MEET THE RESIDENTS
The reason we are here. Our #1 priority is and will always be providing the best life possible for our animal family.
At Blackberry Creek, we care for a variety of:
Cows, pigs, sheep, goats, llamas, donkeys, chickens, turkeys, ducks, geese, dogs, cats, and more!
Below are just a few of our furry or feathery residents that call Blackberry Creek home.
Cromwell the Magnificent
Named after animal-rights activist and star of the motion picture "Babe", James Cromwell, Cromwell the pig lives up to the kindness of his namesake! Brother of Grover and Sir Andrew K Smudgecake, Crommy was one of the lucky piglets who survived in his mother's tummy as she made a heroic leap off of the back of a truck headed to slaughter. Cromwell is the most loving and affectionate of the pigs, flopping over for a tummy rub almost immediately when anyone enters the gate. He is learning how to sit for his bedtime treats and will be an ambassador for pigs everywhere as he shares his lovable personality with visitors.
Robert Waldo (Bob)
Bob was purchased by the former owners of the sanctuary property because they were raising a cow for meat and the cow kept testing fences. They got Bob as a companion so the cow would stop trying to escape and it worked. Tragically, they slaughtered the cow, and this cycle went on for years with Bob repeatedly losing his cow friends. Eventually, they stopped raising cows and got Sophie as a companion for Bob. They bred them twice to sell their babies; one of their babies was sold and the other died in a cold winter storm because the humans did not provide adequate weather protection. Bob is exceptionally forgiving and trusting of humans after all he's been through.
Barnaby currently holds the record for fastest baby to suck down a bottle! Born on a local family farm as the only baby boy in a set of triplets, he was an unwanted male who was not able to produce milk for their dairy. After being taken away from his mother, Barnaby quit eating and the couple who adopted him had to tube feed. Tired of the time it took, the man said the little goat would soon be dinner if his wife didn't find him another home. Luckily, she knew of Blackberry Creek where Barnaby will now spend the rest of his life adored by all who know him. His goofy personality and silly antics delight visitors and provide non-stop amusement to his caretakers.
Huckleberry Lemon Drop
Huckleberry and his twin brother Sunshine arrived at the sanctuary in early March of 2016 after losing their mother shortly after birth. Sweet baby Huck grew up strong and playful and will only ever know safety within the walls of the sanctuary. He is an ambassador for millions of lambs slaughtered annually around the world and teaches visitors the importance of protecting the innocent and vulnerable.
Blossom and her sister were being raised by farmhands for their own dinner table at an egg and vegetable farm in Vacaville. A friend of the owner came to volunteer for the summer and found Blossom alone and mourning the loss of her sister who had been slaughtered first. The woman began talking to her through the fence and eventually spent her lunch break with her, reading aloud from her novel and sharing sandwiches. She eventually developed such a bond with her that she made it her personal mission to convince the farmhand to surrender her to a sanctuary. This feisty lady pig (half boar and half Yorkshire White) was named Blossom because her human friend realized that love could blossom even in the most unlikely of places!
While Grover was inside his mother's tummy, she was loaded onto a truck and driven down a busy freeway toward a slaughterhouse. Knowing the time was drawing near to have her babies, she heroically broke free from her crate and jumped off the speeding truck and onto the shoulder of the road. The brave mother, later named Rita, gave birth to fourteen tiny piglets at the animal control facility. Nine of the fourteen survived and all were taken in by Animal Place in Grass Valley so they could remain safely in sanctuary with their mother, something most piglets never experience. Once weaned from their mother, Grover and his two brothers came to live permanently in safety at Blackberry Creek. Grover acts like the big brother of the group and is the most independent of the three piglets, often taking charge and leading the others to the best rooting sports around the pasture.
Sherman the Swimming Sheep
Can you imagine coming home from work and seeing two sheep swimming in your suburban backyard swimming pool? That is exactly what happened to the people who found Sherman "sheep paddling" in their backyard! Sherman was rescued by Animal Control (his friend escaped in the chaos) and brought to the local pound. He spent weeks watching the dogs at the shelter have temperment tests and play in the sunshine from the confines of his kennel, and had no other farm friends to keep him company. Luckily for Sherman a compassionate volunteer intervened and saved Sherman from being put up for adoption (and likely becoming someone's dinner). She found him a home at Blackberry Creek where he fit right in with our sheep and goat family!
Ernest James "Ernie"
Shortly after rescuing Bert, we got another call about a llama in Sacramento who was lonely and neglected. A compassionate woman saw him every day on her drive to work, and finally decided to track down his owner and see if she could save him. What she found out was saddening. The owner had purchased two llamas years ago to be "sires" for breeding baby llamas. He later decided to board horses on his land instead, and sold one of the two llamas. The other llama, whom we later named Ernie, had been left on the property with food, but no medical care, no llama friends, and very little shade for six years. He had NEVER been sheared. The owner refused to give him up, until the concerned woman finally offered to buy his freedom .By the time we got him to Blackberry Creek, we were well aware Ernie was absolutely terrified of people and had not been treated with kindness. Our large animal veterinarian, Natalie Drost, said Ernie was the worst llama case she had ever seen and had most certainly never been seen by a vet or provided adequate care. He has since been sheared, vaccinated, dewormed, united with his buddy Bert, and is finally taking food from our hands. He is a living symbol of hope that those who have been hurt and neglected can learn to trust again!
Madamoiselle Violet de Fluffy Fleur
Violet was owner-surrendered with Winnie, two other Guanacos and one other llama (who turned out to be Larry's dad) to the Stockton Animal Shelter in summer of 2016. We did not realize she was pregnant when we brought her home and she gave birth to a stillborn baby named Holly on Dec. 26, 2016 who is buried here at Blackberry Creek. She prolapsed her uterus during the birth, was immediately tended to by our vet, and made a full recovery but suffered from severe depression for several weeks. During the stall rest period she bonded more with her humans and became more comfortable around people. She didn't emerge from her overwhelming sadness until baby Llarry was born on 2/1/2017 and then was inseparable from him and Winnie, helping to raise him from day one. Violet doted on Llarry as a proud Auntie as he grew up, and she is now the leader of the llama herd. She often hops fences to visit the other animals, makes sure she gets first dibs on any and all treats, and occasionally spits at her friends if they try to steal one of her tasty morsels.
When our co-founders purchased the property to start Blackberry Creek, Sophie and Bob came with it! In her younger years, Sophie had the devastating experience of losing two babies, one to the bitter winter cold and one who was separated and sold by her previous owners. Whether because of this or some other trauma, she was leery of people when we met her, and it took many months before we earned her trust. Sophie is extremely intelligent, stoic, and sweet. She loves apples, carrots, dust baths, and most of all, Bob.
Roscoe the Not-So-Feral Barn Cat
Roscoe, the barn cat, came to live at Blackberry Creek in August of 2015. He was trapped as a stray by the local animal shelter, neutered, vaccinated, and soon after declared '"too feral" to be an indoor fellow. Eight years later and we think he may have been less than truthful with the kind people at the shelter, as he is affectionate and goofy with humans and the other animals. We call him "catdog" because he follows the caretakers on daily morning and evening chores.
Sir Andrew K. Smudgecake
Sir Smudgecake is a very fortunate piglet whose life nearly met a tragic end. While his mother, Rita, was pregnant with him and his siblings, she was loaded into a truck headed for slaughter. While speeding down the freeway, she broke free and made a heroic leap, saving not only her own life, but that of her nine unborn piglets. Rita gave birth at a shelter and was taken in permanently by Animal Place. Smudgecake and his brothers, adopted by Blackberry Creek Farm Animal Sanctuary, will only ever know a life of kindness and love from humans, something most pigs never experience in their short six months on earth before being slaughtered. These piglets will meet thousands of visitors in their lifetimes and be ambassadors for all animals society has commoditized, encouraging people everywhere to remember that they are individuals with thoughts, feelings, and the desire to live.
In March of 2016 an animal control officer conducted a follow-up investigation of a family farm in Washington, and what they found was horrifying. Thirteen farm pigs and one potbelly were living in absolute filth and experiencing unimaginable cruelty. When officers arrived, the animals were being housed in a dark, windowless barn, filled with nearly a foot of feces, mud, and debris. Dead bodies of adult pigs and piglets were visible all throughout the barn and across the property, some lying deceased next to their still-living friends.
For a long while, the pigs were forced to watch their family members being slaughtered right in front of their eyes, and pregnant mother pigs who were killed had their fetuses fed to the potbelly as his only source of nourishment. The smells of blood and death were heavy in the air. There was no food or water present during the time of the investigation and horses and dogs were also seized from the property. Many of the pigs had severe injuries or mobility issues and some could barely walk. All were immediately removed and a nationwide plea went out for sanctuaries to save these pigs from facing a second terrible fate; farmers who wanted to slaughter them at the fairgrounds or euthanasia due to mobility issues. Two of the rescued females gave birth immediately upon rescue (one in the back of the transport truck) adding to the difficulty of placing these deserving animals. In the nick of time, three sanctuaries who already had their hands and barns full of pigs, stepped up to save their lives. At Blackberry Creek, we welcomed two of these pigs into our sanctuary family, and Percival was one of them. It was a long road to recovery and though he faced some health challenges (he is permanently deaf) and emotional struggles, Percy will never again know cruelty or neglect. He will know only peace. He will know only joy. He will know only compassion. Here's to many years rooting through the woods, wading in the cool water of Blackberry Creek, and making up for lost time knowing kindness and love.
Llawrence "Llarry" Pepperpants
Llarry's mom, Winnie, was rescued in August of 2017 from the animal shelter in Stockton; her humans could no longer care for her. She was pregnant with sweet little Llarry at the time, though we didn't know it. His dad was an enormous brown llama who we tried to bring home, but he was wild and could not be caught (actually trampled Danielle when trying to get a halter on him...scars to prove it)! Instead of Winnie and Daddy Llama, we took Winnie and Llarry's aunt Violet. When Violet had her stillborn baby our vet decided to go ahead and treat Winnie as if she was pregnant too (she couldn't tell) and was able to give her all the supplements she needed to keep her and Llarry healthy. Llarry was named after our vet and dear friend Natalie's grandfather...with an extra L added of course!
Mighty Mo Mistletoe (Mo)
Mo was born to a farmer who raised pigs for meat. His mama was only nine months old when she gave birth to him and had her babies too near to a pond. They all drowned except for Mo, whom she then rejected and would not let nurse. What seemed like a tragedy for baby Mo actually saved his life. The farmer, not wanting to bottle feed Mo, gave him away, and he ended up finding a loving home in sanctuary. Mo hit the piglet lottery by avoiding the fate of more than 115 million pigs who are killed each year for food.
Captain Goldenbeard G. Wafflestack (George)
After being homeless on the streets of Taiwan, George was saved by a rescue group, treated for heartworm, and bravely made a long flight across the Pacific Ocean to the San Francisco Airport where he was adopted by the co-founders of Blackberry Creek. The veterinarian who treats him in the US believes that he lost his back leg in a trap which he tried to chew out of, breaking off both of his bottom canine teeth. George now has a cozy bed, a loving famiy, a dog friend, and will only know love and joy for the rest of his life. He visits an elderly home and inspires those who have disabilities with his courage and gentle heart.
Wrigley B. Thunderbear
Wrigley is a Great Pyrenees and Anatolian Shepherd mix who we rescued in July of 2021. He was raised as a livestock guardian dog and is absolutely wonderful with all of the Blackberry residents. When we met Wrigley (lovingly nicknamed Big Wrig), he had not seen a veterinarian since he was a puppy. He was not up to date on his vaccines, had a double ear infection, and his right ear went left untreated so long that his tympanic membrane (eardrum) had burst leaving him mostly deaf in his right ear. His nails were extremely long and the fur on his belly, neck, chest, bottom, and back of his legs was so matted that we discovered he had some bacterial skin infections underneath. He also had a large wound on his right ear and was terrified of coming into the house. After an initial vet visit showed an abnormality in his blood we returned for more tests and learned he also has Lyme disease and was heartworm positive. He also tore his ACL while playing with some children shortly after rescue and during the surgery the x-ray technician found he had torn his ACL in his other back leg years ago and it had never been treated, leaving him in pain for a very long time. Wrigley has come a long way since coming to Blackberry Creek and is now in excellent health. He is incredibly affectionate, sweet, loving, and protective. Our gentle giant who we are so honored to care for.
Sugar Plum was rescued in November of 2018 from a rural Utah slaughterhouse along with 99 other turkeys. She was destined to be killed, like millions of other turkeys, at only 5-6 months old so humans could eat her flesh for Thanksgiving, but thankfully she was saved by the kindness of activists who spoke up for her.
Sugar Plum had never gotten to be outside, see the sky, or feel grass beneath her feet. She is now one of our oldest turkeys at Blackberry Creek (along with her sister, Snowball), and at 5 years old they’ve gotten to experience much more of life than the 46 million turkeys killed for a holiday meal each year in the US alone.
Sugar Plum is sweet, independent, loving, strong, and a beautiful testament to how resilient these amazing, sentient beings can be. She loves watermelon, blueberries, and relaxing in the shade under her sail shade in the summer months.
Helen Sturkie Wonder Turkey
Helen was rescued from a hoarding situation in the Bay Area where she was starved and kept indoors her entire life. She had a severe foot infection called Bumblefoot in both feet upon intake and was hospitalized at Medical Center for Birds in Oakley. Over the course of the next year, she was in and out of the hospital and on a variety of antibiotics before finally having full surgery on her right foot. She has made an amazing recovery, and though she will always need special care, she has a beautiful life here at the sanctuary with sunshine, a soft, warm bed, a predator proof habitat, delicious food, other turkey friends and lots and lots of love.
MacFarland the Highland Cow
On April 6th, 2003, a tiny baby Highland calf was born to his beautiful mother. Being a Scottish Highland cow (or "coo" as they're known in Scotland), his mother was used by a farmer to produce babies year after year. Her babies were taken from her so they could be sold at auction to be raised for anywhere between 1-3 years for their tender, highly sought-after meat. When her body was no longer able to continue birthing calves, she would be slaughtered herself.
Tiny MacFarland was one of her babies, and was taken from his mother shortly after birth and brought to a livestock auction to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. He was led into the noisy auction ring and paraded around like a product to be purchased. Luckily for tiny MacFarland, along with ranchers and meat producers in the crowd, there happened to be a kind woman named Tina…who had stopped by the auction tent at a market while on a cross-country roadtrip with her friend.
Quickly falling in love with this tiny baby and realizing what would happen to him, Tina decided to purchase him herself that day. With a strong drive to suckle milk from his mother, and no mother in sight, he began suckling Tina’s finger. He sucked so hard, he pulled off her wedding ring and nearly swallowed it! From that moment on, Tina was smitten.
With the help of her friend, Tina loaded fuzzy baby MacFarland into the back of her van with her dogs who were accompanying them on their road trip. With a car full of dogs and a fuzzy baby cow, they drove home to California, completely changing the trajectory of MacFarland’s life.
MacFarland lived with Tina for 16 years in the grassy hills of Vacaville, bonding with the cow herd next door. Eventually, the neighbor cows disappeared and Mac was left by himself in the pasture. He mooed and mooed, crying out for his friends and only satisfied when Tina was out in the pasture to keep him company. Not wanting to adopt another cow, Tina decided to find MacFarland another home where he could live out his senior years with other cattle for companionship. She found Blackberry Creek and we welcomed him into our small herd of three…a Jersey cow named Maple, a Holstein steer named Duncan, and finally a fuzzy Highland friend. He had a 20th birthday party in the spring of 2023 to celebrate his life and the beautiful opportunity he had to grow to old age…a chance most cows never get.
Finn was born on a local farm that raised sheep for wool and meat. Born a triplet, he was rejected by his mother, as sometimes happens when sheep feel they can only care for two, rather than three, baby lambs. When the farmer didn’t want to bottle feed him around the clock, our veterinarian stepped in to save his life and bring him to live at Blackberry Creek where he is treated with the kindness and respect he deserves. He is such a goofy boy, marches to the beat of his own drum, and LOVES food. Pretty sure this chonky love muffin would eat 24/7 if we let him.
Poppy was dumped at a pond in the foothills and left to fend for herself. When discovered by a local wildlife rehabber she had lead poisoning, wounds all over her back and head, and was severely emaciated and dehydrated. Because of the tremendous support of our donors and the incredible veterinary staff at Medical Center for Birds, Poppy made an incredible recovery after several weeks of intensive care. She now lives at Blackberry Creek with her best friend, a disabled duck named Puddles.
Lady Winifred of Thistleshire
Winnie was owner-surrendered with Violet, two other Guanacos and one other llama (who turned out to be Larry's dad) to the Stockton Animal Shelter in summer of 2016. We did not realize she was pregnant when we brought her home and she gave birth to baby Llarry on February 1, 2016. She was a doting, wonderful mother and still adores Llarry and is often found spending time with him.
June (aptly named after the character in the Handmaid’s Tale series), was rescued from an egg factory in California when she was “spent.” This industry term refers to when 1.5 - 2 year old hens’ bodies start to fail because they have been forced to lay nearly 300 eggs due to selective breeding for human consumption.
Hens in the wild, just like all birds, would only lay eggs once or perhaps twice a year to have babies. Today’s egg laying hens live in almost universally deplorable conditions and nearly all White Leghorns, June's breed, have broken bones from depleted calcium as a result of their bodies trying to produce hundreds of egg shells.
June and her four friends (Moira, Emiliy, Alma, and Janine) came to us with another common issue however. They lived in a factory, packed tightly together with other hens on wire-floor enclosures. Some of their feet must have gotten caught at one point and several of them had toes mangled or completely ripped off. They had many bandage changes and pain meds and all made a full recovery with lots of care and attention.
These rescued hens are shy yet confident, gentle and intelligent. There’s no greater reward than seeing individuals who have never been outside step on grass or see the sky for the first time. Your donations allow us to help her and so many like June her who are still waiting to be saved.
Big Mike's story is a difficult one to share. He was being sold at a local feed store with other chickens and pigs when a concerned customer noticed something wasn't right. She contacted Animal Control who showed up at the property and found hundreds of dead and dying birds in a back room along with piglets who had been kept in such stressful confinement that one of them had her ears bitten nearly all the way off. The surviving birds (and pig) were rescued and the owner of the store went to trial, but unfortunately got off with only a slap on the wrist. Big Mike was a courageous survivor and experienced things no individual should have to endure. He may be little at only 0.5 lbs, but he is a BIG advocate for chickens and educates people about how their legal rights are practically non-existent, not even being labeled as "animals" in the Animal Welfare Act.
One early spring morning a tiny Holstein calf named Duncan was born at a dairy farm. His mother lovingly licked his face, his ears, his back and helped him up to take his first steps. He wobbled on shaky legs over to nurse from his mother, to drink the vital first milk called colostrum, a tiny amount of thick milk full of all the antibodies his tiny body so desperately needed to protect him from infection and give his immune system a strong start in life. Before he could stand steady enough to nurse, Duncan was grabbed under his arms and legs by the farmer, who put him in a wheelbarrow and carted him off to a tiny igloo structure surrounded by a small pen. His mother bellowed and cried for him, trying desperately to free herself and go to him. He was given a bottle, but missed his mother desperately, crying out to her loudly and incessantly. His mother was led to the milking parlor where she was hooked up to machines that stole the milk made for her baby so humans could drink it instead.
The tiny baby grew bigger but was not allowed to run, play, or interact with other cows. The farmers said he wasn’t allowed to exercise his muscles and he was deprived of iron in his diet so that his flesh would become the softest veal people could consume in restaurants. He drank his bottles and paced around his small enclosure, always searching for his mother, always crying for her.
Then, one day, a little boy came with his family and paid the farmer $100. They walked up and down the row of babies and stopped in front of Duncan’s igloo. They pointed at him, loaded him in their car and drove him home where he became a part of their family. It turned out, the little boy had learned about the dairy industry and the common fate of male dairy calves, unwanted by the industry since they would never grow up to produce milk. He had asked Santa to save a veal calf and allow him to care for him, and Santa delivered…bringing a certificate on Christmas morning to rescue a baby calf in the spring.
As he grew older and bigger, the family realized Duncan would be happiest in the company of other cows, and they found a local farm animal sanctuary where he could live out his natural lifespan in peace. Now an adult steer well over 6 ft tall and 2,000 pounds, Duncan enjoys his cow friends, his favorite food…bananas, and is an incredible ambassador for both mother cows and calves who are victims of the dairy industry.