What’s in a name? Sweet Olive Farm is named for one of our many rescued dogs from over the last 10 years, and this dog’s name is Olive! She is not so sweet, but that is part of the fun! Our journey with animal rescue began with dogs.
We lived in the midtown Atlanta neighborhood of Ansley Park which was a great home for the dogs, but the neighbors weren’t too crazy about the ever increasing number of canines. An officer from Fulton County Animal Control came to grant us a special permit to house up to 10 dogs and before she left, Melissa, the officer, asked, “Don’t y’all want a pot bellied pig?” The rest is history!
We rented the property and house that is now Sweet Olive Farm in June of 2010.
Mr. Thelma the pig was found wandering around a city neighborhood in Atlanta, and we had to hurry as he was due for euthanasia. Along with Mr. Thelma, we rescued Crowy, our first rooster. With growing numbers of backyard chickens in the city, we get many roosters, which are illegal, because homeowners can’t tell male or female when the chicks are little. With 8 acres in Winterville, we had the space for both animals, and we quickly built a pen and hut for Mr. Thelma, and devised shelter from a recycled dog pen for Crowy. Before long, we had acquired Gertrude, a goat who was tied to a street light in Cabbagetown, and Stampy, a sheep, who we presume escaped from a Ramadan sacrificial ceremony.
Culprit the Donkey came soon after, whose owner was tired of feeding him. Rose is Culprit’s donkey friend, and she is skittish, but glad to be here. She is “foundered,” with bad feet that need constant care. 3 mini horses came from a tiny stall, and 2 new pastures were made to accommodate the growing community of animals. Along the way many more chickens and roosters were rescued, and all are free-ranging, usually choosing to roost in trees. There is evidently still a lot of cock fighting in Atlanta based on some of the roosters we have received.
We brought in 4 alpacas that had been rescued from a bad situation in South Atlanta; now have 25! They are not the “for fun and profit” many retirees think, which leads to many that need housing and pastures. 3 Toulouse geese were saved from the oven, although they do not show their gratitude in a very pleasant manner. Our first three turkeys were rescued on Thanksgiving 2013 and we just rescued 8 more for the 2014 season.
We have become a part of the Athens community, with many parents bringing their children out to interact with the many critters. It is a peaceful environment. There are 6 rescued dogs at this time. We placed 7 dogs in good homes this year! We purchased 8 extra acres, as we feel that the need will only grow for farm animals needing sanctuary. We are fortunate to have a good working relationship with the Fulton County Animal Control, as well as many local residents from Atlanta, Athens and all over Georgia. Our world revolves around the animals at the farm, and in educating the public about farm animal welfare, as well as the safety of “exotic” animals. It is a comforting thought to know that many children will grow up coming to this farm, and learning how to care for the animals. Saving dogs is just a perk of having land and fences.
We provide tours to school groups, private groups, families and other groups on Fridays, from 10 – 2. There is a recommended donation of $10.00 per person, and we will email a waiver for each guest. The tour is usually 1 hour, and snacks can be enjoyed in the barn. We have parking across the street from the barn at 880 Parkview Road.