'Every year is a milestone': Tiny Hooves Sanctuary celebrates 9 years of saving animals

NOW: ’Every year is a milestone’: Tiny Hooves Sanctuary celebrates 9 years of saving animals

RACINE COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) – Spring and summer is an exciting time for everyone, even our four-legged friends.

An animal sanctuary near Union Grove has some events planned to celebrate their very special residents, and the volunteers that keep things running.

Out in Racine County's farmland, you can find a haven for hooves, big and small.

"We have cows, horses, mini horses, mini donkeys, a mini mule, farm pigs, potbelly pigs, goats, sheep, ducks, geese, chickens, pea foul, and pigeons," said Beca Thompson, founder and president of Tiny Hooves Sanctuary.

In all, Tiny Hooves houses 178 animal residents.

Some are rescued from the animal agriculture industry. Others, from neglect cases, animal controls, owner surrenders, even strays from the streets.

"Just the city of Milwaukee alone, we've taken in five stray goats and sheep from them in the last year," Thompson said.

Thompson founded Tiny Hooves Sanctuary in 2015, after years as a vegan and working in animal rescue.

"I learned that the animals with the least amount of rights are farmed animals, and it kind of sparked my interest for the rest of my life," Thompson said.

With just two full-time employees, volunteers and fundraising efforts are the sanctuary's backbone.

More than 55 volunteers come to the farm each week.

"The majority of our volunteers are animal care volunteers, and that consists of feeding, watering, and providing clean living spaces for our residents," Thompson explained.

The sanctuary started with just eleven animals. Over the years, it's grown exponentially.

"Community involvement has increased every year allowing us to be able to grow," Thompson said. "Whether they're vegan or not, everybody loves animals, and we can all connect with them on a very base level."

This May is Tiny Hooves Sanctuary's 9th birthday.

"Every year is a milestone for us," Thompson said. "We're a non-profit in a world where non-profits aren't doing so great. So, we celebrate every goal that we reach, we celebrate just being here."

The hard work deserves celebration, so they're hosting a public party at the farm on May 18.

"Visitation with the animals, we will have food for sale, drinks for sale, all supporting our fundraising efforts, as well as games and music and lots of fun," Thompson said.

It's a way to honor how far they've come.

"Tiny Hooves is literally every part of my body and soul," Thompson said. "This milestone is huge to me in knowing that I've been able to get the organization to the point where it's sustainable without me, which is everything a founder wants."

The birthday party is one of many events at the sanctuary this summer.

Public tours start in June, and special volunteer workdays will be held once a month.

"We work on special projects during the summer months, where that can be anything from new fencing, to working in our organic garden where we grow produce for our residents, and so many more things," Thompson said.

Tiny Hooves is always looking for more volunteers to join their efforts.

Whether you're working or playing, Thompson believes the animal residents bring a special connection and a sense of peace to every person they meet.

"I think it reconnects their soul, I think it grounds people, I think it provides a safe space for those that aren't able to compute the rest of the world," Thompson said.

Click here to learn more about Tiny Hooves Sanctuary.

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