What do Hamilton the pigeon, Becky the pig, and Lester the sheep have in common?
They are among the newest residents of 400-acre Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Poolesville, Maryland — and the Greg Fund has made its newest grant to support their care.
This week, during one of the weekly volunteer shifts I’ve been doing since 2016, newly arrived Hamilton the pigeon decided to welcome me by spending 15 minutes perched on my head! I’m by no means the only person who has received this Hamilton treatment: he first attracted attention in Washington D.C. for repeatedly landing on people, and was turned in to City Wildlife. That organization decided that Hamilton was too imprinted for safe release in the city, and transferred him to Poplar Spring. Now, in addition to perching on human staff and volunteers, he also enjoys periodic goat back rides!
Becky the pig was named after a University of Maryland veterinary technician who arranged for her transfer to Poplar Spring. This pig girl was originally purchased from a biotech company for a UMD research project, but then grew so large — over 200 pounds by six months of age — that she couldn’t be used for the study. Thankfully, UMD decided to release her to sanctuary — and after a few days at Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center for spay surgery, Becky the pig came to Poplar Spring this week to begin living a wonderful life with the other 50 pig residents.
Lester the lamb came to Poplar Spring in April, after rescue from a sheep farm in Maine. At one month of age he had injured his leg, but the farmer did not treat it — and so part of the leg literally fell off. Thankfully, many people came forward to save and transport Lester to Penn Vet’s New Bolton Center, where he was treated for an infection that fortunately was not life threatening. Since arriving at Poplar, Lester’s care has included fitting a custom prosthetic leg that allows him to run and jump with the other sheep!
Greg and I became Poplar Spring supporters in summer 2010, after co-founder Dave Hoerauf took time from his demanding work schedule to give us a private tour. Because the year 2010 was so significant in my relationship with the sanctuary, I decided for my birthday this month to organize a Facebook fundraiser with a $2,010 target. Thanks to almost 40 friends, I met that target — and then matched it with an equal donation from the Greg Fund, which means Poplar Spring is receiving a total of $4,020 to help cover the cost of caring for Hamilton, Becky, Lester and their 200 fellow sanctuary residents!
Poplar Spring will be hosting one of its three major annual onsite events this Saturday, July 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., as part of the Montgomery County MD Farm Tour. The public is invited to come meet the animals and enjoy hay rides and refreshments for sale; and to shop in the gift store and at the giant yard sale in the carriage barn.