Our Cow Friends
Angel was the last cow at a dairy that closed down on San Antonio Road in Petaluma. The farmer retired at the age of 75, and had sold all of his milking cows to a bigger dairy. Angel was just 3 months old at the time and was in a small makeshift pen outside with the hood of a car as her only roof. A local vegan befriended him and convinced him to let Rancho Compasión have her. She was smaller than Cookies, our biggest goat, when she arrived, and had just been weaned from the bottle. Grazing grass was a whole new experience for her.
Louie is a steer and raised by a local girl, Paige, as part of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) program. FFA animals are expected to be sold for slaughter at county fairs. Paige fell in love with Louie and changed her mind about letting him go at the last possible moment. It was a difficult process and caused personal hardships, but Paige persisted and brought Louie home. When Paige started college in Fall '18, she needed a home for Louie, and we are so happy to provide that home for him at Rancho Compasión.
Our Donkey Friends
Ricky and LUCY
Ricky (3) and Lucy (4) were rescued by Slim Chance Sanctuary from a Louisiana kill shelter. The couple had a foal who died in transport due to lack of water and food. By the time they got to their resting place in Arizona, they were emaciated -- practically skin and bones -- and had to receive an IV to stay alive. After resting for a month, they made their way out West and arrived at Rancho Compasión. With plenty of hay and fresh grass, they began to put on weight quickly, and after just a few short months, they are at a healthy weight and have quickly learned that they are part of the motley pack.
Our Goat Friends
Sugar and Spice
These 2-month old Boer goats joined the Rancho family in June of 2019. Found along the railroad tracks in Sonoma County, these cuties were likely just a few months away from being someone's dinner. Boer goats are typically raised for meat, but at Rancho Compasión, they will have lots of room to roam and plenty of goat friends.
Rufus and Reggie
Rufus and Reggie are proud to claim the title of being the first farm critters to come to Rancho Compasión. Young strays found wandering the streets of Merced, they were picked up by the local animal control then rescued by Animal Place, who adopted them out to us. When they arrived in November 2015, they were just young kids around 7 to 9 months old, and they remain kids at heart as the resident clowns who can be found playing together on the see-saw, playing “peek-a-boo,” or just reaching out for caresses. As Jan of Animal Place explained it, they were born the wrong sex: male Alpine goats don’t give milk, so they are often abandoned or killed.
The Goat Family (Cookies, Cream, and Nubie)
Cookies, Cream, and Nubie are the “goat family.” Adopted from a goat rescue in Sonoma County, this family of a mom, dad, and daughter stays close together, although Rufus battles with Cookies for the affection of Cream, the mom. Cookies, our biggest goat, can look fierce, but is the gentlest of souls.
Our Sheep Friends
Benny and Joon . . And Cinnamon!
This odd couple proved that deep love can result between different species. Benny, a goat, and Joon, a sheep, were rescued by Farm Sanctuary from a hoarding situation in the desert of SoCal. They were raised separately in dog runs without room to roam or graze. Their love and commitment to each other was beautiful to witness.
Sadly, Benny passed away in September 2017. We were worried about Joon’s happiness but she adjusted well by hanging out with the rest of the goat herd. Fortunately, we came across a perfect partner her to be close with again.
Benny and Joon are featured in the iconic new Rancho logo. Joon is a Barbados sheep. They do not have wool like most sheep and their hair sheds on its own.
Cinnamon, another Barbados sheep, joined our family about at 3 months old in July of 2018, and she and Joon are now inseparable best friends.
Our Pig Friends
This adorable suckling pig was auctioned off by a farmer at an equine non-profit fundraiser to be roasted whole in a pit for a luau, but a compassionate animal lover bid on him, saved his life, and granted him a second chance. As of May, 2019, he now calls Rancho Compasión home.
Argon, Onyx, and Oxy
The three little potbelly pigs were pets of a man in the South Bay. The man died shortly after buying the pigs, and the pigs had nowhere to go. Although they were only about 50 lbs. when they arrived in December 2015, they are now quite robust weighing in at well over 100 lbs. each. They spend their days rooting, munching on grass, wagging their tails, and getting belly rubs.
Goober and Gamber
In June 2017, a family from Sonoma reached out to us about their two Berkshire pigs, who were being raised by their daughter in the FFA program (Future Farmers of America, an organization like 4H). The plan was to raise them, take them to auction, then bring them home as bacon. “We even bought a freezer,” said the mother. Over time, the family grew to love the goofy pigs, and had a big change of heart. Goober and Gamber have grown to be over 500 lbs. each, and are full of life and joy. They love people, will come running when they see you, and are thrilled to be experiencing a full life on the ranch.
Our pretty pink piggie, Princess, lives in a pink palace all of her own. Princess came to us from another family who could no longer keep her (a common fate for pot bellies). She was just too pretty to turn away!
Our Duck Friends
Cammy Schinner, found the ducks in a chicken coop behind a school where she was working. They were about 4 months old at the time. They were a 5th grade biology project where the eggs were hatched in class. The small coop was no place for water fowl, so she arranged to bring them here where they have access to a pond and pasture.
We also took in a Mallard duck couple from a family who lost their home in the NorCal fires in October 2017. When they returned to the site of their home weeks after the fires, they found that their ducks had survived. After they were nursed back to health from burns, they came to live at Rancho Compasion and are now having a quacking time with the other ducks, swimming in the pond and waddling around.
Moby and Daisy (Muscovy ducks) were both rescued from different shelters by Animal Place sanctuary. We have this amazing pond at Rancho and wanted them to be able to live out their lives here with the rest of the animals. Daisy loves to sit in your lap and be pet. Moby is a big guy who likes to let you know when he's excited with these little grunts he does.
Our Chicken Friends
Our colorful colorful flock of chickens continues to grow, and currently, we have about 50.
Barry, the big rooster, came to us from Farm Sanctuary in September 2015. He was part of a threesome along with his two brothers, Satchmo and Bird. They had been raised in a glass aquarium on the deck of a Los Angeles apartment. Purchased as chicks at a swap meet, the owner thought he was getting chickens. Instead, he ended up with two roosters and what he thought was a hen. At the time they came to us at about 4 months of age, even Farm Sanctuary told us that they were two roosters and a hen. Barry, therefore, was named Bessie. Satchmo and Bird grew quickly and became quite large, while Barry stayed small like a hen. A couple of months later, unfortunately, we found both roosters dead. (We think now that they fought and killed each other – they were alive one minute, and 15 minutes later, dead.) About 4 months later at the age of 9 months, I noticed that Barry had grown spurs and thought it strange. His size and plumage also started to develop, and then the crowing started. Bessie had transformed into Barry, a big, beautiful, benevolent rooster. It’s a case of arrested development where Barry suppressed his masculinity in order to save his life until it was safe.
Miles was rescued from someone local who couldn’t keep him. He and Barry worked it out, and Miles is definitely under Barry in the pecking order. Miles can be mean to some people, but you just have to call Barry, who will come running and chase him away.
Our nine most colorful birds were hatched in a classroom as part of a school project. Sadly, chicks are often hatched in the classroom without forethought about what their fate will be afterwards. These 9 were living in a plastic box in the classroom when a compassionate teacher rescued them and brought them to the sanctuary. Four of them turned out to be roosters, so now the sanctuary is filled with competing crowing from early morning. Among farm animals, the number of roosters needing homes is probably the highest (followed by pot bellied pigs) because of zoning codes that do not allow for roosters in most municipalities. With the rise of the backyard chicken movement, this number continues to rise.
The many hens came to us in different ways – some as backyard birds where the owners couldn’t keep them anymore, to rescued battery cage egg hens (most of the white leghorns who are debeaked) to “free-range” hens (many of the Sexlinks and Rhode Island reds). We aim to educate people who keep chickens why they shouldn’t eat eggs anymore, and that no chickens are cruelty-free, even backyard ones.
Our Dog Friends
Kaiti, our sweet rescued German Shepherd, always greets visitors with something in her mouth. As soon as she sees someone, she looks around for a “gift” to pick up and deliver. Once, it was a business card. Another time, it was hardened cow poop. She is a little shy and dotes on her big brother, Koan. Kaiti was dumped in the night box of the Monterey animal shelter at the age of 8 weeks, and jumped around from foster home to foster home before finding her forever home with us at the age of 5 months.
Koan is a spirited, playful, loyal cattledog mix. When Michael and Miyoko visited the Marin Humane Society to rescue some of the famous hens from the Turlock factory farm, they happened to see a spunky 8-week-old puppy and came home with him. He has been stirring up fun and trouble since he arrived 6 years ago and wins the heart of everyone. He loves to ride in the Polaris around the ranch and run around with the other critters on the ranch. Both Koan and Kaiti are great protectors of the animals, especially the chickens. Often, he patrols the ranch for hours in the dead of night to make sure everyone is safe and sound.
Our Cat Friends
Anya was rescued from a hoarder. Her back legs are permanently bowed due to spending the first couple of years of her life in a small cage with three other cats. When she first joined the Schinner family, she could barely jump up onto a chair. Now, she is as agile as can be and can be found climbing high places when she is not purring on your lap.
Merlin was found as a kitten in a dumpster. He is a dog-cat, who likes car rides and will stick his head out of the window. He likes to hang out with the chickens at the coop and will sometimes accompany the dogs on a walk. He is extremely communicative and lets you know exactly what he wants.
In fall 2016, a caring woman from Sonoma County reached out about a cow she had rescued from a dairy. Ericka was being sold for meat because she had arthritis and couldn’t stand. The woman had given her lots of Reiki and love, and saw her heal considerably, but was concerned that she would not be able to get up if she fell down. Ericka arrived one sunny November day, saw the fields, and immediately ran off of the trailer. We realized that she did not have arthritis, but depression instead, and that she was having her own version of a sit-down protest at the dairy. The initial care and love she received from her rescuer, as well as the love she has received from everyone at our sanctuary convinced her that she no longer needed to continue her protest.
Sadly, in late June of 2018, Ericka was found unable to move in a ravine. A heroic effort was made by over 30 people, including local volunteer firefighters, the Marin Humane Society, and a county large animal rescue group. They managed to get her out of the ravine, but she was unable to stand due to a fractured hip. Her kidneys were shutting down -- she could not hold onto life. The firefighters said that even though distressed, she remained calm and put her trust in all who surrounded her. Her passing brought about many tears among all who fought to save her.
We unexpectedly lost our beloved Benny in September 2017. The old man goat who loved his gal, Joon the sheep, and lived every moment of his life for her. He was humble, courageous, sweet. He went down fast -- it was only moments after the vet discovered by ultrasound advanced cancer in his bladder that he breathed his last breath. We were worried about Joon, but she seems to be adjusting, staying with the rest of the goat herd and looking for her perfect partner. Benny will live on in our logo because Benny and Joon's love is really inspiring and that’s what Rancho is all about, being one big happy family-no matter what species you are.