Sanctuary Spotlight: SASHA Farm
With over 250 animals, SASHA Farm Sanctuary and Safe Haven for Animals is the Midwest's largest farm animal sanctuary.
SASHA Farm was founded as an animal rescue in the 80s by Dorothy Davies and Monte Jackson and has been growing ever since. Today, SASHA has a very small and dedicated staff and several volunteers who maintain the farm and care for the animals. Food, veterinary care, and safe shelter are provided for these animal residents, as well as affection, social interaction, and a sense of security.
SASHA has rescued cows, farm pigs, potbellied pigs, horses, donkeys, mules, chickens, turkeys, even a couple of emus, goats, sheep, a few dogs and cats, and more! Many of the animals were dumped or otherwise discarded from both large and small farms in Michigan and other states. Some of the animals have been surrendered by individuals raising farm animals as pets in inappropriate environments or who can no longer care for their animals.
"We work closely with Animal Control agencies and other rescue organizations to provide homes for victims of cruelty or hoarding cases," says Marilyn Royle of SASHA Farm. "Some of our rescued animals, like the cows Fargo and Jefferson, and the farm pig Johnny Cash, escaped transport trucks, and we stepped in after the animals were released to us to provide forever homes. Others, like farm pig June Carter Cash were auction prizes, or like Sheldon the sheep, who was raised by 4H kids to be sold by the pound as meat." Marilyn sees animals who have suffered from extreme neglect completely blossom in their new loving home.
"All of SASHA's staff and practically all volunteers are vegans. Each animal has a name and is an individual who deserves the same respect and love as any human or any companion animal."
SASHA strives to give farmed animals the focus and recognition that they deserve as otherwise "voiceless" members of our society. At the sanctuary, animals are given the chance to live out their entire lives in safety and comfort.
Check out some heartwarming stories from some of SASHA's residents!
Jefferson the Cow
Jefferson escaped a slaughterhouse in Eastern Market in Detroit. He then made a subsequent flight down busy Jefferson Avenue which captured the attention of the media and the public, and though he was captured, he brought much needed attention to the plight of his bovine brethren. Through tense negotiations and much public outcry, instead of being slaughtered, the slaughterhouse allowed Jefferson to come live at SASHA Farm.
Sugar the Pig
Sugar is a survivor of unspeakable cruelty. She and two other two pigs and five cows hung on to life as they watched 70 other abandoned farm animals die of starvation and neglect at a dairy farm in Livingston County, Michigan. She and the other 2 surviving pigs and the 5 surviving cows came to SASHA Farm in November 2017. At first all three pigs were understandably afraid of the volunteers and staff who fed them and attempted to make them feel more comfortable. The two males warmed up first, but Sugar, the only female, took a little more time. Initially, she would run away when the volunteers tried to approach her to scratch behind her ears. But now she immediately runs joyfully to the volunteers and staff when they bring her food and water, and she wants to play! And, she goes crazy when the produce volunteers come by with treats! Sugar has come a long way from the piglet who watched her barn mates die around her. Now she is allowed to be herself - intelligent and playful - like all pigs can be if allowed to be themselves. The veterinarians have deemed Sugar and her pals to be in great health. They get along splendidly with the rest of the SASHA Farm pig family. But, as you might expect, all three are bonded and stay together in the yard and when they sleep at night. Every day is a great day at SASHA Farm for Sugar and her pig pals!
Toto the Terrier
Toto is a small dog, most likely a terrier mix, but her background is unknown. She got her name because, like Toto in the movie The Wizard of Oz, she survived a terrible storm and it left her homeless. And then, her own Dorothy rescued her, just like the Toto in the movie. Our present-day Toto survived Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which devastated thousands of people and animals in many states, and left countless dogs and cats homeless. SASHA Farm director Dorothy Davies made the trip to Louisiana to bring back as many homeless animals as she could. She visited an animal shelter which housed several young puppies, most likely born just before or during the hurricane. They were all waiting for that special someone to take them home and Dorothy became their rescue angel. One of those puppies was huddled in the corner all by herself. Up close, she didn’t appear to be a puppy, just a slightly older, small dog. She came back to Michigan with Dorothy, along with over fifty puppies and adult dogs and cats. Many were adopted to loving families in the area. But Toto had truly found her home with Dorothy and Monte. Now, 13 years later, she never leaves Monte or Dorothy’s side.
Big thanks to Marilyn for sharing SASHA's amazing story! Read more about the incredible work of SASHA Farm and learn how you can help farmed animals here.
At v-dog, we're proud to partner with rescue organizations and sanctuaries like SASHA Farm to provide cruelty-free food for dogs. Since 2005, v-dog has helped thousands of dogs reach optimal health while saving countless farmed animals from slaughter.