Meet the Animals
Harley - Buddy - Band of Brothers
Harley was recently acquired by Precious Life Animal Sanctuary from a woman in Oregon who had kept the two-year old, 180-lb. Saint Bernard in a 10x12 pen with no shelter for his entire life. He didn’t even have a basic dog dish but was fed on the ground. He escaped from the pen once and chased and downed a neighbor’s goat. He was pulled of and it could not be determined if he would have killed it. This incident sealed his fate. Two purebred Saint Bernard rescue organizations in Oregon wouldn’t accept him and the Oregon Humane Society had no kennel big enough to house him. Several months passed and the Humane Society couldn’t place him. Some felt the best decision would be to euthanize him rather than subject him to more neglect.
PLAS was contacted and he was adopted and has quickly adapted to life with six Great Pyrenees companions and assorted farm animals and feral cats. However, Harley recently took a mis-step on the ranch and tore his cruciate ligament. He had a very expensive TPLO surgery and is recovering nicely. If you could help with the cost of Harley’s surgery, it would be greatly appreciated. Donations allow us to continue to help animals who need it. Precious Life Animal Sanctuary is a 501c(3) non-profit organization.
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In the spring of this year, we received a frantic call from a man making his way back from eastern Washington with a very young Great Pyrenees dog with him that he had just rescued. He was charged with emotion having done the admirable thing of picking up the dog and securing it in his van and was now faced with the reality of what he would do with the starved, dehydrated, smelly, unruly animal he had found in the woods, tethered to a tree.
The dog was expectedly nervous, had obviously never been loved or cared for by anyone and definitely had no manners nor house training and appeared to be suffering a severe ear infection. It was after dark when he called and we knew the trip to Sequim by ferry would not be feasible that night. We also require that all animals be spayed or neutered before we accept them.
We asked the good Samaritan if he could find a veterinarian who could neuter the pup before we took him and if he could at least keep him overnight. We called our good friends at Scrub a Pup and asked if they would be willing to be the intermediary for this transfer and also give the pup a groom and a bath.
As usual, they were eager to help and met the fellow at their shop in Edmonds. They all fell in love with this baby who was so dirty and unloved yet so trusting. They did their magic with his fur, but every bone in his body showed. A healthy Pyr of his size should weigh about 110-120 lbs. and this guy weighed around 70. They kept him at their shop in daycare for a few days and showered him with love and attention.
They brought him up to us on a Sunday and we introduced him to the other dogs. The meeting went well and he was soon part of the pack. He was even taken under the wing of Maxwell, the alpha dog, which is usually not the case. Max sniffed out his ear problem and spent lots of time trying to help him with it.
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Band of Brothers
It is late October and one month after the grand opening of Precious Life Animal Sanctuary. Claudine Erlandson, lifelong
animal activist, and I drive to a livestock auction. Our purpose is to possibly rescue a calf to be a future companion
for our one and lonely Holstein steer named Benjamin (rescued by a woman who now lives in Oregon).
We know this will be a heart wrenching experience as the day-old male calves at the auction are there for a reason. All
are unwanted, unhealthy and many will not survive. Sadly, their gentle, caring mothers who have carried them for 280
days will never have a chance to nurture and feed them as they have been taken from them shortly after birth.
As we pull onto the grounds, long lines of livestock haulers are waiting to unload tightly packed, terrified, spent dairy
cows no older than five years. They will be auctioned off to buyers who will reload them and transport them to slaughter.
The calves from various dairies are being unloaded in a separate barn. Many are wet from birthing with visible short
bloody umbilical cords. Most appear cold, dazed and unsure on their feet. Some take their first steps; others fall
down. All have empty bellies with no nourishment. Tragically, most have not been given any or insufficient colostrum
which needs to be absorbed within the calves. first 24 hours of life. This first mother.s milk provides their only immunity
against a variety of diseases. Because of this uncaring and neglect, many will die a slow death from high levels of
e-coli, salmonella and coccidiosis in a disease-infested environment.
Three female employees in their early twenties and an older woman begin to sort out the calves into three pens according
to size. One tiny Jersey calf runs loose in the auction barn with a paper plate tied around his neck that reads, "Take
me, I.m free.. The dairy woman explains the calf has a 50/50 chance healthwise to survive and no chance to live past
the auction. Due to its small size, it will take longer to reach slaughter weight so it will be shot after the auction. We
immediately inform the woman we want it.
The first pen contains approximately 50 calves, mostly standing and the largest in size and considered the best value.
Yet there is one with a broken leg and others with common hernia defects.
The second pen contains around the same number, but the calves are smaller in size and more unwilling to stand. The
woman in charge tells us which ones not to bid on as some have pneumonia and two have ringworm. The employee remarks
she can.t understand why a dairy would bring them to the auction with no chance to live.
The third pen contains around thirty of the smallest calves. Even to an untrained eye, it is easy to spot many that are
sick and depressed.
The bidding starts and moves fast with two main buyers purchasing the majority of the calves in the first and second
pens. We are told the calves go to Sunnyside and Yakima for three months and then are shipped to California for finishing
during the next nine months. At that age, they are slaughtered for various chain stores and markets in Japan.
(Their normal life span would be 25 to 30 years.)
During the bidding of the second pen, a calf for Benjamin is selected from the group of black and white bodies. He
seems livelier than some of the others. The bidder then goes to the third pen and auctions off several sick calves for
$2 to $3 apiece. Four calves remain. The auction is over and several livestock haulers back up to the barn to load their
calves. One cattle truck has a foot of manure already in it as the day-old calves are put in for their cold journey and
not all will survive.
We ask the employee what will happen to the four remaining unsold calves. Two young female employees inform us that
they will shoot them shortly and the renderer will pick them up. Claudine talks a young girl into taking one of the calves
which leaves three. Two small jersey calves are huddled together so close they appear to be connected at the head.
They look in fear as we approach and we can.t bear to separate them. It will be easy for the employee to shoot them
together. The other calf is lying in a corner and no bigger than a newborn fawn. It is chocolate brown with little white
hearts on its legs. We pick him up and call him Dodge for dodging the bullet. We put the other two in the van and start
the journey home.
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