Big Sky Ranch Barn of Hope
$11,595 of $115,000 goal
In 2002, Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary was just another hobby farm located near Kemptville, Ontario. The Sanctuary's Founder, Andy Parent, spotted an advertisement in the local Penny Saver newspaper, and thought the property would make a nice weekend retreat for his family. He purchased the 26-acre farm and then two horses for his sons, Andrew and Kurtis.
Initially Andy lived the life of a commuter, and he enjoyed travelling to Kemptville from his home in Ottawa to renovate the farm property. His plan of keeping the farm as a hobby was short-lived, however. After a few short weeks, Andy received a call that changed the course of his life forever.
It started with Bear. Andy was asked if he could offer the neglected dog a home at the farm. Andy agreed, and Bear became the first of many animals that Andy would provide a home and care for over the next several years. Bear was followed quickly by My Little Pony, who arrived at the farm unannounced in the company of a young girl and her mother. The pony was blind in one eye, and the family could no longer care for her. Andy agreed to give the pony a home.
Shortly after My Little Pony, Arnold arrived. A full size commercial pig mistakenly labelled as a potbelly pig, Arnold had outgrown his space and needed a new home. He found it with Andy.
And so it went; a stream of animals needing a home, love and attention began arriving at Andy's door. It wasn't long before he realized his farm was no longer just a hobby, and that he could provide refuge for many more animals if he devoted himself to the farm full-time. With this goal in mind, Andy sold his home in Ottawa and relocated to the farm permanently.
For the first few years, Andy funded the farm and looked after the animals himself, with the help of his sons. But as more unwanted animals arrived, Andy turned to the help of volunteers and donations from the public to keep the facility running. In 2006, the farm became a registered charity known as Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary.
Big Sky Ranch provides refuge for unwanted, abandoned and abused animals. We are the only non-kill sanctuary of our kind in Eastern and Southern Ontario, because we don't limit the kind of animals we provide refuge for. The organization is operated by volunteers, and is 100% donation based. We receive no government funding. Our goal is to find permanent new homes for the animals that come into our care. We also provide a permanent home to animals unsuited for adoption, or for whom appropriate new homes have not been found. To date, Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary has placed over 1800 animals in new homes.
In addition to providing sanctuary for our animal friends, Big Sky Ranch is active in our community. We support our local Community Living Association, the Elizabeth Fry Society, and the Children's Aid Society. We offer an opportunity for youth to meet the requirements of their school curriculum by completing their volunteer hours with us, and we provide a place where youth and adults can complete court ordered community service hours.
Our success as a sanctuary has led to recognition from a variety of sources. We have been featured on television shows such as W5 and Regional Contact. We have appeared in newspaper articles, been the subject of college documentaries, and have been interviewed for radio programs numerous times over the years. Generous support from our public and volunteers has made Big Sky Ranch an example for sanctuaries everywhere.
What We Need:
Big Sky Ranch helps as many animals as we can, but we would like to do so much more. Every day we receive calls about animals needing help, but we are currently limited by our shelter space. Canadian winters are harsh, and this reality is factored into every decision the Ranch makes. Without additional warm and secure shelter, there is no possibility of providing care for additonal animals in need. We need to build an addition to our existing barn.
The addition, nicknamed "The Barn of Hope", is crucial if we plan to continue accepting animals into our care. Every day we are faced with the knowledge that we may soon have to begin turning animals away, due to lack of space. A larger barn would enable us to double shelter space for animals in the winter by 100%, thereby allowing us to respond effectively to the increasing numbers of calls we receive about animals in distress.
Big Sky Ranch needs your support to achieve our goal, and we are asking you to open your heart (and yes, your wallet too) to help us. Every amount counts, whether it is $5 or $5000. Please give what you can, and help us spread the word about our campaign. Share us with your friends and colleagues. Post us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and any other social media you follow. Together we can make a difference to the animals who need our help so much.
Our campaign is now closed. Feel free to visit us on Facebook, Twitter, or at our website: bigskyranch.ca for the latest sanctuary news!
Christmas and the New Year is traditionally a season for counting blessings and reflecting on the past year. At the sanctuary, we have a great deal to be thankful for. The generosity of our supporters allowed us to move forward with the Barn of Hope this year, and to complete the replacement of several shelters that were unlikely to survive another winter. As a result, we we able to take in more mid to large size animals who required safe haven before winter. We will be featuring stories about some of our newest residents in the upcoming months.
The animals and volunteers of the sanctuary remain ever grateful for the generosity of all our supporters. The news, classified ads and social media all reinforce how many animals are in need. Day by day, with your help, Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary makes a difference; one life at a time. From the bottom of our hearts, we thank you for your continued support.
From our family (both the 2 and the 4-legged members), we wish you and yours a safe and merry Christmas, and a very Happy New Year.
The volunteers feel truly blessed to be entrusted with the care of the animals that call the sanctuary their home. Your ongoing support makes it possible for us to continue our mission, and for this the animals and volunteers are truly thankful.
So on this special weekend, while we are spending time with loved ones and counting our blessings, let's not forget to give thanks for the joy that our four-footed friends bring to our lives. Happy Thanksgiving.
Thank you to all those who have contributed to the Barn of Hope campaign since it began. We are moving steadily toward our goal, and appreciate the support that we have received so far. We are truly grateful for the generosity of our supporters, and ask that you keep sharing the campaign link to help us reach our goal.
Today we bring you Dakota's story.
Dakota is an 8 year old Plains Bison who is a permanent resident of Big Sky Ranch. Dakota is majestic in every sense of the word. He is a favourite of visitors, particularly school children, who are unlikely to have any other opportunity to see a live bison.
Dakota came to the sanctuary when he was approximately 1 year old, through a "save a life" effort undertaken by the parents of one of our volunteers.
Dakota was living on a farm, where he could regularly be seen from the road. Our volunteer's parents felt that Dakota was being kept in less than ideal conditions, and they approached the farm owner about the situation. They learned that Dakota was being raised for meat. Now that they had taken such an interest in Dakota's well-being, they couldn't bear the idea that he was ultimately headed for the slaughter house. As a result, the parents of our volunteer decided to purchase Dakota and surrender him to Big Sky Ranch. A deal was struck with the farmer, and in no time at all Dakota was enjoying his new surroundings at the sanctuary.
In time it became obvious that, although he was healthy and safe, Dakota needed a companion in order to truly be happy. The decision was made to introduce Poppy to Dakota. (Poppy is a Jersey cow and her own story will be featured in a future update!) Poppy's presence in Dakota's paddock has brought him immeasurable joy, and her companionship has filled a void that was present in his life. They pass their time together eating, playing in their paddock, basking in the summer sun and generally enjoying their friendship.
Dakota has grown significantly since he came to Big Sky Ranch. Now weighing in at over 2000 lbs, he is truly a magnificent animal who inspires awe and respect from visitors and volunteers alike. We count ourselves blessed that he shares our lives, and will be forever grateful that we are able to provide a place where he can safely live out his.
Please continue to share our gofundme page; every dollar helps! Also, don't forget to keep updated about all of the things happening at the sanctuary by checking our Facebook page regularly. You can also visit our website: www.bigskyranch.ca
My friend Rachel (a volunteer and supporter) told me about Big Sky Ranch the other day, noting that I should visit. Today, my three kids and I did just that. I took advantage of the opportunity to reinforce the importance of being an informed and responsible pet owner as well as the essence of charity. My 6 year old son suggested that next year instead of receiving gifts on his birthday, he should "collect money" for the animals at the ranch. Very proud Mom moment! Thank you Rachel for introducing us to this gem!
Sandra Stevenson. Visit their website for visiting hours. Open to the public every day but Mondays. We often drop in to visit with the animals http://www.bigskyranch.ca/#!contact-us/con8
I am very impressed with what you are doing for our beautiful animals. Is it possible to come see this in person?