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Sanctuary One: A refuge for people, animals and nature

It’s a long jewel of a drive to Sanctuary One using back roads from Eagle Point. It took about an hour considering one rambler (not the make, but the model) who enjoyed a slower-than-molasses-in snow pace up 238 out of Jacksonville. But, as I said, the scenery. ...

Upon arrival, I waited in the car for our guide with a few other curious folks and watched some of its residents. Jiggy, Pickles and Gumball are hard to miss. They each weigh at least 650 pounds. They’re Yorkshire hogs, and these big boys don’t have to worry about becoming ham steaks. This is a vegetarian facility, and animals are rescued from poor living conditions or abandonment and given a new lease on life that doesn’t include becoming dinner.

Program Manager Jamie Gatewood was our friendly, capable tour guide. She deftly guided humans and goats in and out of the proper pens in a timely fashion while clearly explaining the program and introducing us to the animals. She’s a logistical marvel.

“Jamie’s a natural. She’s just a total blessing to the farm,” says Megan Flowers, executive director at Sanctuary One.

Then I met a Naked Neck rooster. I thought he was just unpopular with the others, but they have one, and it crows despite his turkey neck. It’s part of a recognized Poultry Association breed also called the Transylvanian Naked Neck, since that’s the breed’s home territory, which explains a lot about the neck thing.

Sanctuary One at Double Oak Farm is the brainchild of Lloyd Matthew Haines, who is an attorney, philanthropist, and businessperson. Last year marked Sanctuary One’s 10th anniversary. Its designation is that of a care farm, our nation’s first, and is a legally recognized nonprofit covering 55 acres in the Applegate. Staff and volunteers dedicate their time caring for people and the environment as well as needful animals. Megan explained Sanctuary One’s multi-faceted purpose.

“We partner with WorkSource so that we can focus our attention on trying to fill one of our three internship spots with a local kiddo who might be experiencing housing insecurity,” she said. “They can live on the farm with housing and food staples we provide.” Interns learn valuable job skills relating to animal care, environmental and agricultural specialties. One area of the farm is a flourishing 35,000 square foot permaculture garden, growing vegetables and herbs for animals and people.

Sanctuary One provides therapy care for post trauma victims including local veterans.

Megan continued, “It’s an idea of helping the local community. We serve other nonprofits. Our target is animal nonprofits. How can we help the shelters? With people, how can we help the VA, or the Maslow Project? This is a place where kids can be kids.”

Sanctuary One provides a release valve for other shelters. It offers optimum care for abandoned and abused animals and kitties with FIV, which may live normal lives but are harder to place. Though it relies heavily on community support, Sanctuary One isn’t the first call to make with an animal issue. For a list of appropriate contacts, visit its website.

Two years ago Sanctuary One was in the path of a summer wildfire. Nearby residents helped relocate and foster animals, which birthed new relationships as donors, volunteers and adopters. The nonprofit is fundraising to purchase a stock trailer, needing $4,000 to match a generous grant, allowing it to load all animals and leave if there is threat of a wildfire again.

Ninety minute tours begin 10:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday for a $10 donation. Choose a date and pay online. During June every $10 tour ticket will become $20 thanks to a matching donor. Most of the tour is sunny, so cover up or wear sunscreen and a hat. I’ll carry a water bottle next time, though there is a mid-point water break along the tour.

It costs $1,000 a day to run Sanctuary One. Come on out and have a look for yourself. It has a magic forest.