On New Year’s Day, Kurt Andernach’s dog, Kolija, walked to the front door with a large open wound in his back leg. “There was such a look of sadness on his face. The vet said that he must have been in excruciating pain.”
Kurt picked up Kolija and brought him to the vet. The dog’s back leg was shattered, most likely from a bullet shot at close range. Titanium rods hold his leg in place and it will take about six to eight months to heal. When I visited Kurt at the sanctuary, Kolija stood up, rods and all, and greeted me. The cost for the surgery was $14,000.
Kurt Andernach is the founder and main caretaker of the And-Hof Animal Sanctuary for Animals-Permaculture, a fifty acre preserve in the Catskills outside of Leeds in Greene County. About 300 rescued animals roam freely. There are brightly-colored peacocks on the roof of the chicken coop. Pigs, goats, and dogs wander the grounds and ducks splash in the stream.
“The ducks are Muscovy ducks from Long Island. Someone dumped about eighty-five ducks in a field for fox food.” Kurt traveled to Long Island and rescued many of the ducks, who now happily play in the pond. Roosters, often discarded, find their way to the sanctuary. “Since there’s plenty of room, they are not as territorial,” says Kurt. The animals’ mental health is important at And-Hof. The animals are allowed to be themselves, and their personalities, be it a pig or a turkey, shine through.
Freely-roaming animals are part of the sanctuary’s permaculture education mission. “The goats eat the brush to help prevent wildfires, and the pigs root up and turn over the soil,” adds Kurt. And-Hof is not only a place where discarded animals find a home, but it is an ideal habitat where humans and animals live in balance, with respect and kindness, in our natural world.
Please help contribute to Kolija’s medical bills. Here is the link to the gofundme account. If you would like to donate to the And-Hof Animal Sanctuary, or learn more about what they do, please visit their website.