Fall was absolutely stunning in Northern California. From the color of the leaves to the flow of the river, our first winter crept up on us and we learned a lot! We came from Southern California's toasty gem, Ojai. It rarely rained and if it did, the earth soaked it up in dehydrated desperation. Not the case up in Gold Country. In addition, our first winter was a record breaking, havoc wreaking, frenzy for the area. Rivers swelled and surged, many parts of the community experienced flooding, and major city infrastructures were compromised such as the Oroville Dam (spillway) and Highway 50. It was intense but we took it in stride and we were able to experience the sense of community that we had become a part of. Our friends, the Olesen Family, let us borrow their generator to have on hand for the season. A sense of comfort as it rests on the porch ready to take care of us at a moments notice.
The sanctuary property is nestled in the hills, out of harm's way with regards to any serious flooding. While the ground was saturated and mucky the animals were kept dry and bellies full. With the help of the Sanctuary Support Team contributions, we were able to build a large shelter in the main pasture. The shelter kept everyone dry and out of the wind. Some small animals were moved into the house or the garage to make sure everyone was well cared for.
We learned the nature of our property during major storms, what enclosures needed to be improved, carving drainage, and best practices for feeding and cleaning in the rain. Some days it was exhausting and there are no handouts for sick days. One of our volunteers, Sue, shows up rain or shine to give the grooming and cleaning routine her best. A fabulous and dedicated friend of The Ranch!
While there was a lot of work, we didn't miss out on play! The animals loved the snow, especially the equines. The herd played chase and frolicked across the hillside!
Another unruly rain storm just passed and we are hoping that the weather subsides as we scramble to clean up and dry out before the next hit. Not to worry though, being this far into the storm season we have settled into a more confident role. We have completed our first year with worn out muck boots, broken in work gloves, and the mud on our faces worn with pride as we can now truly call ourselves mountain ranchers!
We had a successful first year in our new home. We look forward to the adventures of 2017 and appreciate our supporters for getting us this far!
I began working with Casper 5 years ago at his place of residence. He sang, we cuddled, and I taught him to play fetch. We spent many hours in his aviary with his buddies, Rudy & Annie. I loved putting on "shows" for visitors and we had a lot of fun connecting with so many people of all ages. Casper makes everyone smile and shocks them with his intelligent and affectionate nature.
Unfortunately, life took me away from him for a little bit. Casper grew lonely and began plucking feathers. I was delighted to be contacted to resume working with my feathered love and eager to make him healthy again. We laughed, played, and of course cuddled. All was well.
At one point, The Ranch had the opportunity to care for Casper at our facility. Then, the real fun began! I introduced him to so many animals. It was amazing to observe him discovering life outside of an aviary and away from a place of business. He loved the ranch and we loved him. His favorite animal was Frankie, a donkey. Casper truly enjoyed all the animals and excitement of the barn. He was a hit with animals, volunteers, and visitors. Casper was such a source of joy; the kind of spirit that makes you feel like a kid again.
Once more, life would pull me in another direction. I had to say "See you later" at the end of 2015. I thought I would.
I hoped that someday he would retire to our sanctuary. I won't get to hold my sweet friend again. I'm utterly devastated.
I find comfort in our beautiful memories and the hope that we touched the lives of others. I did a lot of advocacy and taught people about the serious commitment that one makes when owning a parrot. We taught people about their delicate nature and complex personalities.
My wish for Casper's legacy is for humans to recognize animals as sentient beings, people, and friends. If you are interested in owning a parrot please contact a rescue or sanctuary for assistance.
With love and gratitude for our amazing Casper,
Kate & The Ranch
Congratulations on your new rabbit!
We want to make sure that you and your new family member start off in the right direction!
Unfortunately, rabbits are one of the most euthanized animals due to overcrowding at shelters. The common misconception is that they are a "good starter pet" and they are frequently gifted during Easter. While rabbits can be a precious gift we want to make sure that you have a successful relationship that doesn't end up at the shelter.
Most people don't know that rabbits require as much attention as a dog and have similar behavioral needs. They should also have veterinary assessments much like a cat or dog. Rabbits are fragile; therefore, multiple habitat and nutritional considerations must be made in order to have a happy and healthy pet. Taking care of a rabbit can be so much fun with the tips and guidance of excellent resources. For example, did you know that many rabbits live inside the home without a cage? Thanks to simple potty training techniques, they can!
Below, we have started you off with some fabulous websites and rescue groups. They have the best information and resources for navigating the rabbit world.
Check them out:
-Bunnies Urgently Needing Shelter at http://www.bunssb.org
-House Rabbit Society at http://rabbit.org
-Leaps & Bounds Rabbit Rescue at http://leapsandboundsrabbitrescue.cfsites.org/custom.php?pageid=7170
-Best Friends Sanctuary at http://bestfriends.org/resources/other-animals/rabbit-information-and-resources
We have had such a great time with Casper! However, his vacation with us has come to an end. We hope he is refreshed and happy to see his adoring guests and associates at the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa!
This sweet Buff Orpington has been patiently waiting to get adopted at Ventura County Animal Services. Her name upon surrender at VCAS was "Honey Glazed". We thought that was terrible and decided she needed a new life with a new name. Welcome to the flock pretty Adelaine!
Dolly has been adopted by a wonderful family in Northern California! We were very sad to see her go. Tina and David have provided Dolly with many acres to play with mules and a miniature donkey. Tina hopes to eventually train and enjoy riding Dolly. We are excited to see what the future holds! Congratulations Dolly and thank you Meyer Family!
Casper from the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa is on vacation at our ranch! He loves to socialize with all the volunteers. Casper loves walking the grounds and greeting the other animals with Kate. We have made so many great memories; we will be sad to see him go!
Community Outreach & Education:
We had the pleasure of hosting Rattlesnake Avoidance Training by Ma & Paw Kennel! Gina and her team did a fantastic job!
Winter Wonderland was a fabulous success! We made toys for shelter pets, created Christmas ornaments, played with the animals, and enjoyed delicious baked goods. Pets Health Magazine joined us for the event and captured great memories! Our gratitude to everyone who came out to participate and support us!
Starting January 2016, we will no longer have a public location in the Ojai area. We will still remain active in the local community through rescue and advocacy. However, the majority of our animals will be relocated to a sanctuary on private property in Placer County. Kate & Jason will continue providing sanctuary, rescue services, and educational programs to the community up North.
From our family to yours, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!
(Clockwise from top left)
In February, Tesla was killed by a hawk. We were all shocked and saddened by the loss of our sweet Indian Runner. His pal, Mazerati, was very lonely and insecure without a buddy. Therefore, we went in search of local ducks in need! Butterscotch and Guinness came from a local Ojai farm that no longer needed their ducks. During that search, Three Dog Ranch donated two of their ducks. We have named them Carrera and Shelby!
In March, we picked up a little canary from Santa Barbara County Animal Services. We named the little guy Charlie. He has an abnormal feather condition and appears to be unable to fly. He also has very weak legs which cause mobility and perch issues. Dr. Bailey said that the feather condition is more an aesthetic issue and he seems to have a good quality of life despite a few minor setbacks.
Idon came to us in May because the owners needed to downsize their goats due to a residential situation. He is a big sweetheart and the other goats took to him immediately!
In May, we also began a search to take in a miniature horse in need. We had an open stall and we wanted to give Scout a companion of his own size. Irish came to us from a local home with a beautiful herd of little horses! Her owner was happy to lighten her work load and we were grateful to offer a home to such a sweet horse!
The last intake of the summer was Finnick, the little piglet. Kate saw a Facebook post on Ojai Animal Kingdom for help with a family of potbellied pigs. Finnick was one of the two remaining piglets that survived dog attacks. Concerned neighbors took in the surviving pig family and were trying to find them a home. Finnick was underweight and had never been touched. We have since brought him up to a healthy weight, castrated him, and we are earning his trust for petting.
It has been a busy summer with all of these wonderful animals!
A little over a year ago we facilitated the rescue and rehabilitation of a little lovebird that we named Fiona. She had been kept in the large aviary of a business. Her over grown beak had been severely neglected. The beak was so long that it curled under and punctured her neck causing an abscess.
We took Fiona to Moore Veterinary Care in Ventura. Dr. Moore successful surgery and beak trimming saved Fiona's life. We continued her rehabilitation with medication, frequent trimmings, and lots of love!
Fiona is one happy little lovebird now! Fiona and a mate from her previous flock are now the spoiled sweethearts of their new generous and loving owner.
Unfortunately, Rocco’s rehabilitation has met challenges that we are not able to overcome. After numerous visits to Ohana Pet Hospital in Ventura, Dr. Jill and Dr. Jan have diagnosed him with Pemphigus. This condition is an autoimmune disease where his body basically attacks itself through manifestations of the skin. Symptoms that Rocco exhibits are many oozing lesions that cause the skin to fall off. In addition to painful skin and paws, it has started to affect his mouth making it uncomfortable to eat.
Pemphigus is a disease that is common amongst puppy mill dogs which are sold in pet stores. It is suspected that Rocco was indeed a pet store purchase and his condition was probably the reason for his surrender to the shelter. Commonly, a dog lover will see a puppy in the small cage of a pet store and want to get it out of that situation. What that consumer does not understand, is that they just created the demand for another innocent victim of the circumstance. Frequently, these puppy purchases end up at veterinary clinics for multiple reasons. Some conditions might be minor, but all too often they become overwhelming health issues and financial burdens similar to Rocco’s situation.
Rocco’s wonderful foster parents, Blake & Stephanie Burgard, have made him as comfortable and happy as possible. They have worked with Dr. Jill and Dr. Jan to create a compassionate care plan for the rest of his days. Sadly, his life expectancy is only 4-6 months. During that time, his discomfort will be managed with steroids and antibiotics.
Of course, this was not the outcome that we had hoped for this sweet little guy when we first pulled him from Ventura County Animal Services. However, we are very grateful that the Burgards have decided to provide him a loving and warm atmosphere for the rest of his days. Without Rocco’s rescue he would have been euthanized weeks ago, with only the memories of his abandonment and lonely days in a shelter kennel.
While we are saddened by this outcome, it is an inspiring and critical reminder of why we need to advocate to end backyard breeding, puppy mills, and pet stores selling dogs. Both the ASPCA and the Humane Society have great web pages to educate people and provide tools for advocacy.
To learn more about puppy mills and backyard breeding visit: