Llamas and goats and turkeys, oh my!
Hawkes Homestead Animal Sanctuary, located just outside of town in rural New Rockford, North Dakota, is home to these and many other humble creatures in need. And with the more than 6.5 million animals that are abandoned, surrendered, or confiscated each year in the United States, alone, any new organization willing to offer some kind of relief or a safe haven for these lovable critters is a welcomed sight!
Currently playing host to more than 130 animals, including dogs, cats, horses of the standard and miniature varieties, llamas, goats, chinchillas, crested geckos, guinea pigs, fish, as well as several avian breeds like chickens, geese, turkeys, ducks, pheasants, and even a parakeet, Jessica Hawkes officially founded the Animal Sanctuary in 2019, when she applied for non-profit status with the state of North Dakota.
What on Earth would make someone want to bring all these different kinds of animals into their home, you might ask? For Jessica, it was easy. Motivated by her love of animals, she began taking in chinchillas following a devastating flood in Minot, ND, in 2011. “Lots of college kids couldn’t keep theirs when they were displaced, so I ended up with nine of them,” she said. “It was about knowing how to care for a special exotic animal and taking them on because nobody else could.” And thus the idea of her sanctuary was born.
In addition to chinchillas, Jessica has taken in a rather eclectic mix of animals requiring unique attention, and her 5th generation homestead has become known as a safe place to bring all manner of curious animals with nowhere else to go. When new arrivals appear on site, Jessica and her partner, Mike Scott, who is a former professional horse trainer, take care to feed them, train them, and re-home them whenever possible. What’s more, they offer special accommodations to these fuzzy (and not-so-fuzzy) friends who have found their way to their home, and hearts, in various states of distress. Offering daily care and maintenance of the habitats created for the animals, as well as basic veterinary care, treatment of wounds, and socialization.
“Some of the animals require special care, either by species, like hand-feeding the gecko twice a week and trimming goat hooves, or by individual, like the injured gosling currently living in my bathroom for rehabilitation before going back out to the flock,” said Jessica.
As you can imagine, taking care of that many animals can become quite costly. To help support the Sanctuary, Jessica offers farm fresh eggs for sale as well as a variety of homemade jams, teas, soda/coffee/dessert syrups, foods, pet treats, and hand-knitted crafts and soaps. The Sanctuary’s pending 501(c) non-profit status also allows Hawkes Homestead Animal Sanctuary to accept tax-free donations, and any funds received are immediately put to work to update and upgrade the farmstead so as to better accommodate the wide variety of animals they care for all year long. Such animals, like Hei Hei the house chicken, and Vincent Van Goat, who surprised the Homestead when he appeared seemingly out of nowhere in May 2019, having been born in secret by another Sanctuary resident, are just a couple examples of animals who have benefitted from the special care offered by Jessica and Mike. And their doors continue to remain as open as they can be to accept even more animals with the limited resources available to them. “We are negotiating right now to take in a juliana mini potbelly pig!” said Jessical. “I’m going to name it Kevin. Kevin Bacon.”
As the Sanctuary grows, Jessica hopes to also file paperwork for Federal 501(c) status in hopes of reaching as many animals as possible. With plans to create a board of directors that includes a professional veterinarian to assist with vaccinations and offer spay and neuter services, as well as offer the best care for trauma cases and other special animal needs, a lawyer, an anthropologist, a social media professional, and a resident “barnyard animal whisperer”, Hawkes Homestead Animal Sanctuary is quickly gaining traction as a dependable retreat for wayward animals of all kinds.
“The possibilities are endless,” she said. “We want to be able to accept more animals and offer pet adoptions. We already do youth tours informally, so keeping that a part of our plan is important to us.” Other planned endeavors include internships, heritage gardening and even overnight stays for those interested in lending a helping hand and learning how the Sanctuary cares for such a wide variety of animals.
By definition, to Be Good can mean several things. GoodBulb understands this concept to mean integrity and going out of your way to do good in this world: to Be the Good. Hawkes Homestead Animal Sanctuary fits this definition to the core, and we are excited to watch as it grows to impacts lives, animals and humans alike, for years to come!
For more information about Hawkes Homestead Animal Sanctuary, or if you just want periodic updates about the mischief the goats get into, or the antics of Hei Hei the chicken, be sure to watch for their official Facebook page to get started and follow along! If you would like to make a much needed donation, please see the GoFundMe account that has been set up. And, as always, Be Good.