The initial journey to Uplands PEAK was picturesque. I made my way o’er hills and dale with what I hoped was functional enough work wear, fresh vegan foods, and a blank slate ready to be written upon. I didn’t have many expectations upon my arrival. I anticipated plenty of hard work, the opportunity to observe beautiful animals in a natural habitat, and a chance to try a vegan diet for almost three months. This I got and so much more.
I have gained much throughout my experience interning at Uplands PEAK. First and foremost, knowledge; during my tenure, I have learned much about animal care, animal behavior, and the individual personalities of PEAK residents. If there is a gap in a fence or gate and there are leaves or crumbs or grass on the other side, Nemo will stick her head through it. Andy is a very thorough pig and will make sure he and his comrades leave no food behind after feeding. He even goes to each bowl and makes sure it is nice and clean. Tulip is one of the sweetest animals you will ever meet – though Nemo is a close second. Benny is one of the most relaxed animals you will ever meet – unless there are treats involved. Neck scratches are a favorite of almost all goats. William loves minerals more than anyone else. Pigs love to cuddle whether it is nap time or bed time; you can almost always find Brandi and Erica together and Lucy and Tulip are a twosome. Brandi is the boss but will graciously yield to her older brother Isaac’s judgment. Vegan loves hay so much he will do a happy dance when it is brought out. Vegan also loves a good ear cleaning. These are just some of the behavioral and personality traits I was able to witness from the amazing animals here.
Second, physical strength; pushing a wheelbarrow loaded with hay, animal droppings, straw, wet hay, rocks, wood, or some combination of the above has toned my body in ways few gym memberships would have. Raking and sweeping also do great things for the arms, by the way.
Third, the power of caring. Two people started Uplands PEAK and cared enough to make a move which has resulted in the rescue of 14 happy animals, the vegan conversion of at least one intern, and the spread of important information about farmed animals. PEAK is growing and is living proof that individuals can make a difference. Just as one person going vegan can save 100’s of animals a year, two people with loving hearts can make a difference for many animals and people in this world.
Finally, being an intern here has made me believe, taught me, that for every person who doesn’t care or consider, there is at least one person who does. Whether it is about the animals of the agricultural industry or the means to the end of the arrival of meat on their plate, some are ignorant, some are indifferent, but others are outraged and heartbroken and they are doing what they can to contribute to awareness and beautiful refuges like Uplands PEAK.
By Emily Grant