This past Saturday I had the pleasure of visiting Aimee’s Farm Animal Sanctuary in Gilbert, AZ. If you have the time to go, I highly recommend it. We had an amazing experience from start to finish. It’s hard to beat a morning spent bottle feeding adorable goats, greeting sheep by name, hugging horses, learning how to scratch turkeys, and finding the perfect belly rub spot on a pot-bellied pig.
I’d heard of the sanctuary previously but hadn’t taken the leap to make the drive out to the East Valley and check it out. When I saw a recent Facebook post from the sanctuary mentioning another visitor’s pumpkin donation, I looked at the 3 very large pumpkins I’d optimistically purchased but neglected to touch, decided the animals would make better use of them and scheduled my own visit.
Aimee’s Farm Animal Sanctuary is the brainchild of local resident and vegan Aimee Takaha. As a trauma survivor herself, she now dedicates her life to connecting other humans, some with traumatic experiences of their own, with animals in need. The exercise is therapeutic for both parties. Often, animals that have been abused can benefit, both physically and emotionally, from pleasant interactions with humans. And, for people, particularly children, and the elderly, time spent with rescued four-legged and feathered friends can be cathartic and healing.
Aimee runs the facility herself with the help of a handful of volunteers, trainers and a few dedicated patrons. The sanctuary is home to everything from tiny bunnies and chickens to 400+ pound piggies, an endearing cast of goats and several larger, 4-legged standouts like cows, alpacas, horses, and donkeys. Their personalities and backstories vary and Aimee seems to know them all by heart. Some are forfeits by owners that no longer want to or are no longer able to care for their charges. Others were rescued from abuse, neglect or impending slaughter. All are welcomed with open arms, specialized medical attention, plenty of love and healthy veggie snacks. Some of the animals go on to find adoptive homes, opening a space for a new rescue to come under Aimee’s care. Others stay indefinitely and help entertain and educate visitors both young and old from all over the world.
Due to the small staff and nearly overwhelming amount of work needed to keep the facility running, visits are by appointment only. Tours are guided and typically last 1-1.5hrs with plenty of opportunities to interact with the animals. While there is no charge for visits, donations are both needed and encouraged as they’re the sanctuaries primary source of funding. And, just as we did, you are free to bring produce and hay donations, just be sure to check with Aimee or a volunteer before feeding the animals.
Aimee’s Farm Animal Sanctuary is a haven for the feathered, 4-legged and 2-legged alike. Her love and enthusiasm for all the animals in her care is obvious and infectious. It really is an amazing experience unlike any other.
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