Sanctuary Philosophy


Sanctuary is a haven for peace, dignity, and lifetime care. However, it is unlikely that any of the residents would be in sanctuary unless they had to.



Domesticated and exotic “pets” have had much of their ability to exercise freedom of choice (what psychologists refer to as agency) taken away. Humans have been inserted into their lives and it is usually humans who are put into the position of making profound decisions that affect the fates of captive animals. Our Sanctuary tries to balance respect for self-expression and agency with health and safety of the residents.


The Tortoises have special needs that require them to be cared for in captivity because their health and freedom have been taken from them as “pets.” The Rabbits are domesticated and therefore vulnerable to conditions that their wild counterparts are better suited. The sanctuary name, Tortoise and The Hare, is inspired not just after the old fable, but because the Rabbits are wild Hares at heart.


Because of our decision to create conditions for the Tortoises and Rabbits to enjoy long, healthy lives, we cannot provide complete freedom for these refugees. However, we strive to restore their dignity and joy for life by being in service to them and by providing habitat that promotes their natural lifestyle and exercise of self-determination as much as possible.


Our design and practice of sanctuary are grounded in The 10 Principles of Being Sanctuary. These principles, upon which our Being Sanctuary program is based, draw from the fields of trans-species psychology and trauma recovery which recognize that all animals possess capacities to think, feel, and experience consciousness as humans do. We provide rescue and lifetime care for those who come to sanctuary. We do not participate in reintroduction or promote birth of successive generations in captivity.


In addition to the principles described above, our sanctuary philosophy is rooted in the science and ethics of trans-species psychology as described in The Science of Being Sanctuary and in the following publications :