Quilcene: 32 acres being transformed into animal haven

QUILCENE — When she was a little girl, Sara Peterman was always bringing home animals that were lost or injured.

Now, with the help of family and friends, she is turning 32 acres near Quilcene into a home for abused and unwanted animals — dogs, cats, rabbits, birds, horses — who are down to their last straw.

“I like all animals and like taking care of them,” Peterman says.

“I couldn’t pick one type of animal to work with. They all come in, all need rescuing.”

Peterman is a veterinary technician who works at Chimacum Valley Veterinary Hospital. There, the staff routinely takes abused pets brought in to be euthanized and gives them a second chance at life.

But after they recover, the animals who require special care or are elderly have a hard time finding someone to adopt them.

“I ended up taking them all home,” Peterman said.

“Every time I did, I told my husband, ‘We’ve got to do something about this.’

One day he looked at me and said: ‘Why don’t you just do it, Sara?”‘

So three years ago, she did.

No-kill shelter

Her idea — a no-kill shelter where unwanted animals would be assured of a place to live out their lives.

Called Second Chance Ranch, it now exists as a network of foster homes that serve as an interim solution.

“I have horses at Eaglemount Road, donkeys at Mats Mats Bay, dog and kitty foster homes in Port Ludlow and a foster kitty home in Port Hadlock,” Peterman says.

“I work 40-plus hours at the clinic and take care of animals all over the county.”

But Peterman’s dream of a permanent home for unwanted pets is shaping up.

Six months ago, her parents, who live in Kirkland, helped Peterman and her husband, Joe, buy 32 acres three miles north of Quilcene on Center Road.

Logged a year ago, the property, with its stumps and debris-strewn ground, looked as scraggly as some of the animals she’s rescued.

Crew of volunteers

This summer, she and her crew of volunteers — mostly friends and family — started clearing slash and marked off the wetland along the creek that runs through the property.

They planted 800 trees in a buffer zone along the creek, seeded 10 acres in grass and had two ponds built.

“All this will be pasture,” Peterman says, indicating the landscape.

“We’ll have horses, donkeys, llamas — we’re open to taking about anything as long as we have a spot for it.”

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