By Jan Parrish, Volunteer
For several years, the #1 wish on my Bucket List was to visit and volunteer at The Oasis Sanctuary. Being a native of rural New York State it seemed to me that Benson, Arizona was on another planet. Then plans fell in place! On Sunday, March 9, 2014 I arrived at the sanctuary for a five day adventure.
I was greeted by Executive Director, Janet Trumbule. She graciously welcomed me, taking me on a tour of the facility. Finally, I could see and was present in the place I had only enjoyed in pictures and articles.
A world of feathers greeted me…accompanied by many bird sounds and a few resounding “Hellos”. I was also introduced to other rescued critters; chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, goats, horses, a guineafowl and four adorable guard dogs. It was delightful to see that a pond had been created for the waterfowl, all shaded and refreshing to all of the fowl. How much fun to watch them enjoying life… being who they are.
I was able to work half the day on Sunday, helping to close the sanctuary for the night. From then on my days were busy, working 8 hours with cleaning, feeding and learning security of cages and pens. I worked with different staff members of all ages and various backgrounds, all animal lovers and true
caregivers. Everyone was very helpful and friendly. They extended a lot of patience and skill toward me as I slowly was exposed to the daily routine. I experienced the very dedicated and professional way each staff member embraced their various tasks. What a joy to journey alongside them.
My days were full of activity and learning, having daily exposure to all the protocols of running a rescue facility. Evening came and found me tired but content, ready to enjoy my private bedroom and bath. Sleep came early.
Best of all, I learned a new meaning for the word “sanctuary” – Dictionary definition: “A place where someone or something is given shelter, a safe place”
My revised definition as influenced by The Oasis Sanctuary: “A safe place that gathers and keeps what our world would cast off. What our world would see as having no value, this place would treasure and nurture. A place of kindness and tenderness, a secure loving place to belong. Provisions for the healthy, sick, disabled and abandoned alike.” All this explains “sanctuary” to me.
The caregivers are skilled in what they do. The labor is demanding and continual. I felt privileged to be among them, even for a brief time. Having enjoyed my adventure to the fullest, the whole experience is a treasure.
I returned home a richer person…having experienced my dream come true and gained many new loves to remember and cherish.
Thank you to The Oasis Sanctuary and all the staff members. I’m hoping for another visit.