How We Came To Be

My dad's friend became a paraplegic in Vietnam, and I loved getting to see him and listen to him as a kid. Also my grandfathers served in the military as well as other family members have served and are serving. I enlisted in the Army, but during basic training dislocated my hip badly, and that was that. I think I have always been drawn to wanting to help veterans, just didn't know how. Especially, those that are homeless, that is such a travesty in our great country. Now, I think I may have found a way to give back.

I have been running a private animal sanctuary with my husband David, and a handful of wonderful and devoted volunteers, that help when we need it. We have been doing this for three years, although I have been involved in animal rescue for 14 years. But there has always seemed to be a piece missing. That piece finally dawned on me Memorial Day of this year, 2015.

The animals we currently have are predominantly pot belly pigs, as well as other farm animals needing a place to go, that have been abandoned, neglected, abused, and chronically ill. We will continue to do this as space and funds allow. These animals will not be up for adoption. They will live their lives at the sanctuary in peace. And the piece that fell together on Memorial Day, is our organization will provide sanctuary and a peaceful and healing environment for military, military families, veterans, and help those of them that are in need.

So why combine them? I know what loving these animals has done for me, and I have watched the magic they have worked on others wounded physically and mentally. I truly believe they both can help heal each other. Many of our veterans suffer from PTSD which can lead to alcoholism and drug abuse, as well as suicide. Our animals at the sanctuary come from abuse and homelessness and many suffer PTSD. Many animals were untouchable when they first came to us, now all have come around in the peaceful setting of the sanctuary and love. Some have taken months, some years. But because they have someone to love them, they grow. We all know how much love animals are willing to give, and how healing it can be. So by allowing both the veterans and the animals to provide the other with love, safety, structure, and the resources they need, both will benefit, giving one another a strong sense of purpose, and a love that has no bounds. 

If you like what we are trying to do, we ask you to share us, stand with us, become a part of us. This goal cannot be accomplished alone. It is going to take an army. So put your boots on, and let’s get marching!

Thank you,

Mandi Tidwell