A new ritual has developed at our sanctuary and it is something we call ‘Bedtime Snack Time’. After all the residents have been fed their dinner and we as a family are done with ours, we gather up a large basket of fruits and vegetables. We are usually joined by our girls, always accompanied by our 3 dogs and often, the 3 cats. First, we pick fresh carrots from our garden and watch our bunnies devour the greens of the carrots. As much as they love the carrot part, the greens are irresistible to them. Next, the chickens are given corn frozen in a block of ice, or whatever table scraps we have left from dinner. As we head out to the barn, we stop and call the sheep who are usually resting in the run-in shelter. When they hear us and see the carrots we are holding, they come running! The sheep really enjoy their nightly carrots and will bah for more if they are still hungry. Then off to the barnyard! As soon as the minis see us headed their way, Yang will let out a loud neigh to which we tell him “we love you too!”. We also will hear a boisterous bray from Susie as if she is reminding us to not forget about her. As we enter the gate to the barnyard we are greeted by Yin & Yang and give them their bedtime carrots. Lately we may be serenaded by Roo and Lou crowing at the tops of their little lungs! Afterward we walk back to the donkey dry pen to a chorus of oinks from the pigs who have spotted us. The donkeys are given their apples and turned loose in the pasture so they can spend the night protecting the sheep. They both sure do love their juicy apples! Susie, our mother donkey, can finish hers in 2 bites while Gerry’s little mouth needs quite a few bites to finish. Finally, it is time to make it down to the pigpen, usually with some kind of melon. As we walk down the path towards them the oinks get loader and they become beside themselves with excitement. We break up the melon into 4 equal parts to make everyone happy and watch as the smaller pigs, Pooh Bear and Wilbur, take the first pieces. Wilbur will take his piece and hide on the other side of their house while he eats. Pooh Bear takes his bounty and head to the back of the pigpen but will often do a few victory laps proudly displaying his piece in his mouth for all to see. Next up are the big boys, Rocky and Creed. Rocky will step up and devour his piece wherever he is standing while Creed usually will not eat his piece as he is our finicky boy. Some nights he is all in while other times he will play with his food and not eat. All 4 have such unique personalities and it is extremely enjoyable watching this all play out.
This is how we spend our nights now, serving bedtime snacks to the lucky residents of our sanctuary. And as excited as they all are when they see us coming, I feel we are the lucky ones. To get to see them being themselves, enjoying their lives and thanking us in their own unique ways, it is all very rewarding.