Founded in 2010, SOFAR is an animal sanctuary with farm and exotic animals, from alpacas to zebu cattle, with pot-bellied pigs and hogs, horses, donkeys and ponies, an emu, turkeys, ducks and geese, sheep and goats and chickens, also in the mix. The animals live in peaceful harmony on 22 acres.
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. (Photo of us with puppies)
when it all began…
Mr. Thelma the pig was found wandering around a city neighborhood in Atlanta. We had to hurry because he was due for euthanasia. Along with Thelma we rescued Crowy, our first rooster.
Having rented 8 acres in Winterville, we had the space for the pig and the rooster, and we quickly built a pen and a hut for Thelma, and devised shelter from a recycled dog pen for Crowy. Before long, we acquired Gertrude who was found tied to a rope and a light post in Cabbagetown, and Stampy, the sheep who we presumed escaped from a backyard butcher.
Culprit came to Live
Culprit the Donkey came soon thereafter. His owner was tired of feeding him. Rose is Culprit's Donkey friend and is still skittish after all these years but she is glad to be here.
She had foundered, and her feet need constant care. Ruby arrived because her pasture mate passed away. She also has bad feet and needed a place to live out her days.
3 mini horses arrived from a tiny stall, and 2 more pastures were added to accommodate the growing community of animals. In addition to the donkeys and minis, we have a wild mustang, a civil war reenactment horse, a retired endurance mustang who is 37 and another elderly mare who couldn't make it as a petting zoo animal.
Our First Alpacas
Our first 4 Alpacas were rescued from a farm that went out of business near Athens. We currently have16 alpacas plus Rosie the Llama who came as a herd protector with a group of alpacas that were simply dropped off at our farm one day.
We built the Barn!
We decided to add a larger structure for the animals and visitors to enjoy in the pasture. Susan had a favorite old barn that she had been driving past since she was a young girl, and we were watching it fall into a state of disrepair. One day a For Sale sign went up on the pecan orchard where the barn stood, and Kat said "let's try and buy the barn!". Kat called the son of the old farmer who had built the barn in 1912, and had recently passed away and we bought it! Then we had to move it 150 miles! After moving it in Uhaul and Ryder trucks, it stands in our pasture looking much the same, and has become the heart of the farm, used for weddings, birthday parties, yoga, camps and a place for the animals, of course!
The World's Largest Pig
Charlotte, the world’s largest pig came to live after being found loose on Highway 400. She was joined soon after by Herschel who was a 4H pig whose owner started a Facebook page to save him from slaughter.
We applied to become a non profit in 2014, and received our 501C3 status in March 14, 2015. This allows us to follow our mission, which is not only to help animals but to educate our community, especially the young, about the importance of responsible animal care, ethical eating, and the sentience of all creatures. Because we are able to receive tax deductible donations our resources are broadened, and this allows us to collect donations to help us aid in our mission and provide sanctuary to countless animals in need.
Lots of new Friends
The Zebu cattle and 10 pigs along with several goats came to us from a sanctuary that had closed down. Gomes and Lisa and Heidi were born to the sheep from Fulton County. Loco the rooster arrived. Forrest was born to one of the Zebu cows. The little cow had to wear braces due to subluxated patellas and was treated by the UGA Vet School. We are so thankful for the vet school!
Kissy came to town
We got Kissy the pig from North Atlanta, she was found around a monastery on the Chattahoochee River. We began construction on the first of 5 shelters made from recycled materials from the UGA Iron Horse Barn. There are 2 horse, 1 cow, 1 sheep, and 1 pig shelter as well as one for the bulls. Our retired Civil War Reenactment horse, Warhorse, needed his feet treated, and the UGA Vet School farriers created wooden shoes for him. We worked with Farm Sanctuary to rescue 4 rodeo bulls from Charlotte, N.C. We also worked to rescue other cows and took them to other rescues. We rescued our second 4H hog named Jackson. We built the feed shed with the help of our skilled volunteers. Lorettie , an elderly goat came after being found on highway 78.
We rescued a young male alpaca named Dusty, as part of a herd whose owner couldn't care for the animals anymore. Vets from UGA Vet School decided that he was too young to neuter, but we found out that was a miscalculation (he was just small) when we had 2 surprise babies born in October of 2018. Baby May and Baby June have brought so much joy to the farm, and have touched so many lives of our volunteers and visitors.
Growing the Farm
We are looking forward to improving our infrastructure and building more pastures.