FRENCH CAMP — Saturday was quite the birthday for 11-year-old Christian Green.
Describing her son as a sincere animal lover, mom Stacy Green searched online for nearby animal sanctuaries to visit when she stumbled on Harvest Home, located about 16 miles southwest of Stockton.
Not only did Christian Green see a snorting pig for the first time, he hand-fed carrots to goats, communicated with turkeys, and read a picture book to ducks.
“One of the ducks with the green head actually kind of pecked my hands and at my shoe,” he giggled. Christian proudly stated he has four dogs and five fish at home in Tracy, and couldn’t contain himself when posing for pictures with Clark, one of the friendliest goats at the sanctuary.
Reading events like the one on Saturday morning called “Duck Tales” are just one of the many outreach programs that the sanctuary hosts, said Christine Morrissey.
The nonprofit organization provides lifelong care for 200 farm animals that have been formerly abused and neglected. Each week, the sanctuary goes through 500 pounds of feed and the animals have plenty of room to roam and fresh air.
They also educate the community about proper humane animal care along with providing rehabilitation for not only the pigs and goats but birds, turkeys and chickens as well.
Morrissey brings animals to numerous Rescue Readers Club events at libraries across San Joaquin County and said more similar monthly events are planned for the future.
“We’re looking to ramp up outreach and opportunities for young people to build on literacy skills and have positive interactions with animals,” said Morrissey.
“It’s an opportunity for kids to see these guys in person and have them check out a cool place where the animals are safe.”
There are two dozen rescued ducks that reside at Harvest Home. Many come with similar backgrounds: originally bought as Easter gifts or from local feed shops, only to be illegally abandoned at public parks.
“Some people raise them and research in advance — some don’t,” Morrissey said. “Ducks prefer mud, they poop a lot — they do duck things — so a lot of people are not well suited into caring for them. They can live into their teens and 20s.”
Aside from building literacy skills, Morrissey also uses public events to educate the community on animals, like how white bread can cause digestive issues in ducks and is fatal.
She also shares back stories on the hundreds of animals that have found their way to the sanctuary. One duck has since recovered from seven broken bones suffered after being run over by a golf cart in Alameda.
“Luckily, some of these guys end up with us,” said Morrissey.
A visit to the sanctuary provided insight into the lives of these animals and helped Green’s son, who is vegan, understand what animals go through.
Said Green: “He gets it, but I wanted him to really see them, and touch them, and play with them.”
For more information on the Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary, go to harvesthomesanctuary.org.
Contact reporter Nicholas Filipas at (209) 546-8257 or email@example.com. Follow him on recordnet.com/filipasblog or on Twitter @nicholasfilipas.