Rescuing one pet from the pound is wonderful enough, let alone 162 of them! That’s how many Adri Rachelle is currently taking care of through her non-profit animal sanctuary. From snakes to alpacas and everything in between, she doesn’t turn a single species away. Read on to see why one woman decided to commit her life to saving any animal that needs her help.
A Dog-Walker Turned Animal Rescuer
Adri Rachelle didn’t always have a farm full of various species. She was once a dog-walker living in Atlanta, Georgia. What she has always had is a love for animals.
Adri told Good News Network that she used to collect stuffed animals as a kid because she couldn’t have them all in real life. As an adult, she was able to have whatever animals she desired. What she realized, though, is that her passion wasn’t buying pets; it was saving them.
She Gets It From Her Parents
Though Adri couldn’t have the real version of every stuffed animal in her room, that doesn’t mean her parents banned pets. On the contrary, Adri credits her parents with her lifelong passion to rescue animals.
She explained to Good News Network that her mom was “constantly” helping stray animals. Likewise, Adri’s father, who is a retired natural resources specialist, would keep tabs on endangered species and go out to try and count any he could find.
She Grew Up Saving Animals
Taking care of so many kinds of animals takes quite a bit of knowledge, which Adri has been cultivating since childhood. She estimates that she had around 20 animals growing up thanks to her mom’s habit of saving them.
Her mom, a retired nurse, would bring home cats, dogs, and birds from off the street. The family also raised chickens, ducks, and rabbits. It was only a matter of time before Adri started carrying on the family tradition.
It All Started With Pigs
Adri was only 21-years-old when she started saving animals. The first species she rescued wasn’t a dog or cat. It was pigs! A decade later, she was up to 90 pets, and only five of them were adopted.
She told Good News Network, “I think for a normal person this would be a lot of work, a lot of noise and a lot of cleaning, but for me, it is almost therapeutic. I get so much satisfaction from caring for my animals.”
She Attracts Animals In Need
Her climb to so many pets didn’t happen by accident. Adri explained to Bored Panda that animals in need “always seemed to cross my path.” For years, she cared for the animals completely out of her own pocket.
While it seems like a huge sacrifice to make, Adri would have it no other way. As she explained to Good News Network, “There’s nothing I’d rather be doing with my time or money than looking after animals.”
Moving To A Farmhouse
In 2015, Adri’s home in the city could no longer support her array of pets. As a result, she moved to a Georgia farmhouse. She renovated her 11,000-square-foot guest house so it was safe and comfortable for the animals.
That meant taking out the molding, baseboards, and carpet. She also had to make sure all the cabinets were securely locked with child-proof devices. This way, the animals can freely roam indoors or outdoors and stay cage-free.
Growing To 162 Animals!
As time went on, Adri continued to accumulate more and more rescue animals. By the time 2021 rolled around, she was up to 162 pets! Along the way, she realized that this was her dream job.
She told Bored Panda, “It became clear to me that this wasn’t a hobby for me, it had been the story of my life since I was a child and I wanted to officially choose it as my life’s primary focus.”
The Animals Love Sleeping Near Her
Considering all that Adri does for so many animals, it’s no wonder that they prefer being near her whenever possible. That’s why she constructed a 10-foot-wide bed so that more of her animals would fit!
She told Good News Network that her pigs, cats, and dogs tend to be the ones who climb into bed with her. Adri even created a headboard out of tree branches so that her birds can sleep near her, too!
Gaining A Social Media Presence
Adri started sharing her animals on social media, and people took notice. Her YouTube channel has nearly 35,000 subscribers. The videos, many of which have hundreds of thousands of views, show her many animals and explain how to care for atypical pets.
It’s through her popularity that Adri has been able to afford so many pets. Her posts facilitate donations as people start to care about these animals and root for their ability to thrive.
Warning Others That This Isn’t For Everyone
Though Adri shares advice on training and feeding animals like pigs and cows, she’s aware that this isn’t for everyone. Moreover, she doesn’t want to be part of the problem by encouraging people to take on animals that they are ill-educated about.
Her 2021 YouTube video that shows all 162 of her pets starts off with a disclaimer. She explains that some of the pets she has ended up there because people took on more than they could handle, and that’s the last thing she wants to encourage.
Becoming An Official Non-Profit
After years of taking care of so many animals on her own, Adri decided that it was time to commit her life to this. She quit her job and turned her farm into an official non-profit called the Wild Things Sanctuary.
Doing so helped take some of the financial burden off, enabling Adri to gradually add 200 acres of land and a second farm to her Georgia property. It would also make it easier to recruit volunteers to take some of the load off of Adri.
It’s Not Open To The Public For A Reason
Another potential source of income would be making the sanctuary open to the public, but Adri is adamantly against doing so. She explained to Bored Panda, “I feel strongly that the constant revolving door of strangers coming to observe the animals is very stressful for animals that are in recovery, old, or sick.”
Instead, she hopes that donations will be enough to support any animal in need that comes her way. Adri also sells handmade items on Etsy to raise money for her sanctuary.
The Operating Costs Are Huge
Another reason why Adri warns that this isn’t for everyone is because of how expensive it is. Adri reported to Bored Panda that building structures and getting the materials needed to set up the sanctuary cost about $50,000!
The cost of food for all the animals is more than $1,000 a month, and vet bills come out to roughly $10,000 a year. Adri even sold her truck so that she could afford to take in a herd of cattle.
She Loves To Spoil Her Animals
As Adri has stated, she’s more than willing to spend all of her money on her animals. She warns that anyone else looking to establish an animal sanctuary should be prepared to take on the costs by themselves at first.
At the same time, part of what makes it’s so pricey is Adri’s fixation on making the conditions as incredible as possible. She says she aims to spoil her animals, not just give them their basic needs.
The Animals Help One Another
While 162 animals is a ton to take care of, there’s also an advantage to having so many. Adri explained to Bored Panda that the animals of the same species help one another feel more comfortable.
She gave the example of an untrusting dog who will come around as it sees the other canines who trust Adri. The animals also get to spend a ton of time interacting with their fellow species, which can be especially helpful for those that are feral.
Many Of Them Are Named After Lord Of The Rings Characters
Adri confessed to Good News Network that she’s “a little obsessed” with the Lord of the Rings books and movies. As a result, many of her animals are named after the characters!
She has a mule named Bilbo Baggins, a goat she calls Gandalf, a spaniel named Frodo, and two cats called Boromir and Faramir. Adri has named so many of her pets after the franchise that she now has to turn to the internet for more ideas.
She Doesn’t Take Breaks
Adri is so committed to her animals that she cares for them all day every day without taking any vacations. She told Bored Panda that she could just meet their basic needs in a few hours, but she wants to give them more than that.
When she isn’t cleaning up or feeding her pets, she’s keeping them company. She says that helping them heal gives her purpose, which makes all of the sacrifices worth it.
She Has The Chores Down To A Science
Adri has her many chores down to a science so that she can knock them out efficiently and spend the rest of her day enjoying the animals. When it’s time to feed all the animals, she knocks it out in 40 minutes.
Breakfast is around 10 a.m. and then she listens to a podcast while spot-cleaning the cages and enclosures, a task that takes about half an hour. If Adri does have to leave the sanctuary, she has cameras all around to keep an eye on her precious pets.
The Sanctuary Is Her Heaven On Earth
While many challenges come with running the sanctuary, Adri considers it her “heaven on Earth.” She told Bored Panda, “I receive their affection, smile at their joy, laugh at their antics, and reciprocate their love all day long!”
Part of giving her animals care that is above and beyond is making sure that they’re happy by giving them attention. Spending time with them also helps Adri gain the trust of the many different species that she looks after.
She Treats All Of The Animals Equally
While many of us feel very differently about dogs compared to rodents, Adri loves all of her animals as though they were her most beloved pet. She admitted to Good News Network that she has napped with her rats before.
The same goes for her pigs and any other pets who want love and affection. Whether it’s her snakes or her cockatoos, Adri is sure to spend quality time with them, day or night.