Alecia is the Shelter Director at Heartland Farm Sanctuary in Madison, Wisconsin. Heartland Farm Sanctuary opened in 2010, and is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping homeless farm animals in Wisconsin, and they focus on building connections between animals and vulnerable youth in the community. Alecia has loved and lived with animals her whole life and is passionate about animal rights issues. Her favorite friends at the Heartland barn are the turkeys, chickens and roosters.
Q: If you were an animal, what would you be and why?
“I would be some kind of wild bird. I like to imagine being able to soar through the air and watch the world down below! ”
Q: How did you get into animal rescue?
“I started as a volunteer at our sanctuary. I just wanted to take care of animals at first, because it’s the most fulfilling thing to me. Rescuing animals from abuse and neglect comes along with working for a sanctuary. The need for rescue never ends, unfortunately.”
Q: How is working with farm animals different than dogs or cats?
“Every farm species has specific care needs and different health issues that we need to be aware of. It’s not always easy to find the best practices because farm animals are not valued as much as dogs and cats in our society. We do a lot of research on our own! Most farm animals are also larger than dogs and cats and require skill with animal restraint for treatments.”
Q: What advice do you have for someone wanting a career in animal rescue, specifically ?
“Become involved in volunteering for animals, especially at a farm sanctuary if possible. There are many sanctuary sites on social media that you can follow too. You may find that you can help with a rescue in your area, fostering, or transport of farm animals to a sanctuary. We need farm animal rescue support in every town and state!”
Q: What is your favorite animal to work with?
“My favorites are chickens. They are all unique in their personalities and endlessly fascinating to watch. They have their own language and interests. Each is no doubt an individual!! I love the way they get excited over treats, the adorable way they drink water, and their interest in people. Some prefer to be alone or with their chicken families, but others love people and want to be with them as companions. I have shared my office with many chickens who have sat on my desk for hours while I work, perched on my shoulder, or sat on my lap just to be close and share the day with me.”