Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

Heat Wave at Poplar Spring

Tilly, cooling off in a foot bath

Tilly, cooling off in a foot bath

The record-setting heat-wave is old news by now, and thankfully the heat has broken on the east coast (the southwest is in for it now). At the front end of the heat wave, we had an unusual-for-the-area derecho storm rip through (June 29), causing millions of people to be without power for days, a few thousand for more than a week. I was one who lost power (friday night – tuesday afternoon), and the sanctuary also lost power (friday night – monday afternoon). Luckily they have a generator so they could run the water pump (essential when you are caring for 200 animals!) and a couple people lent them smaller generators so they could run the fans for all the animals too. So the animals were pretty comfortable (as comfortable as it ever is in the high 90’s and high humidity), and luckily there was no damage from the derecho winds.

This past weekend, when it hit 105 on Saturday, was the tail end of the heat-wave. A few weeks ago they’d set up a hose with the nozzle set on mist, and aimed at the mud puddle in the pig yard as a “cooling station” for the pigs. It was very popular, as you might imagine!

Cooling station in the pig yard at psas

Cooling Station

When I walked by on Saturday, I was happy to see that Harley was one of the pigs in the cooling station. He’s one of the younger pigs, and definitely low in the pecking order, so if another pig had wanted his spot, he’d have moved.

Harley at the cooling station


Dave was walking by too, and as I stopped to take pictures of Harley and the other pigs, he aimed the spray right at Harley’s head.

It was amazing. Harley, whose ears usually are covering his eyes, put his ears back and just leaned into the spray with a look of bliss.

Harley blissing at the cooling station


As we were picking up in the pig yard, some people arrived with a new goose resident, Duchess. She followed them as they came to visit in the pig yard, but she seemed a bit confused as to where she actually wanted to be. After she came rushing in the pig yard through the gate, she then tried to get out again through the fence. She was getting agitated, so I picked her up and carried her across the pig yard toward the duck pond.

Duchess on the duck pond at psas

Duchess on the duck pond at psas

Terry held the gate for me, and we brought Duchess down to the pond and stayed with her while she got in and swam around a bit. As she cooled down and calmed down, Roxanne, the youngest pig, joined us, having escaped out the gate we’d opened to bring Duchess through.

I got some apples from the barn and tried to bribe her back through, but she wasn’t too interested. Forget cooling stations and creeks, here was a pond!

She wandered around the perimeter a bit before walking in. She was so cute, sticking her whole head in the water at times, blowing bubbles, and rooting on the bottom of the pond. Talk about bliss!

Roxanne in the duck pond at psas

Roxanne in the duck pond at psas

I took some video, and was convinced to put the entire almost-8 minutes on vimeo.

Roxanne in the duck pond

A reporter showed up while we were doing the cow pies – he had contacted Terry to set up an interview so he could do an article on the animals and the heat. Roxanne had come back to the pig yard by then, so he missed seeing that cuteness in person, but Dave and Terry had me show him some of the pictures I took of her in there. He was interested in using a pic and linking to the video for his article, so I sent him a few that evening. He ended up using the one of Harley blissing out with the spray of water. It ran online in the Washington Post on Sunday, and in the print version on Monday!

So out of the blue, I got a picture published in the paper!

The hot days in summer are when the animals are the most lethargic (and I include humans – we definitely move slower on these hot days), so they’re often pretty dry in terms of photo ops. It just happened that we’d had a couple super cute photo ops that day – we couldn’t have done better if we’d planned and schemed to get photo ops for the article!

Our favorite quote from the article:

As I watched Terry round up Tilly the turkey and deposit her feet into the bath, it occurred to me that Terry was one of those people who made it impossible to measure yourself against: You can never be so good.

Terry is probably embarrassed that we keep quoting that one sentence, but it’s the truth for both Terry and Dave, so we’ll keep quoting it!

roxanne in the duck pond at psas



8 responses to “Heat Wave at Poplar Spring

  1. Cyndi Rook July 11, 2012 at 8:59 am

    What a wonderful post Deb. You’ve made the miserable beautiful. Fabulous press for the sanctuary, too. Can’t get enough of that.

    • Deb July 11, 2012 at 9:16 am

      Yeah, it was so nice to see such a positive article in the post! They’ve run nice posts around thanksgiving too, about the thanksgiving with the turkeys event…definitely seems like there is a lot of momentum building with vegan advocacy!

  2. Shannon (Vegan Burnout) July 11, 2012 at 1:06 pm

    These photos are brilliant! Keep doing what you do, Deb! So glad everyone came through the heat wave all right.

    • Deb July 11, 2012 at 9:43 pm

      Thanks Shannon!

      Terry and Dave spent a lot of time monitoring the animals, and giving extra heat relief (water) to any who seemed hot. It’s a relief on many levels for the heat to have broken!

  3. mburgan July 15, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Great pics as usual. But no heatwave hit here; its been perfect all month! Hope things are cooler out your way.

    • Deb July 16, 2012 at 7:40 am


      Looks like NM lucked out and didn’t get roasted with your western neighbors! Out heat did break and we had a pretty pleasant week last week (nothing like 100’s to put 80s in perspective!) but it is heating up again this week. Still not as bad (and won’t be for as long), so we can’t complain too much…

  4. Provoked July 17, 2012 at 7:03 pm

    You read my mind – As soon as I saw the photo of Duchess in the pond I was going to ask – Do any of the pigs go for a swim? And before I formulated the idea there was the photo and video of Roxanne wading in the water! How cool – Figuratively and literally. Looks like a scorcher without the wet relief.

    So glad Poplar Springs and residents got coverage in the Washington Post too!

    • Deb July 17, 2012 at 7:16 pm

      Well, Roxanne’s swim in the duck pond only happened because she escaped the pig yard! They have a stream that runs through the pig yard, and they spend a lot of time there, or in the mud puddle in the main part of the pig yard. So, they do have access to lots of water and mud even without the duck pond!

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