November 2012

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Dane Buy Local Special Advertising Section It's a Wild Life How Dana Barre built a sanctuary to save local farm animals and ended up saving herself (and countless others) along the way By Kresha Gallegos | Photographed by Bobbi Petersen before there's a marked change in your surroundings. It's the never-ending land- scape of Wisconsin farms: Where county highways are shared with tractors, and bike lanes give way to horse trails. It's where deer crossing signs line country roads, family farms churn out tasty, local fare and life moves at a decidedly different pace. All told, the U.S. Department of Agri- T ravel any direction from Madison and once the city disappears in your rearview mirror, it doesn't take long culture estimated that in 2011 there were 77,000 farms in Wisconsin. Yet, in this expansive maze of agricultural lands, there are no farms quite like Heartland Farm Sanctuary. A barn surrounded by open pasture in a quiet corner of Verona, it's a nonprofit organization that fulfills an uncommon purpose: to help homeless farm animals from across Wisconsin. And it's a need that may have gone unnoticed by many, if it weren't for Heartland's founder and ex- ecutive director, Dana Barre. Barre's greeting, as she extends a wel- come to the farm, is nearly buried under a cacophony of animal bleats, squawks, and honks as her adopted family extends their own "Hello." Unfazed by the commotion of the farm, she explains the simple prem- ise that led to its creation. "People don't often think of farm ani- the rooster—shadow the staff, volunteers and visitors, while captivating watchful eyes. sanctuary for the same reason—to find a safe home—each comes with their own unique history. Some are transplants from local farms While they've all been brought to the mals as pets," she says, leaning forward to talk over the animal chatter. "There are many Wisconsin shelters for dogs and cats. There's only one like this." The sanctuary is undeniably unique. More than 40 animals roam the farm's property between loaned lands and a row- dy barn. Llamas and goats cross paths with pigs and geese while horses graze alongside sheep and turkeys. Cross-species com- panions—like Gracie the goose and Sonny and abandoned by farmers who relocate due to financial hardships, leaving live- stock to fend for themselves. Others are animals that have been lost or have fallen ill. And then there are the occasional city slickers—animals previously owned by someone in the city who realized that life with a chicken or pot-bellied pig is not what they pictured it would be. But with all the good Heartland does for rescuing these animals, side to life on this rural enclave—it's a new purpose that has emerged for Barre, and one she never saw coming. there's another November 2012 57

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