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Tenderly

Animal Rescue

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In Germany, rescued cows are finally getting the respect they deserve — and now they’re movie stars, too

Former dairy farmer Jan Gerdes at his sanctuary. Photos provided by Hof Butenland

Jan Gerdes was a third-generation dairy farmer. He took pride in his work, for a while. But then he started to feel torn, about the work that for so long felt perfectly normal, then began to feel the opposite. He was burnt out, and in 2002 Gerdes decided to sell off his herd. But when the day came to send the final twelve cows to slaughter, he just couldn’t do it. Instead, the farmer was compelled to keep the lucky dozen, and offer them refuge at what would become Germany’s first cow retirement home.

“As a dairy farmer I was…


L: Stitch on his back, looking skinny, his eyes bugging out of his head. R: Stitch on his back, plump and grumpy looking.
L: Stitch on his back, looking skinny, his eyes bugging out of his head. R: Stitch on his back, plump and grumpy looking.
Stitch before and after his rescue. Photos provided by Sophie Marabile.

Stitch the hedgehog was neglected and malnourished when…


In the midst of the pandemic, two orphaned fawns in need provided a way to feel useful and connected to the natural world

Photos courtesy of Angela Pham

Rescuing an animal can bring us far more than the satisfaction of helping another living creature. The experience offers an opportunity to connect with ourselves in meaningful ways. As this story illustrates, consulting with qualified wildlife experts is always crucial and makes “happily ever after” much more likely for our furry friends.


My border collie spent six years locked alone in a farm shed. Now, he is fulfilling his destiny (with the help of my rescued chickens).

Murf in his portrait shot. Photo provided by Geraldine Murphy.

Murf was a “failed” sheepdog. In Ireland, failed sheepdogs don’t live long. Usually they are taken out behind a barn and finish up with a bullet in the head. Farmers have a different view on animals than someone like me. For farmers, animals are there to work — whether it is producing milk, producing offspring, herding cattle, protecting property, or killing rats.

But strangely, Murf wasn’t dispatched into the next world. Instead he was locked away. Away from sheep and cattle, away from the other dogs on the farm, away from people. …


Photo provided by Animals Asia

Animal sanctuaries are facing new challenges in the wake of supply chain disruptions and social distancing due to COVID-19

As the novel coronavirus began its destructive spread across China, originating in the city of Wuhan, the staff at Animals Asia’s nearby Chengdu sanctuary started to prepare. 47 moon bears reside there, rescued from the bear bile farming industry. The ursine residents were once kept in horrible conditions, enduring painful extractions of their bile, for use in traditional medicine. For more than twenty years, Animals Asia has rescued and cared for them, providing expert veterinary services, healthy food, and protection. Unable to re-enter the wild, the bears are completely dependent on their human caregivers.

Having previously faced natural disasters, including…


I’m glad we could save Ellie, but I can’t stop thinking about all the chickens we left behind

Devon and Ellie the chicken enjoying a beautiful Spring evening. Photos: Mansi Bhagwate

The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love. The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.

— Psalm 145:8–9

A day before Easter, I went with my animal rights friends Ellie and Devon to do an impromptu rescue in Philadelphia. There are at least six live animal markets in Philly. Live markets are places where vendors slaughter animals upon purchase by customers. Chickens are most commonly sold, followed by ducks, pigeons, quails, and rabbits. Some places even sell goats, lambs, and calves. Birds and rabbits are kept in crowded…


Sanctuary Stories

Remy was terrified of humans after her initial rescue, but now she loves to play and snuggle

Photos and videos provided by No Dogs Left Behind

In the midst of these turbulent times, Tina Peters is grateful that there is increasing attention on the cruelty inherent in the global animal trade and in China’s outdoor slaughterhouses. Peters is the vice president for Beijing-based animal rescue group, No Dogs Left Behind. The group, founded in 2016 by American Jeff Beri, specializes in emergency response evacuations of dogs from wet markets and other parts of China. As much of the world copes with the COVID-19 pandemic, and focuses on the virus’s possible origin in a wet market, Peters says Pandora’s Box has finally been opened. …


Photos: Zinara Rathnayake

At the Elephant Transit Home in Udawalwawe, Sri Lanka, most elephants receive short-term rehabilitation. For Namal, it’s home.

On a sunny March morning in the southern plains of Sri Lanka, dust cakes the withering foliage surrounding Udawalwawe. This hamlet-turned-tourist-town brims with locals and foreigners, thanks to a national park in the vicinity. At nine in the morning, Namal is awake. He plays with his male friend, Hamu. I learn they are the same age — nine years old. But a set of thin wires separates them and marks their boundaries. The reason: Unlike his friend Hamu, Namal only has three legs.


When do vulnerable nestlings need our help, and when should they be left alone?

Photo: Free-Photos/9091 via Pixabay

All baby animals are fragile. But to many, baby birds in particular seem vulnerable. They typically hatch naked, with eyes closed, peeping helplessly. They appeal to our instincts to nurture the defenseless. Unfortunately, while many do their best to help, there are many misconceptions about baby birds and the best way to help them. Before trying to do something with good intentions, it’s important to first be sure you aren’t causing more harm than good to the bird.

One of the most common problems people encounter when trying to help young birds is misidentifying them as birds that belong in…


Yes, even if your dog is friendly

Photo: JamesDeMers via Pixabay

The reaction I have when I tell someone to please not approach me with their dog varies from anger to hurt. Some assume I am uptight and don’t want my dog to get dirty having a good time; some feel like I don’t understand the nature of their pet. “She’s friendly!” I’ve heard many times called from an owner being dragged by a happy-go-lucky Lab or Cocker Spaniel. But…my dog isn’t. No matter how hard I try. And she’s getting better — with reactive dog training (in a sense, doggie therapy for the dog attacks she experienced as a puppy)…

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