The experience of stopping by Sunrise Animal Sanctuary in Marysville, Ohio, is like having pages of E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web come to life.Goats at Sunrise Sanctuary

Behind the house, which provides shelter for dogs, cats, rabbits, rats, gerbils, chinchillas—and the occasional duck—are three barns that house a variety of farm animals. While it appears that one barn is specifically for the turkeys and chickens milling around outside, you may find a pig hiding under the stairs taking a snooze. Wesley, a giant cow, blocks the doorway in the large back barn.

In front of Wesley stand several goats, one of which is happily chewing on a car parked next to the barn, proving that goats really will eat anything. A group of sheep lounge to the left of the barn, observing the antics of the roosters and ducks that are clucking and quacking nearby. Inside the barn behind Wesley are two horses with some serious attitude, as they typically have free reign of the pastures, but today are being groomed. Also inside are two llamas and a donkey named Roscoe.

In the pastures graze two miniature ponies that are currently being trained to serve as therapy horses.

Sunrise Animal Sanctuary is a haven for farm animals in need, providing a home where they can live long and healthy lives. Director Mindy Mallett started the organization 13 years ago as a project born out of passion and purpose.

“I was always bringing strays home, even as a kid in Brooklyn, New York,” Mallett said. The habit continued when she moved to Columbus in 1996.

“There are really no protective rights for farm animals,” she said, so she made it her mission to create a way to fight for them, as well as provide a loving shelter.

In addition to working full time at an assisted living community, Mallett lives and works on the 16 acres of land with the animals, ensuring there is someone to look over the sanctuary 24 hours a day. Volunteers are always welcome to visit, assist or donate. There is a lot to do around the sanctuary, and it is important to give the animals, each with their own story, the proper amount of food, shelter and love.

Some, such as Wesley the cow, were saved from becoming food. Others, like Randy the pig, were found by caring people who reached out to Mallett so the animals could live a long and happy life. The majority, however, were brought to the sanctuary as owner surrenders.

Sunrise Sanctuary currently houses over 170 animals. While she wishes she could take every animal that needs help, Mallet recently has had to start saying no. With the small farm getting close to capacity, much focus is placed on providing each resident with the proper care and treatment they deserve.

In addition to volunteer opportunities, Sunrise Sanctuary also hosts a variety of events to help raise funds, raise awareness and just bring people together for a good cause. For a list of opportunities, events and donation needs, please visit their website. Of course, nothing beats coming out to visit with the animals, so plan a trip to experience the real life Charlotte’s Web for yourself! – Morgan Polovick