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The Inevitable Letting Go

Nothing is permanent, and yet so often we find ourselves holding onto something. 


And so often that something is an animal here at the sanctuary.


Over the past few months there have been multiple animals that have died. Others who are sick. Others that are showing their age and inevitable deterioration. Impermanence can feel like it’s staring you in the face in every corral you enter right now.




And yet, we choose to do this work. We choose to provide the best possible care, love, safety, comfort, and respect that we can. The unsaid agreement between every animal that comes to live here is that they are safe and loved. They are honored and respected until the very end. And that’s what we do. 


Last fall one of our beloved goats, Bob, died. He was so special, and he was the closest bond I had at the sanctuary. It was a beautiful thing to be a member of his care team for his last few weeks of life. As his light dimmed and his condition worsened, it was a mixed experience of relief, reverence, and sadness with his departure. 




These feelings all exist at the same time, and what I never want our volunteers to forget is that even when a resident dies, it’s still something to honor. Many of these animals would have found their death in a windowless slaughterhouse, perhaps never having seen the sun or touched grass.


Their fates would have been steeped in fear and mistrust, whereas here, the respect for them permeates every decision. Every resident knows that here, they are forever safe. They have the stability of reliable food and water times, shelter, being known by a name, and even entertainment! They are able to live out their lives in the best way possible. 


Our commitment to them for a life well lived gets a period at the end of the sentence once they pass on. While we have our human sadness, we can also stop and recognize each other for the honorable life given to this animal.


Vincent Van Goat died most recently on April 1st. He never knew fear, or mistrust, or danger. He never went hungry (though his tenacity to get peanuts would make you think he was absolutely starving) or had hooves so long he had a hard time walking. He was never without his sister, Juniper. He never went without shelter when it was raining or snowing. He was never lonely. He only knew love, and even in his last few days of discomfort and medical care, he still only knew love. 




Harmony Farm Sanctuary gives that to all 145 residents here, whether it’s the smallest chicken, or the largest cow. That’s something that we all can pause and celebrate, even while our hearts feel heavy about our recent losses.


Thank you, Robine, for imagining this place and making it a reality. Thank you, volunteers, for reliably and lovingly caring for all of our animal friends. And thank you, the reader, for taking a moment to read this and join us in honoring this hard work and this big love. 


Written by Tracey

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Thank you Tracey and volunteers and also to the caring vets who help the animals live a better life and sometimes have to easy their passing.

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Harmony Farm Sanctuary, PO Box 2347 Sisters, OR 97759

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