Twin Hearts Animal Sanctuary, tucked up a quiet country lane in the South Shuswap is a safe home for animals that might otherwise be bound for slaughter.
Diane Nicholson, one of the owners of the sanctuary, said donations and volunteers are a huge help for both keeping the approximately 30 animals in their care fed and assisting with upgrades to the sanctuary.
A recent example of community members helping the sanctuary is the assistance they received building a shelter for Pedro the donkey, a recent arrival at the sanctuary. Nicholson said Pedro, who was one of several donkeys owned by the previous owner of the property that Twin Hearts now occupies, did not fare well in his damp Vancouver Island home. Nicholson said when Pedro came to the sanctuary it was discovered he has a severe heart murmur. The decision was made to ease the strain on the donkey by building a shelter for him.
“Our supporters were completely amazing – within two and a half weeks we raised the $2,600 for that, which I thought was pretty darn good,” Nicholson said.
Another success story from the sanctuary is Forrest Gump, the cow who came to the sanctuary as a tiny calf with serious health issues including contracted tendons in his legs that left him virtually immobile. After lots of work from Nicholson and her husband Harry, the sickly calf has grown into a huge, and fully mobile, adult animal who she said stands over five-feet, seven-inches at the shoulder.
Feeding all the animals in their care is a large expense which has become even larger due to hay shortages in recent years. Nicholson said with 30 animals, the sanctuary has reached its capacity and their goal is to make their quality of life as good as possible.
While Twin Hearts is a registered non profit, Nicholson said they decided not to become a registered charity, which would’ve opened up more opportunities for corporate donations and grants. Nicholson said they chose to not become a charity so they can remain politically active fighting for better animal cruelty laws.
The Nicholsons’ stand against animal cruelty extends to their dinner table. The pair have been vegans for 23 years and are celebrating the anniversary of their lifestyle choice with an event at the sanctuary on June 9, which serves as their major fundraiser for the year. This year’s “veganniversary extravaganza” runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Smudge Noshery will be at the sanctuary selling food and coffee, and there will also be live music, an art sale and, of course, the company of the animals that live at Twin Hearts.
When they don’t have an event on, the sanctuary is open for tours by donation. They can be reached on their Facebook page to set up a tour. The sanctuary is located on Abbington Lane in Tappen.