It’s Thanksgiving, a day when we are encouraged to reflect on things we’re grateful for. One thing that comes to mind is animal sanctuaries.
Just beyond Asheville, NC is a very special place. And you need some good boots to get around there, because it’s on the side of a mountain. That suits the residents just fine, however. Most of them enjoy climbing. They’re goats, after all. Which is why the name of this sanctuary is Goat Mountain Ranch.
Rob is the fellow who runs the Ranch. He took over the property from his mother many years ago – he moved to the country from the northeast, she moved from the country back into the city. Go figure! Goat Mountain Ranch Sanctuary sort of happened gradually, though. Rob, a vegan and animal lover, saw a need for critters besides dogs and cats to be rescued. His unique property was just right for goats, sheep, potbelly pigs, small donkeys, chickens, turkeys and peacocks. Any medium sized animal that wouldn’t mind the terrain.
We had a wonderful visit with Rob and we got to meet some VERY cute new goat friends. The Dirty Hippy had a particular fondness for Chewy, a large Nubian goat. That’s him on the top left in the pics below. Does he remind you of Chewbacca? The other three in the pics are residents, too – that’s Noel on the left and bottom right, Katrina. Isn’t the little pygmy in the feeder adorbs? That’s Wilson!
Goat Mountain was so peaceful and scenic. The Asheville area is well known for its gorgeous mountains and breathtaking vistas. As you can see – the views at the Sanctuary were made even more spectacular by the animal residents. Mint grows wild all over the 25 acre property, too – and is regularly munched on by the goats. Can you imagine it? Goats with minty fresh breath! And – all the fresh blueberries – which grew wild there and were completely delicious – they were amazing, too!
Below is Cassidy. He’s another Nubian goat and a handsome fellow. That’s Rob hanging out with him, and the goat on the bottom left is a sweet gal named Babee – she was kind of shy.Butch (yes, like the counterpart name for Cassidy – and his actual brother!) was perhaps the friendliest goat on the mountain the day we visited. He liked having his beard scruffled and scratched! Seriously, does it get any better than scratching the beard of a Nubian goat?? The Bohemian Girl really enjoyed meeting Butch.
Ozzy was one of the potbelly pigs at the Goat Mountain Ranch. His story was a tear-jerker; Ozzy was found in a private home, severely neglected. He was locked in a dark room and had so little space to move, that he was trapped in his own feces and a carpet had grown into his body. Rob has committed a lot of TLC (and funds for veterinary care!) to rehabbing Ozzy. And it was worth it – look at Ozzy now! He can walk and enjoy fresh air and root in the dirt. When you see this little fellow out, embracing life again, it’s almost enough to make you want to cry.
Rob also has a number of rescued sheep on the mountain. It was the first time either of us had met a true black sheep in person! Her name was Darla and she was quite friendly; she even came and ate some grains from our hands. Her friend, Bella, was a little shyer and sort of hung back. Bella was beautiful, though! A few of the other sheep had recently been sheared – they weren’t as outgoing as Darla either, but super pretty gals – Lucy and Ethel, pictured on the bottom images!
If goats are the headliners at Goat Mountain Ranch Sanctuary, then Shrek the donkey is sort of like the emcee. He was with us the entire time during the tour and wow – can he navigate the mountain side like a champ. We didn’t get a photo, but at one point, he had his face in our camera bag looking for snacks! Shrek was one smart donkey, and handsome too!
Rob has lots of other wonderful residents on the mountain. Turkeys, peacocks, more potbellies. If you are local to the area of Asheville, you can apply to adopt animal companions from Goat Mountain Ranch. Rob is (rightfully) strict about who can adopt from the Sanctuary – you need to complete lots of paper work, have the right kind of property, experience with pigs/goats/etc., and generally pass muster. Oh – and these cuties below – the potbellies are Rosey and Buddy; the turkey is Henley. If you can make it to the Asheville area to visit (they are just a few miles from Asheville in Leicester) , tours are great fun! Set it up in advance online with Rob or one of his volunteers. There is no paid staff at Goat Mountain, the entire place is operated by Rob and his volunteers. Can’t get to Asheville? You can still help. You can “virtually adopt” an animal, or buy one of Rob’s vegan cookbooks or a teeshirt/mug from the Sanctuary! Donations are also perfect for the ranch – the needs and costs of feeding, vetting and homing all the critters on the mountain is considerable. Any amount helps and donations are tax-deductible.
On this special holiday, we are thankful for Rob and Goat Mountain Ranch Sanctuary. It was a wonderful time to meet Butch, Cassidy, Darla, Chewy, Shrek, Ozzy and the rest of the crew. Thanks, Rob for showing us around your mountainside and introducing us to your furry family!