The Sanctuary

Hello! Thank you for taking the time to visit our page to learn about our work. While we have your attention, let’s begin by telling you about Pablo (or Pablito, as he is known to his friends), the sweet, affectionate little white lamb. You know Pablito’s type – he’s one of those beings that inspires so much tenderness that you just want to hug him.

Sharing Pablito’s story will help you to understand what we do at the sanctuary, why we do it and who we do it for. We are pretty sure that, once you have learned more about Pablito, you will love him as much as we do.

pablo en vet01

Pablito at the emergency vet shortly after his rescue by Wings of Heart. As you can see, he was just a baby, but had already suffered so much in his short life.

In 2015, terrible floods swept through Zaragoza. In those floods, vast tracts of land were inundated and thousands of animals in farms in the region died. At just a few weeks old, Pablito managed to survive this horror, albeit with a broken leg.

For many of the farmers, the only value placed on the lives of those thousands of animals was monetary. With focus on the potential insurance claims due to the farmers as a result of this catastrophe, the value of the lives of the thousands of animals who died – drowned, starved, beaten or stabbed – were reduced to financial calculations to extract the maximum compensation possible from the tragedy. Little thought was given to the animals who drowned in the freezing water while trapped in cages and buildings; locked shut so their struggling and attempts to free themselves were futile.

Rather than go to the aid of the surviving animals, many people took them, slaughtered them and consumed their bodies at the dinner table.

Fortunately, a small group of people thought differently and went to try to save animals that had survived. Thanks to these people, Pablito was saved from certain death.

When he was found, Pablito was alone, searching for his mother and friends, who were piled up in a mountain of corpses not far from him. That Pablito managed to survive the flood was incredible – he was one among thousands of others who were not so lucky. When he arrived, with his leg dislocated and with a serious infection, we took him to the Veterinary Hospital.

Before we continue with Pablito’s story, we want to tell you a little more about the sanctuary where he came to live: Wings of Heart…

Our Mission: To save the lives of as many animals as possible

Our mission as an animal sanctuary is to provide a safe home for farmed animals that are not provided for by most animal shelters. In addition to caring for the animals, an important part of our work is making visible and public the cruel reality that these animals have suffered in the past. This is why it is vital for us to not only work to rescue and protect the animals themselves, but also to promote a vegan, compassionate, respectful and supportive approach to life to ensure that we are playing our part in tackling the root cause of the problem.

Wings of Heart Sanctuary was founded in 2011 with the vision that we continue to pursue each and every day: to save the largest number of animals, both directly and indirectly, possible and to make public the stories of the animals’ past lives of mistreatment, abuse and exploitation.

With this in mind, we are focused on two practical approaches in order to help animals.  Primarily, we act as a sanctuary for animals used in farming, rescuing and giving a home for life to all the animals we can. In addition, we have a far-reaching vegan outreach and education programme which seeks to educate our supporters and the wider public on the reality of the farming industry and its treatment of animals. We believe that promoting veganism is a fundamental part of our work in striving towards animal liberation.

We firmly believe that the personal stories of the animals we rescue, those of real victims with a name, a face and an individual personality, are the most powerful way to reach people. And, in turn, we believe even more firmly that animals need us NOW and that we can fight for a future without exploitation and cruelty to animals; doing everything possible for the animals that today can be saved from the terrible life to which humans condemn them.

Our work in the Sanctuary itself is to provide shelter, healthcare, nutritious food and high standards of animal welfare. In short, our role is to provide a second chance to animals rescued, usually from the food industry or other forms of animal abuse, abandonment or cruelty. At the sanctuary, we provide a home to animals of different species such as pigs, bulls and cows, sheep, goats, donkeys, horses, chickens and chickens, turkeys, wild boar, ducks, geese and rabbits. Each and every one of these species of animal are exploited on a staggering scale globally.

Wings of Heart Sanctuary has now rescued over 300 animals from abuse and exploitation and works to share our hopeful message of respect, commitment and compassion towards all animals. We seek to encourage people to all they can in their daily decision-making to truly embrace animals and their right to live without suffering.

Learn about the project

The purpose of animal sanctuaries such as Wings of Heart is to build a space where animals who have been exploited and forced to live in deplorable conditions, can live in freedom with their welfare needs met. In turn, in sharing the stories of these animals, and encouraging people to get to know them as individuals, we can show that all animals want to live their life and be happy; a concept we accept for humans and commonly-kept companion animals such as cats or dogs, but one we rarely accept for those animals exploited in farming.

For this we need a space, facilities and a team of people to care for the animals and accommodate their needs, taking into account differing needs between species and individuals.

Consideration must be given to the size, space requirements, quantity and type of food, behavioural cycles, specific requirements and resources required for sick or dependent animals, access to water to bathe and play, open grasslands for exploring and enjoying, exercise areas, suitable housing and bedding, suitable transport vehicles… the list goes on.

To save more lives and for our residents to become ambassadors of those who will not be lucky enough to be rescued by a sanctuary, we face the constant challenge of requiring more space and constantly improving our buildings and facilities.

A bull, a horse or a pig need large indoor spaces as well as pasture. They require clean, comfortable places to sleep and they eat a huge amount. Vegetables, fodder, specialised feed etc

On the other hand, the hens need specialized facilities to be able to carry out their daily activities (sand baths, grass, sleeping spaces and appropriate substrate) as well as, much of the time, intensive care and attention in their rehabilitation. Many hens arrive at the sanctuary in terrible states of health. Hens are exploited on farms, far beyond the limits of their strength, either to produce eggs or to gain a lot of fat to later be slaughtered and turned into meat. In addition to the widespread practices of mistreatment, cruel transportation, and violent management, they often suffer from early and sometimes chronic ailments due to selective breeding to express particular genetic traits.

For this reason, one of the fundamental aspects of Project Wings of Heart is to consider the development of the shelter as something dynamic; an entity which always needs to be able to grow and respond to the increasing number and differing and changing needs of animals under our care.

Each and every decision that is made in the Sanctuary is informed by this vision: to house as many animals as possible I the best possible conditions.

Why do we do what we do?

For us, the animals we rescue are our life partners, our patients, our responsibility. They are the sole motive for us to fight, and we believe that whatever we do for them will be scarce compared to what they deserve. And this is the reason why we struggle every day with all our strength for them. Because animals have no voice, and we must speak for them and protect them.

Every day we strive to improve, to learn, to be more and more effective for them, to rescue, care for and speak for them.

Wings of Heart was founded in 2011 and we currently provide shelter to more than 300 animals. Each of them has a terrible story in their past, and with the help of those who support us, we can bring back happiness and tell that story to the world.

We devote all our efforts to rescue, shelter, the healing physical wounds and rehabilitation of emotional “wounds” to as many animal victims as possible.

The situation of animals in our society is dire. Considered “property”, they are cruelly exploited, tortured and killed. There short lives are often full of pain, misery and fear.

Animals coming from farms and slaughterhouses have no safe place in our society. The plan for these animals was that they would be born, live a short time and then be slaughtered to be turned into meat or when their reproductive systems were no longer producing enough young to warrant keeping them alive. Those who formulate the laws have not stopped to think that these animals feel in the same way as a dog, a cat or as us humans. In our culture and society the laws do not try to protect these animals because they are destined to turn them into things, to die in a slaughterhouse, with their body becoming canned food or shrink-wrapped meat. This is one of the reasons why it is so difficult to save animals victims of animal exploitation and for which places and projects like Wings of Heart are so necessary.

– Animals on farms and slaughterhouses. The Invisible Victims:

There has never been a time in our history as humanity in which there has been a greater number of animal victims. Today, in the Spanish state alone, more than 800 million animals are bred, kept for their short lives in overcrowded conditions, then killed in slaughterhouses. Many die beforehand, during transport or due to poor health or living conditions.

Barely able to move indoors, these animals endure acts of cruelty and abuse that would even be illegal if they were cats or dogs. Imagine a life without sun, without freedom, without being able to socialize, without hope, seeing how they take your children and companions, forced to gain weight or pushed towards the truck on the way to the slaughterhouse. Farms and slaughterhouses are the death camps on the outskirts of your town or city.

– Animals victims of other forms of mistreatment and exploitation:

Although most of the animals in the world suffer and die as a result of meat, eggs and dairy consumption, others are injured, abandoned, threatened by hunting, used as shooting targets or forced labour, used in entertainment, commercialised as pets or experimented upon in labs.

Where do the animals rescued by the sanctuary come from?

Most of the animals that we rescued leave directly from farms discarded by the farmers because they are not “profitable” – that is, they are sick. In addition some animals have come to us as victims of accidents involving the trucks that took them to the slaughterhouse.

Other animals have been abandoned and brought to us as well as those who have come to us as a result of confiscations by local authorities.

The animals need us. The animals need you!

Every day, we are privileged to accompany the animals in the sanctuary in their experiences of overcoming their past and sharing their affection and joy of life.  Nonhuman animals fight for their lives and those of their families and friends, they have the desire to live and enjoy their life, feel and experienced emotions.

As a privileged (intellectually speaking) species, our moral duty is to fight against anything that may harm someone and to ensure that we are not complicit in acts or omissions that harm others. We have the capacity to do this, to understand that each animal is someone who not only deserves not to be harmed, but also deserves to be protected. We all have the ability to understand and to help.

That is why animals need us right now. We all have a responsibility to take action to change the way in which animals are treated in our society and to ensure that the abuse, exploitation and suffering is not allowed to continue. They deserve this, and so much more from us.

Live with Wings of Heart Sanctuary the passion to save animals and help us to tell the world that we can and must protect them.

Now we have told you a little more about the sanctuary, let’s pick up where we left off in our story about Pablo. He has been recently admitted to the Veterinary Hospital for his severe dislocation and infection in one of his legs:

pablito curas

Pablito required daily treatment for weeks.

pablo curas edu

The connection between animals and caregivers is extremely strong.

pablito tras penultima operacion

After the penultimate operation, before the amputation of his foot, in an attempt to fight to save his leg.

Pablito was hospitalised for two weeks and the vets were incredibly impressed with his resilience and strength; particularly because his treatment had to be carried out without anaesthesia due to ruminants’ high sensitivity to sedation which means it is only given when absolutely unavoidable. After his treatment, Pablito began to behave very much like a normal little lamb. He was reluctant to move his injured foot, but apart from that demonstrated an immense desire to live.

Returning to the Sanctuary, Pablito began to act very naturally and soon became great friends with Trasgu, a blind lamb who had survived after being thrown into an enclosure with wolves because they, instead of killing her, protected her to prevent her from being hurt.

Day after day the brave little lamb endured his treatments, even though they caused him discomfort and pain. But each time we finished, he would take it as his signal to run around to try to get us to play with him or come charged back to us to demand cuddles and attention. He felt no anger or fear towards us, despite his treatment being unpleasant for him.

Unfortunately, Pablito’s prognosis was complex and we later discovered that the infection was not as contained as the vets had first believed. After returning to the hospital and a number of operations, we were forced to take the difficult decision to amputate Pablito’s foot to save his life.

Pablito’s operation was the first time the vets had ever performed such surgery on a lamb. We were scared to death as we waited for him to come out of the operating theatre. Imagine our amazement when we arrived to see Pablito, recently woken from surgery, try to jump up to greet us. Despite the dizziness caused by the sedative, the nausea and the pain he must have been in, his delight in seeing us and his demands for attention nearly brought us to tears.

Today Pablito lives with three legs, adapting and enjoying each day in the company of his friends, our pampering, and the food he likes so much.

Pablito is just a lamb that refused to die. But he is not unique. The most surprising thing about this story is that Pablito could be any one of the animals we have rescued. All of them come from tremendous suffering but all of them have an immense desire to live.

This story summarises, we believe, the philosophy and work of Sanctuary Wings of Heart:

Rescue animals from exploitation, give them a forever home, take care of them, fight for them and others to give them the freedom that they deserve.