Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary-Appalachian Outfitters

Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary

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Since Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary began in 1999, they have rescued over 4,000 farm animals! They currently have over 300 animals at their sanctuary, including pot-belly pigs, chickens, sheep, and forty-eight horses. All of these animals seek permanent, loving, adoptive homes elsewhere, so that new openings will allow more sanctuary space for other animals this winter.

In our exclusive interview, Annette Fisher, the Executive Director of Happy Trails, told us about the beginning of Happy Trails and her motivation to keep going.

Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary
Happy Trails Farm Animal Sanctuary - Photo Credit: Happy Trails Farm

Janice, The Pot Belly Pig

One pig changed Annette’s life forever. Someone asked Annette to pet sit while she was out of town. This is where she met Janice the pig. Janice was in bad condition, “sitting in her own waste in a horribly small, smelly, closed-in area of the barn.” Janice’s front legs were tucked underneath her; the owner informed Annette her legs were broken, though no vet had ever verified this. While pet sitting, Annette gave Janice fresh straw, a bowl for food, fresh air, and sunshine. The owner returned and asked Annette her fee, and Annette replied, “Why don’t you just give me your crippled pig?” She says that was the moment Happy Trails began.

Annette’s vet took x-rays that showed Janice’s legs weren’t broken but atrophied because of neglect and environmental conditions. He told Annette that the care she gave Janice was “the best the pig’s ever had it.” Janice lived a happy life at Happy Trails for seven years. She died in September 2007, and now her log cabin houses several pigs.

Pot Belly Pig
Pot Belly Pig - Photo Credit: Digital 504 Archive

Just The Beginning

Annette contacted humane societies about their protocols for abused farm animals. The answers disturbed her; many agencies do not have adequate funds or facilities for abused farm animals, so they either did not remove them or they euthanized them. “Happy Trails was originally created to be a support organization,” says Annette, “a hospital of sorts, to care for the abused and neglected farm animals.”

Now the animal sanctuary has grown into a community network, including outreach and educational programs. Annette’s motivation is “to help create an awareness of farm animal abuse and to help people connect with animals.” She believes that this connection creates a willingness to learn about abuse, making people more apt to choose compassionately, both as consumers and as examples of kindness to others.

Sueno Quarter Horse
Sueno Quarter Horse - Photo Credit: Happy Trails Farm

Be More Than A Bystander

If you are unable to adopt an animal, there are other ways to help. Happy Trails has a sponsorship program, which some people choose as a gift for the holidays. There is also a volunteer program that is always welcoming more participants.

  • Animal Rescue 101 – September 19-20 from 12pm-5pm. This seminar teaches attendees about the many aspects of rescuing animals, including documentation, on-scene protocol, and health assessments of farm animals.
  • Compassionate Thanksgiving – Saturday, November 8 at 5pm. Join us for a vegan buffet! Get a head start on your holiday shopping by arriving early; there will be local vendors selling local goods for your loved ones.
  • Visit happytrailsfarm.org for regular updates about events, rescue stories, and animals up for adoption!

Tour season will close at the end of October. With the cooler temperatures and fall colors, now is the time to visit Happy Trails. Tours occur on Saturdays and Sundays. For just $20 per person (kids ages 5 and under are free) your family can spend quality time together by experiencing an educational, hands-on tour.


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