Animals with nowhere else to go are welcomed with open arms at the Gress Mountain Ranch in Lehigh County. Volunteers play the part of caretakers. Recently, Rob and Wendy pitched in as part of our Anchors Away series.
All creatures great and small have a place at the Gress Mountain Ranch in Orefield.
"I call it God's heaven on earth,"said Kathy Gress, the ranch's founder.
Adele Fagin says the ranch uses the animals for therapy for other adults, and young adults with emotional challenges.
On a sunny afternoon when Rob and Wendy set out to earn their volunteer stripes, the first order of business is meeting the gang.
Miss Ellie is the plow horse, the pot-bellied pigs are Pearl and Leroy piggy. The guinea pigs in the house are Winnie and Guinea.
Stanley the llama needs a little extra TLC. "So, it's territorial aggression, slash berzerk syndrome, people call it different things." said Kathy.
Masks are helpful when making the acquaintance of the alpacas. Rob wore a spitting shield.
Better keep an eye on your shins, too. Alpacas can kick. But, volunteers can go without the body armor while giving out the goods in the goat pen, or playing pied piper to the pigs.
Wendy felt a connection with Leroy. She says the pigs love her.
It doesn't take long to learn that every animal at Gress Mountain has a story to tell. The beginning of that story is often sad. Most of them have been abused. But it's the ending that counts.
Kathy said, "Our mission is taking care of these animals from the time that we get them, all the way until they do pass away."
The ranch's volunteers are there every step, gallop, and waddle of the way.
If you can't donate your time to Gress Mountain, you can help out by making a monetary donation.
You can check out the ranch's website at www.gressmountainranch.com
The ranch's address and phone number is:
3264 Highland Road Orefield, PA 18069-2606 (610) 398-2122