.

Amy and I headed on the morning dog walk, today it was just the two of us because Flora was helping with the morning feeds. It was lovely! I walked Marley, whilst Amy walked Goaty and Eyebrows. We chatted about all kinds of things – Uni, movies and just general life.

We returned from the dog walk an hour later (8am) and I headed down to the field to change the animals’ waters. This was completed quickly by Flora and I.

I then cleaned out the pig’s enclosures, before proceeding to give Ben (largest pig at the sanctuary) a mud bath. Mud baths are essential to reduce the risk of sunburn, and they’re also a very good moisturiser, and so I gladly learned!

Unfortunately, Ben is unable to bathe himself as he cannot turn over unaided, due to his large size. The meat industry genetically modify animals and aim to speed up their growth rate to move animals straight into a transport truck without considering the health and welfare implications of the individuals, so they can reach a certain weight and body condition before being sent away to slaughter.

Ben arrived at the sanctuary after luckily being saved from slaughter. As Jacobs Ridge is entirely Vegan, they aim to provide Ben with the longest, healthiest and happiest life possible. I’d never seen a pig so large, but this is because they often only live a few weeks of their lives before they’re tragically cut short.

Ben arrived at the sanctuary with his brother, Bill. But sadly, he passed away at the beginning of 2018 after living an incredible, mud-filled time at the sanctuary.

I then proceed to change the waters for the second time of the day. This was after they were disinfected and rinsed accordingly.

It was 40°c. I cuddled the goats for a while and then headed for a walk around the local area. It was secluded, peaceful and not a soul was in sight! I loved being able to relax with such mesmerising scenery around me.

Amy and I then headed on another dog walk in the evening. We took Goaty, Marly, Daisy, Django And Eyebrows along with us before heading back to the sanctuary for evening feed and watering.

Jacobs Ridge – Day Three (20.07.2019) 🇪🇸

Jacobs Ridge

I woke up at precisely 6:30am after an excellent nights’ sleep, despite try significantly loud, yet joyful, Spanish music playing within close proximity and the horses’ vocalisations adding to that.

I got dressed quickly and headed to the house to freshen up before venturing on a morning dog walk.

We walked the dogs at 7am, around the local picturesque area and arrived back at the ridge at approximately 8am. I loved walking the dogs, it amazed me to witness ranges in their behaviours and their distinct walking patterns. Marley walked slowly, but could be incredibly strong if she felt threatened or if she became distracted by a sight or noise. Goaty on the other hand had a tendency to get tangled in the lead due to his noted inability to walk in a straight line.

After returning from the dog walk, I quickly changed out of my muddy, wet socks and shoes before heading down to the lower field to participate in the morning feeding and watering. The animals wandered around and vocalised eagerly as they awaited corn being scattered around their large, open enclosures.

Jade, Flora and I then cleaned the donkey’s enclosure. In the process, the donkeys wandered up to us curiously and sneakily tipped over the wheelbarrows which were situated at the other side of the fence. We completed this relatively quickly with the help of our trusty tools and many trips to the waste pile, which was scheduled to be taken away at some point.

Flora and I were kindly driven to a nearby, isolated lake by Amy. The drive took approximately 20 minutes, and we were soon mesmerised by our stunning, picturesque surroundings. I was in awe of the stunning crystal blue waters and the gorgeous surrounding cliff and greenery landscape. There wasn’t another person in sight, which made the experience increasingly more special.

The views were spectacular and the sun was blazing down on us heavily.

After spending time at the lake together, we drove to Murcia Castle, which was within close proximity of our current location at the lake. This was after quickly stopping at the pet shop in the town to collect extra dog food.

Unfortunately, the castle was closed off a short while ago due to a tragic accident involving a young girl. The castle could stay open to the public if somebody opted to live there to care for it, but instead, it was closed and is now surrounded by a tall, secure fence.

The views, however, were truly stunning! We could see a vast amount of different buildings ranging from older and newer, which could be distinguished by the roofing style. From the castle, we could also see a glimpse of Jacobs Ridge in the far distance.

We returned back to the ridge and it was time for siesta. Unsurprisingly, mine was spent with the resident goats.

I then had, always greatly appreciated, cuddles with Barney before heading for a solo walk to catch another glimpse of the beautiful surroundings close by.

The views were stunning. This was before almost landing my way in a prohibited area. Luckily, I gained more from my 2 years of Spanish at GCSE than I anticipated, and quickly moved away from the area to avoid unwanted trouble…

We then changed the animals’ waters and did the evening feeds for the final time of the day, before heading for an evening dog walk.

Following this, we sat outside on the sun loungers with pillows and blankets to avoid the slight winds and settled down with a film. We were all surrounded with fairy lights, the sound of nature and the fantastic company of each other. This was done by a projector connected to Netflix, where we watched a movie about a boy who’s life was filmed from the day he was born, and one day he found out and escaped the world that had been created for him. (The Truman Show).

Jacobs Ridge – Arrival (18.07.2019) 🇪🇸

Jacobs Ridge

The day had finally approached. It was time for me to volunteer in Spain for a week, and emotions were running high. Especially for my Mum, who was very tearful given the challenge I was about to embrace. 

My first solo flight was a success. I wore my Autism lanyard with pride as I sailed through the anxiety-provoking security section of the airport and eagerly made my way to the gate a short while after.

I landed in Murcia at 7pm, following a 2.5 hour flight, the sun was still blazing at this point, and it already seemed much warmer than The UK! Luckily, I got off the plane quickly as I was seated right at the back, enabling me to avoid the typical busy rush. Yay!

Shortly after approaching RMU airport, which opened earlier in the year, I collected my suitcase, briefly checking I had collected the right one, and headed into the waiting area as I stood waiting to be collected by a member of staff from the animal sanctuary.

Following a short wait, I was soon greeted, and hugged, by Rachael – Owner of Jacobs Ridge with her partner Julian. We fitted my luggage carefully into the boot and drove our way to the sanctuary. This lasted approximately 30/40 minutes. Murcia castle was within looking distance and the views were astounding!

I stepped out of the car and shook hands with members of staff and other volunteers before heading into the house where I filled in liability forms with Amie and was then given a tour of the sanctuary, by Julian’s Daughter Megan. She introduced me to the animals and told me more about the ways of the sanctuary.

The team included – Julian, Rachael, Jade, Amie and Georgia. All of who seemed incredibly lovely, regardless of only knowing them for the shortest time.

Following on from this, we took Alfie (new lamb!) for a stroll whilst I was simulatenmlusly shown my tent. When I say tent, it felt more like home. It was very cosy! I was provided with a comfortable bed, pillows and a double duvet. There were also lights and rugs fitted as extra amenities.

I then wandered around the sanctuary alone to find my bearings and to further familiarise myself with my surroundings, before heading into the house to play with the adorable kittens. The sanctuary currently has 5 kittens, who’re all very mischievous and playful.

I then relaxed after a busy day and watched the stunning pink sunset extending beyond the ridge, extending beyond the mesmerising cliffs in the background before heading to bed. This was in preparation of a 7am start.