It sounds a bit like the plot of a movie: give up that 9-5 job and open a petting zoo instead.
For one woman in Indian River, Ont., that potential movie plot is a reality. Pamela Christie opened the doors to the family farm when the pandemic affected her career in the beauty industry.
“It was always something that I wanted to do,” said Christie, the founder of Pammie’s Sanctuary. “I want to show people this side of the animals. Dogs and cats always get the recognition for wanting that love, but these guys need it too.”
Now, they are getting a lot of it, especially since you can book a time to visit the farm.
“We thought maybe we would have four or five families a week,” Christie said. “But we are so busy we have been having about 40 to 50 families each week.”
She said they have safety protocols in place to keep the animals and visitors safe. You need to book online first and sanitize when you arrive.
It all started with two alpacas, two years ago and now the extended family has grown to more than 70.
“I have chickens, goats, ducks, alpacas, mini horses, pigs, a llama,” Christie said. “So many animals get traded and sold and this is just a safe space for them.”
Christie said she hopes visitors will build lasting connections with the animals.
“When you see the kids come in and see their reactions to all of the animals and see the animals react to them, it is just wonderful,” she said.
She also wants to educate visitors, with facts like this.
“Alpacas are cousins to the camels and the llamas, but these guys range from 150 to 170 lbs fully grown,” she said. “None of them have teeth on top and they are really clean animals. They actually share a dung pile so they wait in line to go to the washroom.”
If you’d like to book visit to the farm, you can find Pammie’s Sanctuary on facebook or give her a call at 705-768-6663.