Giving the Gift of Love in the Gold Country: Blackberry Creek Animal Sanctuary

Written by Emily Crofton

“Our mission is to love one another. Period.” This profound message is the mission statement declared by the Blackberry Creek Animal Sanctuary. Located in Colfax, California, this non-profit organization “provides a refuge for animals to live out their lives enjoying kindness, compassion, and permanent sanctuary.” With over 40 rescued animals residing there, Blackberry Creek strives to meet the needs of every animal; as well as provide education promoting the humane care of all animals and the responsibilities humans have to demonstrate love for all creatures.

The sanctuary first came to be whencassie-1 a compassionate couple decided to create a place of refuge for rescued farm animals. Danielle and Josh became inspired by the idea after thoroughly educating themselves about the animal agriculture industries and the degradation they caused animals, workers, human health, and the environment. Shortly after, Danielle explains she “woke straight up out of bed and knew I was called to start a farm sanctuary and pair it with my teaching career to change the future for the relationship between people and animals.” After selling their home and adopting plant-based diets, they committed to pouring their savings and hearts into making Blackberry Creek a reality and the sanctuary officially opened in 2014.

butterscotchBlackberry Creek is consisted of all volunteers and is home to over 40 animals, each with their own rescue story. Forrest the Strong, a baby goat, was stolen from his mother at birth by humans solely interested in drinking her milk an
d eating her cheese. After being purchased at a dairy auction only a day old, Forrest was thrown in the back of a man’s truck who attempted to sell him for meat. Completely emaciated at just three years old, Forrest’s gums and lips were bruised from trying to suck the wire cage he was in after birth. Thankfully, Forrest was eventually saved from the terrible mistreatment and brought to Blackberry Creek where he receives physical therapy, veterinary care, and abundant love.

1568799George, a loving golden retriever, was saved by a rescue group after being homeless on the streets of Taiwan. He had lost his back leg in a trap which he tried to chew out of, breaking off both of his bottom canine teeth. Taken in by Blackberry Creek, George now has a cozy bed, loving family, and spends his days visiting elderly homes and inspiring people who have disabilities with his courage and sweet temperament.

Their goal for the sanctuary was to not only show compassion to these animals, but to also bring trust,
peace, healing and comfort to the community through their stories. Only two years in, Blackberry Creek has big dreams and “while we already do community outreach, visitor days, educational presentations, and family events, we hope to be able to focus fully on the sanctuary one day and run the following programs: programs for special needs individuals, visitation for the elderly, therapy for veterans and rescued animals, student leadership programs, “Bert’s Book Barn” reading program for students, at-risk youth programs, and public education” explains Danielle.

Do you share a love for animals and have a desire to contribute to this organization? Interested in taking a day trip to visit? Blackberry Creek offers many opportunities to volunteer, donate, and visit. Volunteer opportunities include but are not limited to cleaning coops/barns, feeding and doing health checks on the animals, mending fences, and assisting at events and visitor days. If interested in donating, the sanctuary could use your help with various supplies, monthly animal sponsorships, and one-time donations. You can also help by simply educating yourself and others to ensure that your values coincide with your actions. Know where your food is coming from and support the right causes!

little-oneBlackberry Creek Animal Sanctuary knows that every soul deserves a second chance and the right to be loved and respected. When asked what they hope these rescue stories teach human beings, Danielle replied “Despite what we have been taught by culture and tradition, we hope to help others realize that we do not need to harm animals to live healthy and happy lives.” They feel as though they can teach people that humans, like the animals, can heal from their difficult pasts and move forward into futures where they are loved, valued, and respected.

With their efforts and compassion, hopefully we can overcome the cruelty that exists in this world and show love and kindness to all living creatures. To read more, please visit

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