November 2012

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The story of Heartland begins in a much more subdued setting. It was 2009 and Barre, a stay-at-home mother of two, was feeling restless. So, she simply started "looking for something to do." A long-time animal lover, Barre was nat- urally drawn to the idea of being involved with animal rescues. "I've always had a desire to protect the most vulnerable," Barre explains. In the process of becoming involved in the local animal rescue network, she met and learned of many animals in need of homes, including two baby goats. "The owner [of the goats] was a breeder who wanted out of the business," she ex- plains. Based on her research, Barre knew that the options for sheltering or re-homing farm animals were extremely limited. So she made a decision: She'd build her own shelter for rescued animals and the baby goats would be her first residents. A new conviction solidly in place, Barre began pooling resources to keep her idea afloat. The outpouring of support fore- shadowed the many donations of space, time, and money that have helped make Heartland the growing organization it is today. It began when a local farmer agreed to loan Barre the use of an old chicken coop, which housed the goats. With her fingers still on the pulse of local animal rescue ef- forts, Barre soon acquired two sheep in need of a home. The animals were moved 58 BRAVA Magazine November 2012 from the chicken coop into a stall with a paddock. As Barre began to get the word out that she could house homeless animals, and more made their way to her farm, she knew she had found her calling. Later that year, she was invited to attend Camp Pawprint, a series of week-long educational events for children of different ages held through the Dane County Hu- mane Society. "I brought the baby goats," Barre recalls, "and I watched how the children's faces lit up when they saw them." Witnessing the intense way the goats captured the children's focus and the joy it brought to them sparked an idea—Heart- land could be about more than animals. It could also be a sanctuary to help children and others in need. It was a realization that, for Barre, struck a deep, personal cord. In the course of her life, Barre and her family have overcome a long stream of emotional hardships. Their stories are al- most hard to fathom. Yet, they've provided an undercurrent of motivation for Barre to help others. As a young child, Barre was sexually hood, her whole family history was full of formative ups and downs, Barre says, ex- plaining how her mother was no stranger to hardships of her own. A victim of molestation by a family In addition to the trials of her own child- member and abandoned by her mother when she was 8, Barre's mother went on to live the remainder of her childhood at an orphanage. As an adult, she struggled with depression and anxiety, yet was de- termined to provide a different experience for her children. "She created a much more loving home for our family than she'd had," Barre ex- plains. "She was an incredibly generous woman who taught me to treat everyone with respect and kindness." The momentous struggles her father endured also made an imprint on Barre's outlook. "When he was 3 years old," Barre re- counts, "he lost his arm and part of his other hand in a farming accident. He al- most died he lost so much blood, but the doctors managed to save him." Because of this experience, Barre says her abused. Without delving into details, she speaks frankly and intently as she de- scribes the impact it had on her. While the sense of isolation the experience provoked often made her feel alienated from others, she was able to bond very closely with ani- mals, who provided simple affection and emotional support. father possessed a strong drive to overcome obstacles—a trait she credits to her own work ethic and abilities. The spirit of her parents' lives—both models of reinvention and second chanc- es—seems to underscore Heartland's mission. "Despite my parents' troubles," she as- serts, "I feel they prepared me to create

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