Thursday, March 19, 2015

Biting the Hand that Feeds Us

I know there is this saying about not "biting the hand that feeds you". But what if that hand doesn't feed you enough to survive? What if a creature is being downright starved to death? It's very sad for the animal in question. Selling handmade Waldorf dolls on Etsy, one feels a little bit like a starving exotic animal these days. Luckily, I don't solely rely on that income but I know there are some folks who do, and I feel very sad for them. You may wonder what do wild animals have in common with artists selling their crafts on Etsy? To understand my analogy you may want to read April Winchell's article from March 17th, 2015. As always April hits the nail on the head.

To get a break from work, school, and obsessing over my non-sales on Etsy, our family took a little trip to The Wild Animal Sanctuary located near Keenesburg, CO yesterday.

 What is it?

quoting from the brochure we were given:
"Take a walk on wild side as you stroll over 350 Lions, Tigers, Bears, Wolves, and other large Carnivores on one of the longest and most unique elevated pedestrian walkways in the world. The Wild Animal Sanctuary, located 30 miles northeast of Denver, recently completed construction on its monumental "Mile into the Wild" walkway."

The young woman who gave us the intro to the facility told us that there are currently 400 animals living there. All of the animals at the facility have been rescued from situations where they were kept by people under the most deplorable conditions. One wonders what kind of person would keep an exotic animal chained up in their backyard? Or there was the story of animals living on the back of a pick-up or others living in small crates. It was hard listening to these stories of terrible abuse and suffering. How could people do these things to such beautiful creatures?

We walked above the fenced in areas where the animals live now. Usually they start out in smaller fenced in spaces and cages, that are more like what they are used to in their previous life. All of the animals were born in captivity so they don't know about hunting. It was kind of amusing to see herds of bunnies hopping around among the lions and tigers who couldn't care less about them. The rescued animals are circus animals, zoo animals, or many of them were held as pets. As the animals recover and grow acclimated they get moved to bigger habitats where they learn to live together in groups.

It took us about an hour and a half to walk the whole distance of the elevated walkway. We stopped many times to look, listen, and marvel at the beauty of what we saw. At one point the lions in one of the larger fenced in areas started calling to one another. I think there were 3 different prides living together in that particular enclosed area. One male started roaring and then another male lion responded to his call saying something back. Soon enough a third guy chimed in with a message to the others. And all of a sudden it was like a concert of lions their sounds reverberating around us. I have no words to describe that moment. Amazing and wonderful don't cut it. If you are ever in the vicinity or if you live in Colorado you  MUST visit The Wild Animal Sanctuary. I am not too fond of zoos and caged animals. But this place is different. It's a happy place. A peaceful place. And I find if kind of funny how all these wild animals have found paradise on the Prairie.

Maybe some day the handmade artists on Etsy will find a new home like those lions and tigers did. Dear Etsy, I am sorry if my blog post bites you, but you have not kept the promise from when I first joined the site, and I know a bunch of artists who would make a run for it if someone started a sanctuary for us.


Marianne Cook said...

Yes, I really loved Etsy, I found the perfect place to try and sell my stuff, but that was 4 years ago. If there was anywhere else, I'd be out of the door like a flash.

germandolls said...

Hey Marianne, thanks for stopping by my blog! I think the first step down they took was when they allowed vintage items. I'll never forget that day day when I saw a seller of second hand crap as "featured artist". I though, what the heck? Is this a joke? How can they call someone an artist who is reselling used items?

woolies said...

I remember when I first found Etsy in 2007. I thought I had found Nirvana. Really a shame that they sold out - but isn't it always about the almighty dollar? And how quickly you can get it? If they had just kept to the original plan, allowing artists to sell their art, what an amazing place it would have been.

germandolls said...

Hey Sara, I truly hope that somebody will have the smarts to build such a place for us artists. There must be a way....