San Joaquin Magazine Feature: A Place to Call Home

Read the San Joaquin Magazine feature of the sanctuary published in November 2019:

When the Paradise fires hit last year, Patty was found wandering aimlessly through piles of thick ash. The bottoms of her feet suffered third degree burns, and no one was quite sure where Patty came from. When rescue workers found Patty—a white farm duck—they took her to a rehabilitation center.

Patty endured five months of therapy at the rehabilitation center before she was ready for a forever home, but the workers were adamant that Patty only be re-homed somewhere she could live out the rest of her life.

Enter the Harvest Home Animal Sanctuary, a 501c3 nonprofit located in the farmlands of Stockton. The organization is dedicated to providing a safe space, medical care, and rehabilitation services to 13 species of animals.

“She is an incredible duck. She lights up this place like you would not believe,” says Christine Morrissey, executive director at Harvest Home.

Today, Patty is an animal ambassador for Harvest Home, going on outings to the local library to assist with early literacy efforts and attending local events to help provide education to the community about inhumane treatment of farm animals. She wears special shoes wherever she waddles as her feet continue to recover from the burns.

Because of the agreement, Patty will never be adopted out of the Sanctuary the way some animals are. Instead, she will live out the rest of her days on the 2.5-acre farm on the outskirts of Stockton with 199 other recovering animals who come from local shelters, farms, animal research labs, cock fighting busts, and slaughterhouses.

The relationship with the slaughterhouses is particularly interesting. Every so often the community hosts a vigil outside of a local slaughterhouse and as a show of acknowledgement, the business will let one animal go.

Through their relationship with Harvest Home, farmers are able to surrender laying hens that no longer provide an economic benefit to the farm. The animals from the medical facilities, however, are among the most spectacular rescues.

Christine says, “Not many animals who are used in research ever leave.”

Harvest Home houses two.