PROVIDING shelter for rescued wildlife and farm animals is not for the faint-hearted, as one Mt Helena couple discovered after opening a refuge two years ago.
Mark Hayman and Chris Rafferty hold down full-time jobs, while providing round-the-clock care for furry friends at Possum Valley Animal Sanctuary.
Fundraising activities for the charity will culminate in an event on August 26 when the sanctuary will hold its first dress-up high tea, in the South Banquet Hall of the University of WA.
Tales of animal rescue and the story of how the 12ha sanctuary became the Noah’s Ark of the Hills will be accompanied by a cruelty-free spread of savoury and sweet treats.
The couple rise at daybreak to care for their brood, before Mark heads off to a job in human resources and Chris drives to Whiteman Park, where she works as land environment manager.
“At the moment, we have about 130 animals, which consist of about 32 sheep, 25 roosters, a few donkeys, a dozen goats, a large number of native and non-native ducks, possums, alpacas, chooks, guinea fowl and peacocks,” Mark said.
“They have individual enclosures and live in family groups.
“Probably the two animals with the strongest bond are Pearl and Lucas; they are inseparable.
“Lucas looks after Pearl, one of three blind sheep at the sanctuary.”
The couple work closely with local councils and other rescue groups to rehabilitate and find homes for animals removed for safety or found abandoned.
“When we get home from work, we spend about three to four hours doing the evening rounds,” said Mark, grateful for the support of their dedicated team of volunteers.
Possum Valley fundraising coordinator Maggie Heynemann said her disabled daughter Lizzie had blossomed since she began helping out at the sanctuary, thanks to the support of Inclusion WA.
Other fundraising events to look out for throughout the year are yoga with goats, sound meditation and the annual cheese and wine evening attended by more than 200 people.
For more details, visit the sanctuary on Facebook.