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A journal of social practice & professional engagement for the Antioch community

Everest Wass ’26 at Our Farm Sanctuary, in Tipp City, OH

Welcome to the farm! Here the goal is to offer sanctuary to animals of all shapes and sizes, and the occasional co-op student, a home. For the actual farm animals, this is a rather permanent home, for them to be waited on paw and hoof by tireless volunteers, but for the kittens, and recently puppies, of the farm it’s simply a halfway house until they can find their furever home.

I chose to volunteer mostly with the cats, but have dabbled with the dogs, because honestly who could resist helping intake 8 mill puppies and being lost in a puppy pile. So the cats, what exactly do we do to make them as happy as possible here? A large portion is the medical staff, who I’ve volunteered with closely. Daily meds, sometimes twice a day, for the few cats who need the closer eye of medical directly on them. Making sure everyone’s fed and has water and clean bedding. The biggest event in medical is vet visit days, which for me resulted in mostly finding cats and putting them into carriers to be seen by a local vet on sit.

Now, working closely with cats in need of medical attention has its ups and downs. We get good results and good progress for some cats, and other days we lose them. This is simply the reality of animal rehab, no matter what animal that may be. Especially when you are working closely with abused and traumatized animals, some of whom are too feral to help as much as we would like. The farm gets cats dumped on them, both literally and figuratively. Kittens, with no mom and eyes not yet open, dumped on our yard. Cats in need of severe medical attention, and therefore severe medical bills. The Farm Sanctuary is fully volunteer driven, as well as donation funded. This became both a blessing and a curse with our new poster child Fotis, a cat who was given to us covered in burns. His case was so extreme it brought the eye of the media on us, resulting in amazing people coming through with donations to help him recover. A horrible case of animal abuse, but resulted in large funding able to help us provide care for more than just Fotis.

You’re probably thinking, okay but how does feeding cats relate to your major, conservation of wildlife biology? Simple, all wildlife matters, no matter how small, how endangered, how beat up by humanity they are. Are cats endangered? Quite the opposite, we have over 500 “unwanted” cats in our system, who were found, dumped, or surrendered to the farm. This fact doesn’t change that these animals need our help, and any help anyone can offer them. As well as giving them medical attention is always good to know how to do.

Volunteering here came very in handy on Mother’s Day weekend, when my father found a stray kitten on a bike ride, 2 hours away, in the middle of nowhere. So of course me and my mom pack up the car and head on over, unsure if we would even see the cat again. Driving on gravel roads till we come to the same bridge, and there he is. Covered in deer ticks and starving, I manage to scruff him and plop him in our car. One bath and many full food bowls later, he is now happily living in our home. I’m unsure if I would have agreed if i hadn’t known what to do, or how to handle a stray cat, let alone a 6 month old kitten who needed us. It really stuck with me, how even one volunteer learning these skills could then go out and use them to give these scared homeless cats a new life.

If you think you could help, or wish to learn these skills yourself and live near Tipp City Ohio, give the Farm a visit, or message them on Facebook or Instagram to learn how you can help these babies.

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