Jimmy was the driving force behind Skylands Sanctuary. Before Jimmy, Mike had been rescuing animals for other sanctuaries. He did have a small piece of land that was fenced in with work trucks. This is where he kept three rescued goats, a bull and a couple of other rescued animals.
Because he had begun to develop a reputation as a rescuer, Mike got a call from a woman and her daughter from Connecticut about a calf. The calf had been taken from his mother in Vermont on a dairy farm. He was less than an hour old and was placed in a plant nursery’s dog run to attract people to come to buy pumpkins.
The woman would stop to talk to the calf through the dog run fence and visited him on a regular basis. One day when she came by to visit again, the farmer there said to her, you should say goodbye because he won’t be here next time. He’s going to auction. The woman was surprised to hear that he was being auctioned and asked what for? The man said that they would likely slaughter him to use in dog food. He said, “You didn’t think he could live in a dog run forever, did you?” Astonished, she asked for more information. He said he paid $50 for him and that if she wanted him she could have him since it would cost half that much for the gas to take him to slaughter.
She wanted to take him very badly but she had nowhere to keep him… so her and her daughter called Mike. Mike thought he would take him to stay with the goats, just until he could find a better place for him. When he got to where he was, he was three weeks old 105 lbs, lethargic would not stand on his own. His front knees were very hot and swollen which Mike knew was evidently from infection. He quickly brought him home and into his basement and spent the entire night with him there.
In the morning, Mike took him to Cornell Veterinary Hospital and was told that he had septic arthritis. The condition was caused by not receiving enough colostrum from his mother’s milk which had left him weak and susceptible to infection. They said that in their opinion, he should be put down. They suggested that he wouldn’t be able to afford the care and that he wouldn’t live long anyway.
Mike decided that he just couldn’t do that and he was determined to save him. He had him admitted to the hospital where Jimmy stayed for six and a half weeks. Eventually, they made him his own unique concoction of antibiotics that killed the infection. The only problem now was that Mike couldn’t find a home for him. He was too sick had too many expenses for someone else to want to take him on. He was the first large animal that Mike just couldn’t find a home for.
Putting him with the goats was okay temporarily, but it wasn’t a big enough space and was way too rocky for him. Mike had to find a place for Jimmy to live a long happy life! So he was the inspiration to buy the farm that became Skyland’s Sanctuary… all so that Jimmy would have a place to live a good life with others of his kind. Mike says, “He was the boss. I work for Jimmy.” <3