All animal sanctuaries probably started because the founders love animals. Even so, not everyone has the training, or acumen, to run a non-profit corporation as a business. And no matter how much we all love animals, a 501c3 is a business, and must be treated as such. If not, the animals will suffer because they will have nowhere to go if a sanctuary goes under.
When I look at the websites of other charities I want some information to help me decide if I want to support their efforts aside from the obvious…their Mission Statement. I want to know who founded it, who is running it, and where the facility is located. Simple questions/simple answers, right? But, it’s not always obvious. We, on the other hand, want to make it clear, from the beginning, who we are and what we want to accomplish.
Anyone can post beautiful pictures and animal stories on the Internet, but really, who are they and why should you follow their progress (or ours) on social media? Or volunteer with them or us? Or send them (or us) money?
We at LFAS will tell you something about ourselves, the Co-Founders, and why our passion is to raise awareness about the treatment of animals, especially the most under-protected animals, farmed animals. We have taken responsibility for several animals who were “unwanted” before they came to us and we passionately believe every one of them is an individual deserving of love and protection.
My name is Tracey Jackson Soucy and I am the President and Co-Founder of Loving Farm Animal Sanctuary. My husband, Bill, and I co-founded LFAS in 2015. At the time we were living in South Carolina, but we wanted to set up our sanctuary in our home state of California (we were homesick) so we had a lot of work to do. We needed to sell our farm in South Carolina and to transport our beloved 2 horses, 1 farm pig, 6 dogs and 5 cats to California where we would buy a new farm for our animal sanctuary. Just getting 14 of our rescued animals 2,700 miles is a story in itself!
Bill and I have been married for almost 28 years and have been together for 30 years. I brought my best friend, Tyrone Tabby Cat, into the relationship. Tyrone and I had been alone together for a few years before we met Bill. Bill immediately liked Tyrone, and vice versa, if that had not been the case…well…it would have been bye-bye Bill! No, seriously!
Bill still works full-time in the solar energy industry. Evenings and weekends he is the sanctuary handyman, animal caretaker, and all-around good guy.
When we married in 1989, Bill’s son from his first marriage, Justin, came to live with us and we all decided the family would not be complete unless we also adopted a dog. So our journey to having our own animal sanctuary began with Mickey and Tyrone. When we found Mickey we just knew she was Mickey The Wonder Dog and that’s what we called her. Mickey was the best dog one could ever imagine and lived to be almost 16. But then, most people think their dog or cat is the best! As it should be!
Wait! Please indulge me while I go back to the real beginning. A lot of you can probably identify with what I am about to tell you.
I grew up in a tumultuous and unpredictable alcoholic household…like a lot of people. I was the “invisible” child, the one who never really fit in. So I identified more with animals than humans. Non-human animals are kind, they don’t have hidden agendas, they are completely honest, they love without conditions. I never understood why adults and most children didn’t feel as I did about animals. I was more drawn to animals than other children. I also never wanted to play with dolls. I didn’t idolize singers, or actors, or famous people. I wanted stuffed animals to fill my bedroom and cover my bed. I wanted books about animals, and posters of animals, and most of all I preferred being around live animals to being around people.
I never felt comfortable around other children. Even though I was a good student and athlete I always felt like an outcast and I couldn’t wait to get home to my dog, Molly, and my horse, Chico. We would go out on the trails, Molly and Chico and I, and be gone all day. This was during an era when kids could be out alone and nothing bad happened to them. Well, there was one time…one really bad time…but that’s another story.
Let’s just say human interaction from the time I was a child was never easy…and sometimes traumatizing…especially in my own home. Except when I was with Molly and Chico.
When a child grows up in a volatile and confusing alcoholic household, and feels invisible, pets and animals can be the only safe, trustworthy friends.
Growing up in Southern California I always felt like a “weirdo.” I wasn’t outgoing and gregarious like my mother, I wasn’t “cool” like my brothers. I was more like my Dad. My dad was an introvert but he was super smart. My way of finding peace, besides being with my animal friends, was to read. Reading, and my Dad’s love, were what saved me through those very difficult years.
I got good grades and I was athletic but I was not a “joiner” so I didn’t play on any sports teams or join any clubs. I lacked confidence, and stayed pretty much to myself, so I was perceived as being “snobby.” I was too tall, too thin, too quiet. I have felt like an outsider my whole life.
But now I have a wonderful reason to be an outsider! Now I am proud to be a “weirdo.” Because I am vegan. No joke. Our society does not make living a vegan lifestyle easy. I was a vegetarian for 30 years and it was not difficult, but once I gave up dairy and eggs, it became very hard. Not hard to stay true to what I believe is my moral obligation…it became hard to eat a meal, and even find a snack, when I am outside my own home.
Veganism is not a religion or some kind of cult (no matter what omnivores and animal agribusiness say), and it’s not complicated. Being vegan is basically being a vegetarian who doesn’t consume dairy products or eggs. Well, there’s a lot more to it than that…it’s really about non-violence toward any species…non-human and human alike.
I’ve been vegan for a few years now. I feel terrible I was a vegetarian so long and not a vegan because the dairy and egg industries are cruel beyond most people’s imaginings. Being vegetarian was easy…being vegan…not so much…but I am completely and utterly committed.
Society makes vegans out to be “odd.” Every advertisement we see, especially on TV and in magazines and newspapers, glamorizes and normalizes the brutalization of animals.
You think I’m wrong? Try noticing how many times a day you see an ad in a magazine or newspaper, a poster, a billboard, a sign, hear a radio ad, or watch a TV commercial and they show animal flesh or animal by-products (for example, cheese, cheese and more cheese)…like it’s nothing. Like it’s normal to see a carcass or raw flesh everywhere we look. Is it really OK as long as it’s not a person?
Just imagine if it was a human’s flesh you were seeing or a human’s milk you were drinking. Puts a whole new slant on it, doesn’t it?
For those of us who hate to see these images everywhere we turn it is a difficult world in which to feel comfortable. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t want to fit into that kind of world. Every day, much of what we see, much of what we hear, tells us we will be happy, and fit in, if we eat animals and their by-products. Especially milk products from cows and goats and eggs from chickens.
Here is what I care about…If I can ease the suffering of even a few of the billions of defenseless, voiceless animals raised for slaughter then I am proud of who I am and what I am doing. It never feels like enough…but it’s all I can do…for now.
Do you hate bullying? Treating anyone as “less than?” Acting like someone is invisible or unimportant? People who think they are superior just because they have money or power?
I cannot tolerate bullying. Bullying of any kind. If a person “picks on” a child, or an animal, or anyone who is “different” I want to kick some serious metaphorical butt, but it’s always best to start with words not fists.
No one…and I mean no one has the right to make anyone else feel bad or sad or in emotional or physical pain just because they can. It’s mean. It’s evil. It’s wrong. And any of us, any of us, who stand by and do and say nothing when a wrong is being committed is complicit in that wrong.
I am baffled by anyone who wants to hurt someone (human or non human) just because he or she can. I won’t stand by while anyone is being bullied. I will always stand up for the helpless, and the voiceless, and I am completely committed to leading by example.
We are located in beautiful Paso Robles, California. Tours are by appointment only. Visit our Facebook calendar for the next volunteer day or open house.
6060 Vista Del Paso
Paso Robles, CA, 93446
To educate the public and influence change on compassionate treatment of animals and the environment, by encouraging a plant-based lifestyle. To protect and care for farmed animals, and senior cats and dogs, who have been neglected, abused and abandoned.
Financial gifts are always welcome. We are a 501c3, all donations are completely tax deductible.
Our 501c3 number is: 47-1018772