Ahboga had told me about this cool place called SAFE in Austin. It’s a truly heartwarming story of a family with big, big hearts who saves abandoned and often disabled animals, and then when they are ready, pairs them with humans often with special needs themselves. What ends up happening is pure magic, healing in the way that only unconditional love can.
Visiting isn’t as simple as just showing up. This ranch is the family’s home, so they don’t maintain regular business hours; instead, all visits outside of public days are by appointment. The kids didn’t have school on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and coincidentally SAFE had a public day on that day. What a great way to spend MLK Jr. Day, a day honoring a man who represents a great love for unity and peace for all, by visiting SAFE, a place of great love uniting and healing both humans and animals.
At first, the girls were a little intimidated. My girls are, at their core, princesses; getting dirty or smelly is not really their thing. And well, this is a ranch. You’re stepping on poop everywhere. And animals are coming up to you all the time, hoping you might impart a little food (distributed by volunteers throughout the ranch who show you how to feed the animals). So while they weren’t exactly throwing their arms around goats and pigs, they eventually started to warm up and didn’t mind getting their hands licked when feeding some of the animals.
We met so many characters at the ranch. We met a dog who had issues swallowing food, so at meal time, he would be positioned upright in a volunteer-built wooden box. We met a pig who had gotten attacked by dogs as a wee piglet and both hind legs were now paralyzed. There were abandoned horses, paralyzed cows, goats with no hind legs, birds who escaped abusive homes … quite the crew!
I think one animal that really stole our hearts might have been Tulip. Ms. Tulip is a goat who had to get her rear legs amputated. She could scoot around with just her front legs. But what was really special was when they got her outfitted up in her wheelchair. What an amazing sight to see her just zip up and down the ranch like it wasn’t any trouble, as if she was going to say hi to all her other animal friends. While we made our way to all the different stops at the ranch, we would keep crossing paths with Tulip, her energy seemingly bottomless but even more so when equipped with mobility.
The public day was listed as lasting for 2 hours. I think this was a good amount of time where you didn’t feel rushed, you got to go to each station and hear volunteers tell the story of the animals in that particular pen, and stick around and love on the animals either by petting or feeding if you felt like it. At the end of 2 hours, the girls felt ready to go, not like, “Ew, I can’t wait to get away from here”, but more like, “OK, we’ve seen just about all we could see” and “Maybe we can visit again another day!” So glad they felt the love. <3
Connect with SAFE in Austin Rescue Ranch –