Arriving at Pepper’s Place was beautifully chaotic. The sound of chickens clucking, turkeys yelping, and parrots’ squawking filled the air. I received a warm welcome from Cynthia White and Tifani Holt, the co-founders of the small sanctuary. While getting set up in the living room, the Parrot’s Rio and Maxine had time to check me out, seeing as it was their headquarters. I was astonished at the beautiful colors they each possessed, brighter and bolder than anything in the Crayola box. As Cynthia sat down for the interview, Rio perched himself on her knee to be front and center.
The sanctuary aims to heal people’s suffering as well as educate them on cruel animal practices, while in turn heal the suffering of abused animals.
Cynthia explained how Pepper’s Place started in October 2014, after her and her partner Tifani became vegan. Having had backyard chickens for six years prior, they wanted to learn more about issues around animals and industrial agriculture. They wanted to make a difference in the lives of animals that were abused, neglected, or used for purposes such as lab testing and feeding. After visiting other sanctuaries and gradually obtaining more animals, their vision became a reality.
“We wanted to find a niche, and there’s a real strong need for people to take small animals, and figuring based on our abilities and our skills, that would be a really good niche for us” Cynthia explains.
Currently, these animals include chickens, turkeys, rabbits, parrots, ducks, and turtles. She mentioned that they would be open to the idea of guinea pigs and other small animals like that, and they are looking into getting some goats to see if they will be a good fit. Cynthia’s face lit up when she said, “we would love to have mini horses, and each one has a story and why we would want them so that we can do the education and outreach.”
Every animal at Pepper’s Place was taken out of a bad living situation and is now able to enjoy life in a safe and loving environment. While going around to each animal, it was clear how much Cynthia connected with and appreciated each one individually. She explained that caring for animals and knowing what their needs are can in turn show humans what their own needs are for healing. The rabbit “Pepper” in which the sanctuary is named after has been to Sandy Hook Elementary School in order to help heal some of the children there. Pepper’s Place functions on the harmonious relationship between humans and animals. The sanctuary aims to heal people’s suffering as well as educate them on cruel animal practices, while in turn heal the suffering of abused animals.