Latest News



May 26, 2016

We don’t do rabbits very often at The Animal Sanctuary, as we’re not set up for them. But once in a while in urgent situations we have taken and rehomed rabbits, and it’s always lovely to see them in their new happy life. This is Chockie, who was rehomed with Susan and her family, and their female rabbit. Susan took a lot of time and patience to pair the two rabbits, and it was a wonderful success. She just sent me this gorgeous photo of Chockie playing dominoes with his buddy, Logan. Love it!!

pig sun


May 25, 2016

I know Pesque is missing Kevin, so I’ve been trying to make up for it. Yesterday Pesque didn’t want to leave his barn, and I was worried that he was depressed. Happily, today he came out to see us, lay down for a belly rub, and snuggled as close to me as he could get. I was so relieved and happy that he wanted contact. As I rubbed and scratched and tickled, Pesque sighed and gurgled and practically purred. What a sweetheart!! Check out the video by clicking on the linkbelow…

new hens


May 24, 2016

Yes, for me, happiness is a barn full of rescued hens. These are a few of the 81 brown shavers that arrived from an egg farm yesterday. They’re in beautiful condition, aged between 13 – 20 months. It was a lovely surprise to have the farmer contact us, asking if we would take the hens. They even delivered! The farmer’s family had to get rid of their hens by the end of the week for personal reasons. They’ve been selling and rehoming as many as possible, and asked if we could take whatever was left. There may be another group coming later this week. I’m very grateful that this farming family wanted to rehome the young hens, rather than kill them all, which would have been standard practice. If you live around the Greater Auckland area or Whangarei and want to adopt, please fill out the adoption form at

first walk photo


May 23, 2016

Having recovered well from his surgery, Pesque went for his first ever wander yesterday. His story: Pesque had originally been put into a small cage as a piglet. The people who owned him abandoned the property, and Pesque was left in trapped in the cage without food or water. Kevin was on a neighbouring property, and heard strange noises. When he investigated, he discovered Pesque starving and dehydrated, in a cage full of excrement. Kevin brought Pesque to his home, but had to keep him in a pen for his own safety. Pesque has doubled in size since then, and yesterday was his first day of being able to go wherever he wanted. He was fascinated by every sight, every smell, every movement. It was beautiful to see the two of them meandering along paths and walkways, exploring the world. I have to admit that it brought a tear to my eye. I felt honoured to observe this, and thought you might like to see a small part of it, too. (This was about an hour after they began their walk.)
Click here to see the video:

pesque before


May 21, 2016

On Thursday evening, the long awaited big pig from the north arrived. His name is Pesque, and yup, he’s a big boy! And he’s absolutely lovely. With him came his previous rescuer, Kevin. It melts my heart to see how much Kevin loves Pesque. Kevin is staying for a few days to settle Pesque in, be with him through his operation yesterday (separate story follows this one), and his recovery today and tomorrow. Their bond is incredible. Kevin insisted on sleeping in the barn all night, so that Pesque wouldn’t be frightened of being alone in a new place. I went out to check on them late that night, and Kevin was reading out loud to Pesque, so that he felt safe hearing Kevin’s voice. I am so impressed. This is the best handover we’ve ever had. I would have been nervous if large Pesque had just been dumped and I had to handle him immediately all on my own (it’s happened many times before!) but meeting Pesque with Kevin here has made everything so much easier. Giving Pesque up is the hardest thing Kevin has ever done. But he’s happy knowing that Pesque has a wonderful loving safe home to go to with Wendy and her family after his op and recovery.

pesque after


Yesterday Pesque was neutered and he’s now in recovery. I’ve been through lots of operations with my vet, including assisting with the amputation of half of Sparky’s foot…. but this was the very first time that I’ve had to step out to gather myself before continuing. I won’t go into the gory details, but it was a challenging operation, due to Pesque’s size and age. Kudos to our vet Ross Lynch, vet nurse Sophie, and Pesque’s rescuer Kevin for sticking with it and completing it safely. Kevin spent the night in the barn again, and reports that Pesque got up, drank and moved around three times. Kevin hasn’t left his side once. Today Pesque is clearly sore and prefers to sleep it off for another day, but he’s safe and well.

nellie photo


May 18, 2016

When we rescue hens from the battery farm, Iā€™m always amazed at how well the majority of them adjust, both physically and mentally. But every once in a while there’s a hen that suffers a nervous breakdown. Literally. Nellie was one of those. She ran around screaming and screaming, in a permanent full blown panic. Even when no-one was near her, she was constantly in panic mode. She wouldn’t eat, and was painfully thin. It was horrible to see. We isolated Nellie, gave her a private pen. But if you even looked at her, she screamed and flapped and threw herself at the confines. We had to tube feed her to keep her alive, which isn’t a favourite but which most hens tolerate. She went into a complete tizzy as soon as we reached for her, and thrashed through the tube feeding. After more than a week of quiet privacy, she was no better. I was at a loss about what to do. Then I remembered: Rescue Remedy! A wonderful volunteer named Amanda had given us a bottle. I put the drops in Nellie’s water, and she began to calm immediately. Within a couple of days we were able to give her a friend (Ned, although she’s another hen) and they bonded. The change is amazing. Nellie is now the friendliest, most confident loving hen we’ve ever had. She and Ned follow us around like puppy dogs. I want a special home for Nellie and Ned where there are no other chickens, so they don’t have to compete, and where they’ll be beloved pets. Part of the family, allowed to interact, not stuck in a coop far away. If that sounds like you, please email me at
This video shows how adoring Nellie is now… click here:

before and after


May 16, 2016

On Sunday the Auckland University Animal Rights Group came up to help out. Along with our current residential volunteers Sebastian, Jade and Witold, and our regular Gaby, that made 18 enthusiastic helpers in addition to MIchael and I. Wow, what a lot of great things they accomplished! One of the most daunting was to transfer 2 truckloads of gabion rocks from our driveway below the house, to the drainage swale that runs the full length of the new concrete walk. (This before and after photo, which shows part of it) Continued below…