My Name is Nicole Eden.
I always knew, somewhere, somehow that Eden Sanctuary would exist. I don't remember a time when I did not love animals. I would spend hours with our German Shepherds when I was little- my first word was the name of our dog!
When I was 10 I announced that I was going vegetarian and I never looked back. I have now been vegan for 9 years.
Around 4 years ago, my partner at the time said something that changed my life. He asked why I was not already living my dream of creating a sanctuary for the most abused, neglected and forgotten animals. I replied “because I don't have the money.” To which he responded, “If you wait for the money, it will never come, but if you do it, you will find the money.”
And thus, Eden Sanctuary was born.
My first rescue was Karma, a piglet who had fallen from a truck on the motorway, umbilical cord still attached. I lovingly raised Karma, who was feisty and a little crazy, by hand.
Quickly after came his best friend, Shanti, then orphaned lambs, Solly who was riddled with maggots and Star, both left to die by the farmer.
3 months in my partner at the time left. I really have no time for anything other than work (which I do freelance so that I can run the sanctuary) and the animals. You have to be a very specific kind of person to live life this way.
I felt way out of my depth and very alone out in the country, but I had promised these animals a life of freedom and I was determined to give it to them. When Karma became ill and died, I almost lost my hope. Before long the landlady began to make trouble and did not sign the papers so that I could legally keep the animals (although she had promised she would.)
By that time I had 17 animals. Some literally thrown in bins or released in parks, abandoned at properties after farmers who no longer had a use for them, moved and left them behind, Miss Piggy, a pig who had been brutally attacked by dogs and lost and ear and an eye, to name but a few. I could not let them down.
So with the help of a local estate agent, we found a place quickly and moved. I was assured that I would be safe for 5 years. We had the paperwork, a 5 year contract and a plan for me to get mortgage-ready in the last 18 months so I could get us a place where the animals could live long and happy lives, I could look after them and leave it to them when I am gone.
Since then more than 100 animals have passed through our gates and until 2021 I received little to no help.
In December 2020 I lost my job due to COVID and developed a VERY serious health problem that could have killed me. I was in A&E 12 times in 10 weeks. On December 20th I was lying in the cold at the end of the road in the most crippling pain I have ever felt in my life. All I could think of was the animals. Who would take care of them if I could not be there.
I was admitted to hospital and thankfully did not have to have surgery. They encouraged me to stay the night but I refused and was eventually released, still in a lot of pain. I was discharged at 4am and at 8 I was up, tending to the animals, as I have been everyday of their lives that they have spent with me.
In January I almost lost the sanctuary completely, there was no money, I had no job and I was sick. On the day I announced that I could no longer go on, I was just a shell of myself.
By some miracle the island came together and saved us.
We finally got all the fencing we needed, new shelters, volunteers, more monthly donations and things were running better than ever.
Then, 2 days before my birthday, I received a letter saying that we had to leave.
After a gruelling campaign, we raised enough money between investment/ loans and fundraising to sign the contract on the new, forever sanctuary. Two hours after we signed the contract I found out that my mum had terminal cancer and 3 weeks later, she passed away, 5 days before Christmas 2021.
My mum was the one who inspired me to put animals at the forefront of my life, and in her name I will continue to help them, as long as I live.
At the time of writing I take care of 57 animals of 11 species, and still work as a teacher. I have sacrificed a home of my own to make a home for them. Their home is secure, but we still need constant support.
Bills are high, we need a better system for power and we still need to build shelters, walls and fences as well as out volunteer area.
Anything you can give will help us so much, It will help to rescue more animals in danger and provide them with the happy, healthy and free life they deserve.
Go to donate or “adopt” one of our animals to pledge your support.
Thank you for all of your support, we could not exist without you.
Nicole and the animals xxx