Nestled on four acres in Aldergrove, the Happy Herd Farm Sanctuary is a place of harmony, farm owner Dianne Marsh said.
Just this year, tourists and celebrities alike flocked to the farm to witness a vegan utopia where animals are treated as friends, not food.
But the animal sanctuary is no stranger to the spotlight.
“We’ve been on TV a lot,” Marsh told the Aldergrove Star.
Most recently, the farm welcomed E-Talk host Chloe Wilde in October during filming for Crave TV series Healthy is Hot.
In September, a special guest from Riverdale also asked for a tour.
Marsh, 69, leads groups through the homes of each of her animals, divulging the eccentricities of each member of her 60-animal crew.
On Saturday, visitors from Toronto frolicked with the pigs, Bif Naked and Monroe, scratching their pink bellies and watching them fall to the ground from belly-rub bliss.
Marsh strives to make visitors just as happy as her animals, letting them learn at their own pace.
“We strive to be positive. We do not condemn people for eating meat. We try to teach them something while they are here,” Marsh said.
She told the story of 750-pound pig, Lucy, the first animal Marsh took home as a small piglet, who now sleeps with donkey-friend, Baby, and pig, Betty.
Just a few years before taking in Lucy, in 1999, Marsh and her husband Stephen Wiltshire sold their 20-acre property in Campbell Valley and bought four small acres in Aldergrove.
“It was supposed to be my retirement space,” Marsh said.
“We were planning to travel in our spare time” and care for a few pets, she injected.
But with more than 60 animals in 2020; many who require around-the-clock care, feedings, and cleanings, Marsh’s retirement plan has been foiled.
Instead, she’s found a new job, one that makes her truly happy.
Luckily, word has spread about the farm and more than 50 animal lovers and friends have joined in to help out with daily care, offering Marsh and her husband a break.
Volunteers think of farm as ‘therapy’
Langley couple Kylie Alfano and Kevin Hardwick – both vegan – have volunteered at the sanctuary for just over two years now.
Saturday afternoons Alfano takes to feeding the animals in their respective groups and Hardwick cleans the goat’s outbuilding area.
“This is our therapy,” Alfano said, amidst a squealing chorus of pigs and goats anticipating their next meal of avocados and other nutrition.
“They know that we’re compassionate enough to give them a few drops of food before their turn,” said Alfano, pointing out a duo of squeaking ducks.
“The animals are so happy,” she said.
“That’s what makes this place so happy.” Their enjoyment and freedom is contagious, Alfano said.
Ailing animals find Happy Herd after the worst of circumstances.
From being locked into a broom closet, battered, and malnourished, to being auctioned off for meat – individuals and agencies all over British Columbia know who to call.
It wasn’t long ago when an RCMP officer called Marsh after he had confiscated two mother goats from a man who had stuffed them into a broom closet.
Happy Herd gladly took them in.
The moms, now named Puddin’ and Smudge, have blended their families in a fun-filled enclosure which they share with a few cuddly chickens.
The rest of the sanctuary is home to several turkeys, ducks, cows, hens, sheep, pigs, dogs, cats, and a donkey.