November 17, 2015

Heartland Farm Sanctuary

I'm still floating on a cloud of warm-fuzzies after our family field trip to the amazing Heartland Farm Sanctuary. So grateful for the opportunity to meet the animals and people in this beautifully tranquil setting. After a couple hours watching, learning, and snuggling the critters, I'm tempted to start a full-time position as "volunteer goat-petter". Please tell me that's a real thing?! Surprisingly enough, sitting on a grassy hill with a goat is incredibly therapeutic. Animals have such a gentle, yet undeniably powerful presence that immediately calms your mind and soothes your soul. As much as the workers and volunteers are doing to help these beautiful creatures, the animals have their own way of giving back just as much in return. Full circle happiness!

Entering the barn, we immediately saw Baine scooting around in his wheelchair. (That face! That hair!) He was born with his back legs paralyzed, and a University of Wisconsin Engineering team designed and built this contraption just for him. Update: sadly, Baine passed away in June 2017 due to complications - this sweet little soul will be missed!

Winnie's story captured my heart and I was so excited to meet her in person. We watched her playfully root around the mud before coming over to greet us. (You can read her story here.)

Sweet Daisy and her buddy Beau were happily grazing when we walked down to visit them. I could snuggle all day next to their soft, fluffy coat of fur! My daughter is still giggling about Beau giving her a playful lick on the face :)

Frosty was calmly gazing over the beautiful grassland. This handsome fella got his name from severely frostbitten ears that caused the tips to fall off.

My daughter felt an instant connection to Amy, the elderly sheep with arthritis who has free range to roam the barn. Amy's a big fan of bananas, and my daughter loved feeding her!

Spending some quality time with Opal... while seriously contemplating life as an official goat-petter ;)

Lola emerged from her cozy pile of blankets to snack on some yummy apples.

Majestic Nilly soaked in the beautiful November sunshine!

Those eyes! Maxine had me in the palm of her hand (er, hoof?) after showing off some of the softest, sweetest looking eyes I've ever seen.

Don't let the soft, fluffy exterior fool you - Frances is a firecracker!

Fonsi and his brother Chachi were happily grazing near the barn during their lunch hour when we strolled over to say hi.

Bertram came over to check us out and give a quick hello. Hi Bert!

My daughter and I couldn't help but keep snuggling Michael. Such a sweetie!!

Gracie the goose and Amy the sheep are adorable together! Apparently they're best buds and like to stick close to each other :)

About the Sanctuary
I first learned about Heartland when they were mentioned in VegNews Magazine.  I immediately jumped on their website, and within in hour I was excitedly emailing them; hopeful with the opportunity to set up a tour. The sanctuary is located a little southwest of Madison and it's the only dedicated farm animal sanctuary in Wisconsin. They're a "non-profit organization who's mission is to provide care for farm animals in need, nurture people through the human-animal bond, and foster respect and kindness toward animals and each other." If you're ever in the Madison area, I highly recommend making it part of your visit!

Human-Animal Connection
The connection between people and animals is a powerful, beautiful thing. Heartland puts heavy emphasis on creating this bond through programs designed to provide meaningful therapeutic activities for vulnerable youth and others. (Visit their site to learn more about the incredible connections they're making.) It certainly left a lasting impression on us - my daughter continues to talk about the farm and animals everyday, and I haven't been able to stop thinking about their sweet faces and stories since we left!

Offering Help
If you're willing and financially able, please consider donating to this incredible farm. Even just $5 or $10 a month is a huge help! (See their site for donation info.)

Thanks to the Farm
A big shout out and special thanks to Sarah for taking time out of her day to be our amazingly awesome tour guide :) We're still overjoyed with the opportunity to experience this special place.


  1. I am a Minnesotan and I also heard about Heartland in the latest VegNews magazine! Thanks for the great write-up, I'm excited to visit!

    1. Hi Anna! Aww yay, that's so awesome to hear :) I highly recommend it - let me know if you get a chance to visit!! Have a great weekend!

  2. Omg this is amazing! <3 So much love!