by Pam Owen
Hello avid readers of Big Sky Ranch’s column! This week is a long overdue introduction to the Sanctuary’s COO (Chief Operating Officer). Sasha can be found hard at work supervising, greeting and thinking in shaded areas.
I will take over from here. I am a remarkable looking German Shepherd that was re-homed to the Sanctuary a few years back. My age is …well….a lady never reveals her age and I will ask you not to inquire! Rather than moving on, Andy (Head Gatekeeper) took a shine to me, and it was quite clear that the feeling was mutual. So I stayed! I also realized early on that I would need to help out around the place and so settled in to the position of Official Greeter. When visitors arrived, I was first in the parking lot to wag and say hello. I continue to greet folks, but am slowing down a bit and may not be the first in line to welcome you.
Besides being the Greeter, I also am the sounding board for Andy to run his ideas past. He has wonderful ideas, and I help make the important decisions. We can often be seen sitting together, or walking around the pens and enclosures, making important choices of what needs to be done and when. We also discuss the well-being of the animals. This is where I really help out. I walk the area every morning, check-in with all the critters. The horses are a fount of info and often see situations from a different perspective. When they share with me, I pass on the important stuff. Then I stop in to visit the goats. Most often, they are doing silly things like bouncing around on their structures, or trying to climb trees; but they do have their moments of seriousness and will stop and chat for a bit as they pass along scraps of info to me.
After dropping in on horses and goats, I take a break, usually in a nice shady spot where I can mull over what to pass on and what to keep to myself. I check in with Andrew, (Gate Keeper in training) and see what he is up to – working with some of the volunteers and doing the repair and building jobs that keep everything at the Sanctuary looking great and working even better! He passes on the meaningful things and I am off again on my rounds. I look in on the chickens, ducks, and other smaller creatures. They are a source of gossip and love to pass it along. Sometimes useful and often interesting!
Another break, this time a longer one, usually in the office with Andy at his desk, I can relax a bit and rest behind his chair until I feel the need to get up and do another walk-about. When Andy is done with his office work, we head out together for another look at the activities of Big Sky Ranch. He stops and visits with visitors and checks in with some of the many volunteers that help us around the Sanctuary. While Andy is doing his thing, I am observing from a shady spot somewhere in the yard. A nice spot, where I can keep a paw on the pulse of activity here. The cats come over to drop off their intel (cat word for intelligence gathered). For some reason, (perhaps they watch too many James Bond movies), they fancy themselves Secret Agents. They do have stealth on their side,. but often give themselves away when they come out for attention and pets. Often they do pick up important information, such as which fences need a quick repair, or a door that doesn’t quite shut.
Finally, this COO can have lunch (if Andy or the volunteers share). If not, I get fed again at supper. Then, a well-deserved rest, perhaps a full-fledged nap! This is when I do my best thinking. Behind closed eyes, nice quiet location, and I can come up with quite the list of information to pass along to Andy. I will almost always get up for visitors, but, sometimes, the day has been just too hectic and they can come to me in my office. Always up for a friendly hello, a drop in for a chat, and a nice pet is welcomed. Please feel free to visit all of us here at Big Sky Ranch Animal Sanctuary. It is spring, finally, and we look forward to lots of visitors. Please visit the website for info www.bigskyranch.ca. Also, a big thanks to all of the many folks who ran fundraisers, contributed and continue to drop off funds to help keep us fed and sheltered.