Annette is 59 years old, a freelance architect from Hamburg, now living near Potsdam. Ten years ago, she established herself and her family in an old house, which she renovated herself and turned into a beautiful sanctuary for animals. Her passion, as an architect, is to turn old and semi-abandoned houses into something new, and her passion as a human being is animals and their feelings.
I got involved in this project through Work Away, where I discovered Annette's farm. She's a single mother taking care of two daughters, the house, farm, and around 50 animals. Since 2015 their hosting Workawayers from all around the world. A little help is always needed with the animals, the vegetable garden, and everyday tasks like cooking, improving the stables, and cleaning. All animals were rescued from the slaughterhouse, violent situations, and carelessness.
The three dogs, for example, from Italy, Russia, and Germany, were all suffering semi-abandonment and beating up. The geese were bought right before Christmas instead of ending up in the oven. Chickens were taken from an intensive animal farm, and all twenty sheep belonged to an alcoholic farmer who couldn't take care of them. Two boars living at the end of the forest were rescued after their mother was killed by a hunter.
In these few days at Annette's farm, I learned so much. First, how to take care of the animals: the "work time" is only in the morning, dedicated to feeding the animals, cleaning the stables and walking the dogs. I never experienced life farm, and it was a beautiful experience.
But most importantly, I learned empathy toward the animals. All these animals I have taken care of should be already dead. These fifty new friends I have cuddled, taken care of, and kept me company would not be here if not for Annette's love and understanding of animal feelings. The most important lesson I have learned here is a new understanding of animals. Even though I have been a vegetarian for almost ten years, I never had the opportunity to live with animals and care for them in the first person. Now I have experienced how smart, and loving animals can be, not only dogs which we are more used to but also chickens and goats for example.
If you have a couple of spare weeks if you want to support in first person a small reality fighting for animal rights, or you want to reconnect with nature and animals in the countryside, visit the Muckeles' farm website and have a chat with Annette.
Your help is needed!