Non-Profit Animal Sanctuary Seeks Donations to Help Provide Animal Therapy

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“My kids and I moved here maybe a year and a half ago after I had left my abusive husband,” said Heather Cooper-Reay, co-owner of Farm Critter Haven. 

“And when we got here, it really changed our lives.”

After moving in with her mother, Heather Cooper-Reay not only saw a chance to help her and her family, but a chance to help others who found themselves in similar situations.

“I thought I would help other survivors out there,” said Cooper-Reay.

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For 20 years, Farm Critter Haven in Egg Harbor Township has been where Cooper-Reay’s mother has been rescuing and nursing animals back to health.

Since moving in, Cooper-Reay and her three children have been getting their hands dirty and helping run the sanctuary.

“The animals have their own mind,” said Icyss Reay, Heather’s daughter. “Becky will come right up to you and give you a hug. She’ll come, sit down, and make this little purring noise; she loves to be pet.”

After seeing the impact that the dozens of animals on her mother’s farm had on her and her children, Copper-Reay is starting to work towards expanding the sanctuary’s reach, in hopes that she can work with other people and programs to provide a therapeutic approach to those who need it.

“We’re more going to be focused on just maybe working one-on-one with the Women’s Center, or maybe even working with special events,” said Cooper-Reay.

She hopes they can offer free classes to support victims of abuse, with things like yoga, music and art therapy.

Currently, the family runs the farm out of pocket money, and now is an official 501 (c)(3) nonprofit. They are looking for donations to help future visitors and all of their critters.

“We have to follow township rules just like everybody else, so we have to watch who else we take in, but we hope to rescue more people and more animals along the way,” said Cooper-Reyes.

Cow, mini-horse, pig, or chicken, the animals are said to be great with humans, offering a different type of emotional support.

“They love, they’ll be sad,” said Icyss. “They can be angry sometimes too.”

To donate and help the future of expanding to help victims of abuse, visit the Farm Critter Haven’s Facebook page.

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