Ryan Axon, Animal caregiver, Charlie's Acres Sanctuary. Sonoma, CA.
I'm motivated not only by a desire to provide a safe and healthy life for all the animals under my care, but also by a desire to educate others regarding their culinary choices. Current food culture largely favors an animal-based diet. This fosters an environment that condones large scale animal cruelty and consumption of products that can have dire health effects for humans.
My first intake at the sanctuary was Betty. She came to us when she was 10 weeks old. She had been stepped on by her mother and wasn't getting a chance to feed with her brothers and sisters. Normally, this would have been the end of the story. Betty would have been written off as the runt of the litter and left for starvation to take its course or slaughtered on the spot. Luckily, a kind soul saw fit to intervene and took Betty home to nurse her back to health. I was fortunate enough to be on site for her intake and I was taken with her immediately. Rambunctious and curious with an endless spring of energy. We were just recovering from the fires and had lost our outdoor areas which meant confinement to the barn stalls. To make sure she was still getting exercise, her and I would go on three daily walks around the property. I would take her out to the creek and let her forage for acorns and roll around in the mud. She's too big for the harness now, but we still have a fantastic bond that I'll forever cherish.