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Aged Farm Animals Put Out To A Very Nice Pasture

JENNIFER LUDDEN, Host:

Vermont Public Radio's Charlotte Albright has this report from the Mountain View Farm Animal Sanctuary.

CHARLOTTE ALBRIGHT: It all started with a donkey named Emma.

M: She was a little, tiny baby - just barely born.

ALBRIGHT: This is Jeff Ruggles, chief caretaker at the sanctuary.

M: And they expected her not to make it. She's 8 or 9 years old now, and she's a sweetheart. Everybody loves Emma, and Emma loves any kid that'll come around.

ALBRIGHT: Caretaker Ruggles says that's all over now.

M: They have everything they need. They don't have to worry about being hurt. They don't have to worry about being killed or anything. They're here, and they'll be here until we have to put them in the ground.

(SOUNDBITE OF A GOAT)

ALBRIGHT: Ruggles loves to show off the refugees, like this curvy-horned, salt- and-pepper-colored goat named Buster.

M: He came from an abused home. They never took care of him. His toenails - oh, really, really bad. His hooves were almost like, four inches long. And it took us almost a year to get his feet back into shape.

ALBRIGHT: On this frigid, sunny day, the menagerie - about a dozen animals - welcomes a newcomer: an old horse brought from a nearby resort. She's too shaky and infirm to tote tourists around.

M: Easy...

ALBRIGHT: If it weren't for this refuge, Atwood tells caretaker Ruggles, she might have had to say an even sadder good-bye.

M: I said, well, I'd rather see her put down than see her go to a bad place. She won't go to a bad place. I won't let her. And she's not.

(SOUNDBITE OF LAUGHTER)

M: No, she's not.

M: I got my way. So I'm happy.

M: She's in the best place she can dream of.

ATWOOD: Yeah, I think she is.

ALBRIGHT: For NPR News, I'm Charlotte Albright in East Burke, Vermont. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Charlotte Albright lives in Lyndonville and currently works in the Office of Communication at Dartmouth College. She was a VPR reporter from 2012 - 2015, covering the Upper Valley and the Northeast Kingdom. Prior to that she freelanced for VPR for several years.