Thursday, April 12, 2018

Welcome to Charlie's Acres

Founder Tracy Vogt and Bella the pig

Welcome to Charlie’s Acres and our first blog post! I’m Tracy Vogt, the founder of Charlie’s Acres and second in command to Charlie the Chihuahua (the real boss). I started Charlie's Acres in 2016 after a long time dreaming of how I can best make a difference in this world, and affect positive change for animals.

I grew up in an agricultural community surrounded by a lot of farm animals. After school, it was common for kids to do 4H and FFA (Future Farmers of America), which mostly involved raising farm animals for food. Although friends of mine raised farm animals, I never had any of my own. I always loved animals, and had a hard time facing the thought of what happens to the animals you love and care for after their “time is up”. I stuck to loving my dogs and cats, volunteering at the local animal shelters and trying not to think about the fate of the other animals or the food I was eating.

In middle school, I watched the movie Babe, and besides absolutely loving the cute animals, I realized I did not want to eat pigs anymore. It’s hard to watch a movie like that, and not root for the animal heroes! This started me down a slow journey of cutting out different types of meat from my diet, eventually going vegetarian and then vegan.

Charlie Parker "the Boss Lady"

After years working in the non-profit world and starting a fitness/travel business, I realized I needed to follow my true passion, which is to work to improve the lives of animals. My husband and I purchased a property in Sonoma, CA with the intent of starting a farm animal sanctuary that can not only rescue a handful of animals, but also help others meet these lovely animals. I believe that the key to creating a more compassionate world is to educate and expose people to those they might not normally know.


Charlie’s Acres began with my first pig, Gertrude, who was rescued from an evacuation zone in a southern California fire. She had a burned back hoof and suffered from smoke inhalation. She was taken to a local shelter where no one claimed her. She seemed like a perfect first pig to rescue. When Gertrude first arrived, I was completely intimidated. Here was a couple hundred pound animal I didn’t have experience caring for, looking to me to provide for her and keep her alive!

Gertrude didn’t seem to notice my uncertainty, and instead seemed relieved to be somewhere safe and ready to begin her new life. Through a lot of mentorship and help from others in caring for Gertrude, I learned a lot. She is now living the life every pig should lead with plenty of space and friends to live with, a healthy diet, and the freedom to live out her life until a natural death without fear of ending up on a dinner plate.

Shortly after taking in Gertrude, I started receiving calls to take in other animals (a lot of pigs!), and slowly started populating Charlie’s Acres with animals with varying degrees of unfortunate backgrounds. From abuse, to abandonment, to escaping backyard butchers, factory farms, and laboratory testing facilities, all these animals have had some level of trauma in their lives that is hard to imagine.

My goal is to not only provide these animals with their best lives possible, but also to remember their friends and families that were not so lucky to make it to a sanctuary, and show people that these animals can be just as wonderful, smart, and personality filled as our pets in our lives. My hope is that visitors to our website, social media pages, and eventually our property, will walk away with more consciousness and concern for the animals they encounter, the food that they eat, and move the needle towards a kinder world.

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