The story BEHIND alyssa's animal sanctuary

Ever since I was a little girl I’ve always had an insane love for animals.

In 2017, we got the chance to buy our own little dream farm and I knew my dreams of having a few animals could soon come true. In September of 2018, Hurricane Irma hit, and with this devastating event the animals just started showing up..

First came the horses. They came to our property searching for food. They were dragging ropes that were still clipped to their halters, that they had been tied up with. Their owners evacuated for the hurricane and then left them behind- tied to a building. They were in horrific condition (more than just hurricane-related) with infections, hoof issues, skin issues, weight issues and trust issues. One of them wouldn’t even let you get anywhere near them, but yet they wouldn’t leave our property. They had clearly been mistreated, abused, and neglected for a long time. The vet said one of the horses was about 500 pounds underweight.

After several weeks of caring for them and spending my own money on vet bills and feed it was clear no one was coming back for them. Watching them gain weight and learn to trust again became the only thing I cared about.

Now, they come running when we whistle for them, and they will even let me lay in the grass with them. All they want is to be touched, and loved. They thrive on attention from people and light up when you spend time with them. Especially children.

The other animals all found their way into our life right after. Found in similar situations, they were left behind, unloved and uncared for, so we took them in too.

We have been building and creating this sanctuary by ourselves as much as we could to help the animals that come across our path. When I see an animal in need I can’t say no, and because of that this sanctuary grew very quickly.

Of course feeding and caring for so many animals comes at a huge cost. But for me that cost didn’t matter, I knew I would find a way to take care of them. I had to. No one else was.

But then, Last year at the age of 26, I had a severe heart attack out of nowhere. I had a 99% block in the main artery in my heart (they call this the widow maker, because not many survive it) and I almost died. Being so young and going through something like that was the biggest wake-up call anyone could ever have. It made me want to do more with my life. A LOT more. Something bigger than myself.

The animals that I saved really were the ones that saved me. I found my passion and I knew I needed to do more with it. I didn’t want to waste another day of my life.

So I started to think of different and fun ways to find resources -like doing goat yoga classes, and tea parties with unicorns, and offering a farmer for a day experience, to be able to feed all of the animals, so I could continue taking care of them and be able to rescue more animals that desperately need help, while also providing great fun and education for the youth and community.

When my time comes and I look back on my life, it will not matter to me the house I lived in, what my bank account looked like, or what car I drove.

But what will matter to me is that maybe I’ll be able to leave this world a slightly better place because I was able to make a difference in the lives of the animals on this earth that desperately needed someone.

And that maybe the future of this place we all call home might be a little bit better because I sparked that same love for the animals of our earth in others, and especially in children - the future.

This is what matters to me....

Now there are chickens, ducks, goats, dogs and the horses. 

We invite you to come see the animals. Take a few pictures and create some memories!

-Alyssa