Who Are We?
What Is Our Purpose?
Sudie Belle Animal Sanctuary Safe Habitat, Inc., located in the foothills of Northeast Georgia, is a 28-acre life-changing destination for homeless G.I. Veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as home to an assortment of pets and farm animals left abandoned ... forgotten ... discarded like trash on the highway. Our sanctuary offers hope -- love -- purpose -- and shelter as the battle-tested G.I.'s care for and train these animals. Together, both the G.I.'s and the animals form an unbreakable bond of loving and caring for each other.
Here the healing process for both man and beast begins. These abandoned, abused, and forgotten animals at the sanctuary share a need with their forgotten soldier counterparts for shelter, love and affection.
Sudie Belle is run by Torrance, a 68-year-old curmudgeon veteran diagnosed with cancer, and Carol, a writer and devoted lover of animals.
The G.I.'s help the sanctuary find sources of income for feed and veterinarian care as they scour the countryside for vintage, collectible, and rare items to auction. The vets learn life skills in animal welfare, off-the-grid shelter construction, auction skills, and basic farm applications in exchange for a stable environment and housing.
Who are these G.I. Veterans? At this time we're wading through the red tape with the Veterans Administration to find the ones who will fill these positions, while at the same time fill a need within themselves to once again belong, to once again feel worthwhile and needed. They will be G.I.'s who fought to defend our country, yet somehow didn't fit in once they returned to their home turf. On any given night 107,000 American veterans who fought for our freedom are on the streets ... homeless ... no place to lay their weary heads other than a cardboard box or an abandoned building or car. These are the veterans who know loneliness, who feel dejection, and who see nothing but hopelessness around the next corner. They're the ones who will share those same feelings of loneliness, despair, and rejection with our homeless animals, which nationwide number over 400,000 on any given night. With only a kind word or a touch, an animal can be rehabilitated and made to feel safe, wanted, needed, necessary. Sometimes it takes a little longer for the G.I. Vet. Since an animal offers unconditional love, our goal is to incorporate these two worlds and form a lasting bond between animal and man. It's a win-win situation for both.
Who are these animals?
... Talk about survival skills? Ask Ruthie, a 15-year-old female donkey with war stories of her own came to Sudie Belle from a donkey rescue group in Michigan. They found her with hooves so overgrown she couldn't walk, a victim of abuse in her former life.
... Want to know what it's like to depend on others in a unit for your survival? Ask Hunky, a gentle spotted miniature donkey who lost his mother within a few days of his birth and had to be bottle-fed every two hours to survive.
... Ever wonder what it's like to find safety in a foreign land? Ask Rusty, a brindle Plott Hound puppy - starving, cold to the bone and abandoned - who scurried across a dangerous donkey pasture on the eve of the worst Georgia snow storm in 20 years, seeking warmth, kindness, and food in an unkind and cruel world.
... What happens when your unit disappears? Perhaps Baby Bee knows. Baby Bee's feral mother came once a day to Sudie Belle for a bowl of food. When the perils of living wild caught up with her and she disappeared, Baby Bee, all two pounds of her, followed the scent of her mother's trail to food at Sudie Belle on Thanksgiving Day, 2009.
... Want to talk about multiple deployments? Ask Millie, a 9-year-old miniature donkey rescued from a breeding farm where she spent the first six years of her life in a 4'x4' enclosure, forced to produce one baby after another, only to have them taken from her when they were a mere 12 weeks old so she could be bred again. She arrived at Sudie Belle afraid of being touched or loved, having never had a kind word from anyone at the donkey mill.
These are war stories that come without a voice...stories that perhaps can only be understood by those who have faced death and survival on nature's terms, a code that entails no forgiveness for mistakes. Our soldiers have something in common with the animals at Sudie Belle in that once they had purpose, but in a wink of an eye find themselves abandoned on rural roads, left to fend for themselves. The only difference is the veterans can give voice to what it feels like to be loved, have purpose and then be abandoned. The animals cannot.
Homeless Veterans at the sanctuary will give a voice to:
... Stripes, a female kitten so tiny when we found her that she had to be bottle-fed, picked up out of the road where she and her two brothers had been left abandoned to starve to death. Her brothers did not survive the ordeal.
... Samantha, a mixed breed puppy left by the side of the road to fend for herself at the tender age of 6 weeks -- alone, hungry.
... Bo, less than a year old, covered with mange, fleas, and ticks with ribs showing through his mottled fur.
... Bubba, an Australian Cattle dog, abandoned for reasons unknown, who found his way to Sudie Belle, begging a ride in the golf cart and desperately in need of food and water.
... LuLu, the current queen of golf cart riding, a solid white cat that arrived at Sudie Belle when she was about 4 months old. She found her way to safety amid the road kill of a busy highway where truckers, loaded with granite from a neighboring town, show no regard for the speed limit of 55 MPH.
... Lacy, near death, arrived at the farm with a huge hole in the side of her neck. Wild and afraid of humans, she finally allowed herself to be captured for a trip to the vet, where she was nursed back to health and now is a loving handful.
... Boo, an 18-pound house cat rescued from a trip to the animal shelter where he faced the possibility of being euthanized if not adopted by a loving family within two weeks.
... Baby Girl, a German pointer, rescued from death just hours before the remainder of her siblings were drowned by an uncaring and unmerciful owner.
... Dawg, a 110-pound Rottweiler, whose mother came to Sudie Belle on a rainy day and three years later disappeared on another rainy day.
... Wonder Girl, a mixed breed dog who survived Parvo as she watched the rest of her six siblings die from the dreaded disease.
Follow Torrance and Carol as they untangle the maze of government programs and elected leaders to recruit these veterans, tell their stories and offer these chosen few a new life of purpose.