Sanctuary Spotlight: Tiny Hooves Animal Sanctuary

Planted in Union Grove, Wisconsin, the very heart of America’s “dairyland” is Tiny Hooves Animal Sanctuary.


On 33 sunny, grassy acres with a 30-stall barn, the sanctuary is home to 165 animal residents from over 14 species. Potbellied pigs, mini donkeys, goats, and horses live together harmoniously in rural farmland bliss.


Beca Thompson, Tiny Hooves founder, intentionally created the sanctuary in Wisconsin. 


“In the Midwest, a lot of work needs to be done as far as farm[ed] animal care and vegan education goes,” says Thompson. 

Tiny Hooves Animal Sanctuary Hank Indigo the Mini Cow
Tiny Hooves Resident Hank Indigo 

 

“Wisconsin [is]a dairy state where cheese and meat are staples in every meal,” which makes Union Grove “a great place” to bring Tiny Hooves and its mighty mission to life. 


That mission? “To change hearts with compassion and education while inspiring positive change through the human and animal bond,” says Thompson.

It’s Tiny Hooves love for their animal residents and commitment to inspiring the community to choose a cruelty-free plant-based lifestyle that’s led us to partner with them three times. 

Focusing on rescuing and caring for abused, neglected, and “unwanted” farmed animals and teaching visitors about animal exploitation, Tiny Hooves is all about empowering people to make kind, mindful decisions for animals. 

Thompson had been involved in animal rescue, starting with exotic animals like tigers, wolves, and bears, for nearly a decade before she had her “aha!” moment.

“In most of the world, farmed animals aren’t considered individuals, they have no rights, and are grossly mistreated, tortured, and slaughtered,” says Thompson. “ They don’t even have a fighting chance. I knew [they] needed me most.”

Tiny Hooves Animal Sanctuary Pistachio the GoatTiny Hooves Resident Pistachio

Driven by her new purpose to save abused and neglected farmed animals Thompson struck it out on her own in 2015 and founded Tiny Hooves-- the name inspired by a pygmy goat, Trixie, who had “the teeniest tiniest hoofs” Thompson had ever seen. 

“At Tiny Hooves, we focus on help[ing our rescued animals] heal socially, emotionally, and physically. We focus on their protection, happiness, and retirement. [They’re all] treated as individuals.” 


Promoting veganism in an accessible and fun way is a huge part of how Thompson runs the sanctuary. So she was beyond thrilled when we proposed a partnership!


“Trupo Treats and [we at] Tiny Hooves Sanctuary promote veganism in a relatable and exciting way! Both of us provide compassionate education, as well as a positive [experience].”


“In Trupo Treat’s case, its delicious vegan milk chocolate,” says Thompson playfully. “And in our case, it’s memories with rescued farmed animals that’ll impact you and your choices forever!”

Tiny Hooves Animal Sanctuary Lionel the Potbellied Pig

Tiny Hooves Resident Lionel 

“Trupo Treats gets us. You understand why we do what we do because you do it too!” says Thompson. “Knowing a company that focuses on everything we think is important, while also supporting us and rescues like us? It doesn’t get any more perfect than that!” 


A large part of Thompson’s work at the all-volunteer run Tiny Hooves is to teach the community the difference between petting zoos and sanctuaries. 

“Our residents are not here for peoples’ entertainment.  They are here to rest, heal, relax and live their lives.”

“Many local people think that we are a petting zoo [and] want to show up with their families [to] feed the animals and take selfies.”

Tiny Hooves Animal Sanctuary Chicken

Tiny Hooves Sanctuary resident 

The reality is the opposite. “Animal exploitation is the antithesis of our mission. Teaching people the differences [between] a petting zoo and a true sanctuary [is] important education.”


Time with the rescued residents at Tiny Hooves is better spent getting to know the animals as individuals. Learning their quirks, seeing what brings them joy, and taking a moment to appreciate them fully.


We couldn’t agree more! 

Tiny Hooves Animal Sanctuary Hank Indigo the Mini Jersey Cow

Tiny Hooves resident Hank Indigo 

Resident Spotlight: Meet Hank Indigo, the Mini Jersey Cow!

One of the Tiny Hooves rescues that sticks with Thompson is saving the mini Jersey cow Hank Indigo. 


A survivor of the cruel dairy industry, Hank Indigo was a veal calf tied to a wall for the first six weeks of his life. "When he came to us, his spirit was absolutely broken,” says Thompson.


“He didn’t understand human love or compassion. He didn’t know how to take a bottle.  He just lived, and that was it. Seeing a young baby with such horrible PTSD already was heartbreaking. It wasn’t until he turned a year old and joined our cow family that he really blossomed into a cow!”


Now, Hank is a playful and curious cow who loves hanging out with his herd mates Paco, Mazie, and the loving and protective matriarch Midge. 


The spirited, ginger-haired cow can often be found munching on carrots (his favorite snack!), napping in the afternoon sun, getting brushed, and having his neck scratched by his fan club (aka Tiny Hooves volunteers)! 

Tiny Hooves Animal Sanctuary Hank Indigo the Mini Jersey Cow
Hank Indigo taking a snack break


Tiny Hooves Animal Sanctuary runs private weekend tours, is always looking for new volunteers and encourages the public to join in events. The sanctuary will also be a nonprofit vendor at Chicago’s all-vegan farmers market Vegan Paradise until October 31st.  


You can support Tiny Hooves by donating, volunteering, sponsoring an animal resident, purchasing merch, donating items on their wishlist, telling your friends about the sanctuary, and engaging with their social media accounts. 

Follow Tiny Hooves on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with day-to-day life at the sanctuary and rescue efforts! 

And if you want to sink your teeth into the tastiest vegan milk chocolate the planet has to offer while also helping rescued farmed animals like Hank Indigo, preorder our three new vegan milk chocolate bars! 😍

 

All images © Rebecca Thompson and are used with express permission. They're not for reuse. 

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