Sanctuary Spotlight: Sweet Bear Rescue Farm

Hooray for farmed animal sanctuaries! Lisa McDonald is the founder of Sweet Bear Rescue Farm, home to nearly 50 animals of all shapes and sizes. Thanks to the sanctuary's hard work, these rescued animals are lucky enough to live safely and comfortably in a forever home.

"I always knew I wanted to rescue animals," says Lisa, who moved to North Carolina in 2012 with the intention of rescuing as many as possible. "I had no idea that would turn into a sanctuary with close to fifty animals!" Today, Sweet Bear Rescue Farm is home to 5 dogs, 8 cats, 27 chickens, 2 goats, 2 turkeys, and 2 pigs, with a constant revolving door of fosters in addition to permanent residents. 

Lisa named her sanctuary after her beloved pup Nala, whose nickname was Bear. "I knew when she left this world I would forever be rescuing animals in her honor," Lisa says. "As vegans, we believe in the inherent value of all life, and we want to save every animal we possibly can. This is our life’s mission, and Sweet Bear is a place where all animals will be safe and loved for their entire lives.” 

Sweet Bear's permanent residents include best friends Ollie the pot-bellied pig and Charlotte the chicken; Oskar the cat; dogs Harry, TT, Trixie and Layla; goats Maggie and Shadow; a gorgeous Tom Turkey named George; and 17 sweet chickens saved from a brutal religious sacrifice.

Let's meet some of the animals!

George the turkey

George is a turkey rescued from an event called the Yellville Turkey Trot. He was rescued by an activist in the final year of this devastating event where live turkeys were thrown out of planes, off of buildings, into crowds of people, etc. George has been a member of our family or nearly three years now, and we can't imagine life without him.

Harmony the chicken

Harmony is a chicken who saved himself from a factory farm here in North Carolina. He somehow escaped during Hurricane Florence. Harmony is a Cornish Cross (aka a broiler or meat bird). These birds are typically killed for meat at 42 days, so their bodies have been manipulated to eat and grow and eat and grow. When Harmony came to live with us he was 5 weeks old, weighed 9 pounds, and couldn't even stand up. Today he's a healthy, happy, well-adjusted boy who is nearly three years old!

TT the dog

TT has been with us the longest!  He's a 14 year old Cocker Spaniel/Poodle mix. He came to live with us after his previous family could no longer care for him. He's been such a joy, he's funny, playful, and he loves everyone (including all of the cats, chickens, and other animals).

How to get involved

There are lots of ways to help the animals at Sweet Bear. To donate, visit:

To visit or volunteer, email

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