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http://www.casperstartribune.net/articles/2008/09/14/ne.
Sunday SEPTEMBER 14, 2008 :: Last modified: Saturday, September 13, 2008 10:38 PM MDT
Wipe your paws
Cocoa is shy, but her chocolate eyes can make you melt. If you squat down and look into them, she'll cock her head and nod her nose. She'll take a hesitant step toward you, then another.
If you stay long enough, this lab mix will shake your hand again and again. She loves to shake hands; it's what she knows how to do. As a former research animal for allergy tests and blood draws, raising her paw to be pricked by a needle is what Connie has done most her life.
But unlike the majority of research animals who are euthanized when the laboratory is finished with them, Cocoa got a chance to live a normal life, right in the dog days of summer. She came to Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary near Hartville in late June. She has already become more confident and social and may soon be ready to be adopted, said Karen Straight, outreach director for the ranch.
Room to stretch
For the animals that come to Kindness Ranch, home is 750 acres of Wyoming hills, trees and sunshine. It's a far cry from the stacked cages of the puppy mill or the small, crowded cat kennels in which many of the animals once lived.
Kindness Ranch is a nonprofit organization with one goal: rescue and rehabilitate retired research animals in a home-like setting.
More than half the ranch's animals are dogs and cats. But other animals -- such as horses, pigs and sheep -- roam in spacious barns and pastures. And the ranch hopes to house rats, mice, rabbits and other rodents in the near future.
Staff, volunteers and interns prepare some of the animals for adoption. Others will live out their life at the ranch. All animals are treated with dignity and kindness.
"To see animals who have been tortured all their lives be able to live on this ranch and be loved, to have someone fall in love with one of the animals and want to care for it, is one of the most wonderful feelings in the world," said David Groobman, founder of Kindness Ranch.
Kindness Ranch is perhaps the only animal sanctuary of its kind in the nation. While many sanctuaries rescue abandoned and abused animals, few, if any, focus solely on animals used in medical and university research, Groobman said.
It takes substantial resources to house, feed and care for the hundreds of animals Kindness Ranch is set up to handle. So far, that's not an issue.
The ranch has no debt, and the land and buildings are paid for. The ranch receives donated food -- pineapples, watermelons, avocados, apples and other fruits and veggies -- from Safeway in Wheatland. That helps feed the five French-named pot-bellied pigs. It also receives donated blankets, hay, animal food and office and veterinary supplies, as well as monetary donations.
Running a sanctuary like Kindness Ranch also takes good relationships with labs and universities. That's why staff, volunteers and interns do not criticize the research labs. Though they are fighting for animal rights -- the ranch is vegetarian -- they seek to keep the bridges open so more labs will retire their animals, rather than euthanize them, when the tests or semesters are over.
http://www.casperstartribune.net/articles/2008/09/14/ne.
"Our hope is that when laboratories look at what we're doing and see the animals doing well, it will encourage them to look at their own adoption practices," Straight said.
"In the end, you're just doing right by the animals." For years, horses Stormy and Shima were Premarin mares. They were constantly kept pregnant so their urine could be used in the manufacture of the drug used to ease menopause symptoms.
Their foals, Second Chance and Milagro ("Miracle") are the first foals they've been allowed to keep and mother.
Other animals have found new lives, too.
Eighteen cats slink around the cat yurt. Mamma Kitty -- a big, orange cat who loves to have her belly rubbed -- was one of 10 cats used in food tests. They came from a good lab, Straight said, one that tattooed names and numbers in their ears. Most research animals are only a number. The other cats in the yurt were used in laceration studies which involved being cut again and again to test the effectiveness of various medicines.
Connie is a frisky brown and white beagle. Ziggy is a big, gregarious lab. Enrique is a shy lab/rottweiler mix. All are learning how to run, play, walk up stairs and use doors since they and many other dogs came from puppy mills and spent their lives in cages while being used in allergy, laceration and food tests.
But, they're learning and healing and it's great to see their progress, Straight said.
Recently Enrique stepped into a yurt with seven people inside. He hesitated, looked around and eventually left. But for him, that was huge progress, Straight said. A pound and lab dog, he was afraid of men and kept to himself. But ranch manager Matt Farwell has been hand-feeding him, and, only weeks in, he's getting better.
Any progress is good progress, Straight said.
Volunteer Lilla Whitehead, of Colorado Springs, agreed: "It's exciting for these animals to have this, and it's great for the nation." Whitehead spent four days in the cat yurt in August. Rubbing Mamma Kitty's belly and watching the pigs feast had her pretty convinced she wanted to volunteer more, but watching the sunset with Harley sold her on the ranch's potential.
Harley is a chow mix. He's 14 years old. He's never been housebroken and grinds his teeth when he gets nervous -- which is in most situations. But one night in August, he got to do something most dogs do the second their eyes are open: ride in the back of a truck. Whitehead and Straight took him to the top of a nearby hill, sat in the breeze and watched the sky glow pink.
"To think he's never experienced something like that -- it's really special," Whitehead said.
"It's nice to be able to give these animals a 'Happily Ever After.'" Contact Hannah Wiest at 307-266-0535 or hannah.wiest@trib.com.
***BREAKOUT***
Help. This place has gone to the dogs.
Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary, located near Hartville, Wyo., exists to rescue and rehabilitate animals used in research, giving laboratories an alternative to killing animals when the tests or semesters are complete.
The Humane Society of the United States estimates more than 25 million vertebrate animals are used annually in research, testing and education. A majority of those animals are euthanized during or after the experiment. Some die as a result of the research for which they were used. For example, the "Lethal Dose 50" test is used to determine the dose of a substance that kills 50 percent of the animals tested.
Kindness Ranch has room for up to 600 animals, but it needs more human hands to tailor care to these animals' unique medical, emotional and social needs.
Humans can get involved with Kindness Ranch in several ways: * Volunteer: Help with mailings. Shovel snow. Mend fences. Walk dogs. Feed pigs. Live in the cat
yurt and rub Mamma Kitty's belly. Kindness Ranch welcomes volunteers to come and work for a day
or a week. Interested people who pass a screening process are even welcome to live in the dog or cat
yurts with the animals.
http://www.casperstartribune.net/articles/2008/09/14/ne.
* Intern: Kindness Ranch is unique in its educational approach to animal rescue, said founder David
Groobman. College interns can earn credit while working at the ranch and helping with animal
rehabilitation. Karen Straight, the outreach director, is a former sociology professor who has designed
a course about the interaction of society and animals. Interns live in the dog and cat yurts and help
with the daily operations of the ranch while taking the course.
"The educational component is a unique aspect of this organization because that's another way to create change," Straight said. "We want to get people to go home and think about and discuss what animals mean to their life." * Vacation: Kindness Ranch wants to share the love of its animals with the rest of the world. It offers
four guest yurts for families and groups of friends to rent for vacation. The yurts, which sleep four to
10 people, offer one or two bedrooms, a full kitchen, a loft, one or two bathrooms, laundry facilities,
television, floor to ceiling windows and a private deck overlooking the ranch grounds. Guests are
invited to bring their pets and kids and visit the variety of animals while relaxing. Profits from the
guest yurts support the ranch and its operations.
* Adopt: Kindness Ranch doesn't want to keep all its animals to itself. Once the dogs, cats and other
animals are rehabilitated and ready for a home environment, the ranch will accept applications from
people who would like to adopt. Adoptees are screened and expected to give the animals the same
high quality care offered at the ranch.
* Information: For more information on Kindness Ranch and volunteer, internship, vacation and
adoption opportunities, call Karen Straight, outreach director, at (307) 735-4177 or go online to
www.kindnessranch.org.
***BREAKOUT***
Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary, which rescues and rehabilitates research animals, almost didn't exist. What started as a grand and perhaps idealistic vision for founder David Groobman 10 years ago seemed maybe too grand when it hit reality.
Groobman got his idea after reading the book "Animal Liberation." He originally wanted to build a sanctuary for primates, but it was more than he could afford and not ideal in his Colorado location.
So he decided to focus on the other animals used to test cosmetics, household cleaners, medical procedures and university experiments. Dogs, cats, pigs, horses and sheep, he figured, would offer the benefit of being able to be adopted once rehabilitated. That would continually keep spaces at the ranch open so more animals could be rescued.
He looked for four years to find land with enough space, good roads and adequate infrastructure. He almost gave up again. That's when a realtor friend told him about this ranch near Guernsey.
"I saw there was no end to being successful or making money," Groobman said about his journey from running a counseling business for seniors to being altruistic towards animals. "I resolved a long time ago that when I had enough to provide for my family, I would not just put it away for myself anymore." So Groobman bought all 1,000 acres of the Wyoming ranch. Then he got yurts stuck in his head and decided his sanctuary should have them. Longtime friend Dave Marks, a retired building contractor and current board member, got involved. He spent nearly three years flying to Wyoming from Oregon to help oversee the construction of roads, underground water systems, backup energy sources, stables, pastures and seven yurts.
Five of the round wooden dwellings house humans -- staff and guests -- while two serve as a dog yurt and cat yurt. They have bedrooms, a bathroom, a laundry room, kitchen and living room with a wood stove. They also sport televisions and internet access for the volunteers, interns and staff who live with the animals around the clock to give them constant care and companionship. The ranch obtained a special use permit for 600 animals and started accepting residents in March 2007.
It now has 43 animals. Two of its four horses were used in the manufacture of menopause medicine. Its five pot-bellied pigs were bred to teach researchers how to implant biomedical telemetry devices. It has eight dogs, six of which were used in allergy, food and laceration studies. And 18 cats call it home, 15 of which were used much like the dogs.
Kindness Ranch is a place with a lot of potential, Groobman said, and he can't wait to see it unfold: "I just hope guests and volunteers will take away the beauty of this area and the feeling of trying to help these beautiful creatures -- the Lord's creatures -- who are in a position to have a new life." Help. This place has gone to the dogs.
Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary, located near Hartville, exists to rescue and rehabilitate animals used in research, giving laboratories an alternative to killing animals when the tests or semesters are http://www.casperstartribune.net/articles/2008/09/14/ne.
The Humane Society of the United States estimates more than 25 million vertebrate animals are used annually in research, testing and education. A majority of those animals are euthanized during or after the experiment. Some die as a result of the research for which they were used. For example, the "Lethal Dose 50" test is used to determine the dose of a substance that kills 50 percent of the animals tested.
Kindness Ranch has room for up to 600 animals, but it needs more human hands to tailor care to these animals' unique medical, emotional and social needs.
Humans can get involved with Kindness Ranch in several ways: * Volunteer: Help with mailings. Shovel snow. Mend fences. Walk dogs. Feed pigs. Live in the cat yurt and rub Mamma Kitty's belly. Kindness Ranch welcomes volunteers to work for a day or a week. Interested people who pass a screening process are even welcome to live in the dog or cat yurts with the animals.
* Intern: Kindness Ranch is unique in its educational approach to animal rescue, said founder David Groobman. College interns can earn credit while working at the ranch and helping with animal rehabilitation. Karen Straight, the outreach director, is a former sociology professor who has designed a course about the interaction of society and animals. Interns live in the dog and cat yurts and help with the daily operations of the ranch while taking the course.
"The educational component is a unique aspect of this organization because that's another way to create change," Straight said. "We want to get people to go home and think about and discuss what animals mean to their life." * Vacation: Kindness Ranch wants to share the love of its animals with the rest of the world. It offers four guest yurts for families and groups of friends to rent for vacation. The yurts, which sleep four to 10 people, offer one or two bedrooms, a full kitchen, a loft, one or two bathrooms, laundry facilities, television, floor-to-ceiling windows and a private deck overlooking the ranch grounds. Guests are invited to bring their pets and kids and visit the variety of animals while relaxing. Profits from the guest yurts support the ranch and its operations.
* Adopt: Kindness Ranch doesn't want to keep all its animals to itself. Once the dogs, cats and other animals are rehabilitated and ready for a home environment, the ranch will accept applications from people who would like to adopt. Adoptees are screened and expected to give the animals the same high quality care offered at the ranch.
* Information: For more information on Kindness Ranch and volunteer, internship, vacation and adoption opportunities, call Karen Straight, outreach director, at (307) 735-4177 or go online to www.kindnessranch.org.
Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary, which rescues and rehabilitates research animals, almost didn't exist. What started as a grand and perhaps idealistic vision for founder David Groobman 10 years ago seemed maybe too grand when it hit reality.
Groobman got his idea after reading the book "Animal Liberation." He originally wanted to build a sanctuary for primates, but it was more than he could afford and not ideal in his Colorado location.
So he decided to focus on the other animals used to test cosmetics, household cleaners, medical procedures and university experiments. Dogs, cats, pigs, horses and sheep, he figured, would offer the benefit of being able to be adopted once rehabilitated. That would continually keep spaces at the ranch open so more animals could be rescued.
He looked for four years to find land with enough space, good roads and adequate infrastructure. He almost gave up again. That's when a realtor friend told him about this ranch near Guernsey.
"I saw there was no end to being successful or making money," Groobman said about his journey from running a counseling business for seniors to being altruistic towards animals. "I resolved a long time ago that when I had enough to provide for my family, I would not just put it away for myself anymore." So Groobman bought all 1,000 acres of the Wyoming ranch. Then he got yurts stuck in his head and decided his sanctuary should have them. Longtime friend Dave Marks, a retired building contractor and current board member, got involved. He spent nearly three years flying to Wyoming from Oregon to help oversee the construction of roads, underground water systems, backup energy sources, stables, pastures and seven yurts.
Five of the round wooden dwellings house humans -- staff and guests -- while two serve as a dog yurt http://www.casperstartribune.net/articles/2008/09/14/ne.
and cat yurt. They have bedrooms, a bathroom, a laundry room, kitchen and living room with a wood stove. They also sport televisions and internet access for the volunteers, interns and staff who live with the animals around the clock to give them constant care and companionship. The ranch obtained a special use permit for 600 animals and started accepting residents in March 2007.
It now has 43 animals. Two of its four horses were used in the manufacture of menopause medicine. Its five pot-bellied pigs were bred to teach researchers how to implant biomedical telemetry devices. It has eight dogs, six of which were used in allergy, food and laceration studies. And 18 cats call it home, 15 of which were used much like the dogs.
Kindness Ranch is a place with a lot of potential, Groobman said, and he can't wait to see it unfold: "I just hope guests and volunteers will take away the beauty of this area and the feeling of trying to help these beautiful creatures -- the Lord's creatures -- who are in a position to have a new life." Go to trib.com to watch a video of the dogs, cats, pigs, horses -- and people -- who call Kindness Ranch Animal Sanctuary home.]]>

Source: http://societyandenvironment.truman.edu/BeyondtheClassroom/Internships/kindess_ranch/caspersuntimes.pdf

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