After receiving a call from a concerned neighbor, Geauga County’s Sheriff conducted a wellness check and found Sharon, who needed immediate medical attention due to Covid-19 symptoms, was found on the floor of her home, where she had collapsed three days earlier. Only the visits from her concerned dogs caused her not to give up hope. Emergency personnel took Sharon to the same hospital where her husband Frank was also being treated. Their farm animals, 60 domesticated barn animals, including goats, ducks, sheep, chickens, rabbits, and three house dogs running loose, were left with nobody to care for them. The sheriff’s department contacted Rescue Village, and Humane Officer Christian Courtwright went to the farm to investigate.
With the couple now both in the hospital and with no emergency contacts, Officer Courtright and Rescue Village’s Executive Director Kenneth Clarke created a plan to help Sharon and Frank as much as possible while protecting the couple’s property rights. Officer Courtwright spent the weekend feeding and caring for barn animals, and he visited Sharon in the COVID care ward on two occasions. She was relieved to have Rescue Village’s help, which included the organization taking temporary custody of the dogs to feed them and protect them from the winter weather and potential accidents such as being hit by a car on the road. Frank and Sharon spent weeks in the hospital, and sadly, Frank eventually passed away. Sharon rallied, and while she was recovering, Rescue Village and the community came together to find solutions.
Sharon knew she would no longer be able to continue caring for the farm animals without the help of her husband and so she surrendered most of her animals to Rescue Village. A kind, nearby farmer purchased her sheep for above the asking price, knowing she could use the extra money. The rest of the animals were taken in by Rescue Village and Rescue Village’s partner, Happy Trails Farm Sanctuary. Rescue Village animal care staff got busy bringing the other farm animals to the shelter. Chickens, rabbits, geese, and goats were settled into their new temporary homes, and appointments were scheduled with vets in our network specializing in farm animals. Mama goat, Rose, was just one of the animals on the farm, and her baby, Olaf, was doing just fine. We discovered two other baby goats only 2-3 days old in severe distress after being rejected by their mother. One of them passed away, and the other one, Bennie, was close to death and starving.
Bennie needed bottle feeding around the clock, so Rescue Village’s staff member, Carla, took him home every night. Bennie and Olaf were finally weaned and thriving, and within two months, both were adopted. Mama goat Rose was the last to be adopted because of a severe infection that almost cost her life and caused her to go temporarily blind! We noticed she had difficulty breathing after updating her on her vaccines and getting her hooves trimmed. Everyone was very concerned, and our medical team spent many days monitoring her closely and providing medication. After a great deal of testing, we were relieved to find out that Rose was negative for diseases that would have caused her to be humanely euthanized.
Eventually, her breathing issues subsided, and she did better each day and eventually recovered her sight. Rose was adopted and is enjoying her new home with other goats and farm animals. Recently, Sharon stopped at Rescue Village for a surprise visit to personally thank Rescue Village for all the help she and her animals received. “Without Rescue Village’s help, I don’t know what would have happened to our animals,” she said. She was so relieved their animals were well cared for and would thrive in their new homes that she insisted on giving Rescue Village a donation. This story is just one example of the hundreds of humane investigation calls Rescue Village receives every year and how our staff provides humane solutions for animals and their people.