I don’t know what had upset WC Fields when he famously declared “Never work with animals or children” but he clearly hadn’t had a week as fantastic as this half-term one has been for me. 

Meetings at Port Lympne, an afternoon spent at a children’s holiday program in Canterbury and a lovely visit to a sheep sanctuary in Ash were all capped-off with a few hours over at the brilliant ‘Retreat Into Wonderland’ Animal Sanctuary in Herne Bay on Saturday.

I’d heard some brilliant things about the Sanctuary on Facebook and was really pleased when I received an invitation from Jo to check it out for myself. Jo was hard at work when I arrived so I joined her as she went around tending to the many pigs, sheep, turkeys, chickens and duck that call the sanctuary ‘home’.

Alice, ‘the boss’ seems pretty pleased with how things are progressing

Although Jo was doing all the hard work, it was soon obvious who the real boss was here. As we wandered around the field, we were being very closely watched by Alice, a gorgeous pig who roams free around the sanctuary. Alice followed us everywhere, accompanied by her best friend, one of the rather friendly and affectionate sheep.

Throughout my visit I was impressed at the level of care and affection Jo and the other volunteers have for all of the animals ….. this was obviously a real labour of love for everyone involved. While we were talking, others were hard at work in the background building yet more enclosures and painting small wooden homes for the animals.

There was a definite quirky feel to the place, with an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme running throughout the numerous animal enclosures. I was particularly distracted by a random door handle attached to a tree stump and the eccentrically named pig, ‘Thackery Earwicket’. The whole sanctuary had a really unique look and feel to it.

I spoke with Jo about her plans for the future and she explained that an education centre was in the pipeline, enabling children to engage with some of the ‘residents’ whilst learning about the importance of welfare and care.  I’m sure the kids will enjoy visiting and learning about the animals almost as much as I did.

I’d like to thank Jo and, of course, my new friend, Alice, for letting me spend some so much time at this fantastic place and I can’t wait to see them again soon to find out how this aptly named ‘Wonderland’ is progressing.

If you would like to know more about ‘Retreat Into Wonderland’, give them a like on Facebook but, in the meantime, please enjoy our gallery of my visit and feel free to share this page with anyone you think might be interested.