There is a new animal rescue organization in town.
Karuna — Sanskrit for compassion — is located on Bald Hills Road not far from Orick. It’s a large-animal rescue and sanctuary started recently by Paula Ray, who has lived in Humboldt County for about 17 years.
So far, Karuna has taken in eight horses, one yak and a llama. Another horse and several more llamas are arriving soon. Right now, the rescue is being run by Ray, with help from Judith Wilson, who owns the expansive property where Karuna is located.
“It’s 192 acres … surrounded by parkland and is absolutely beautiful. She offered me the space for the rescue,” said Ray, who is originally from England, then lived on the East Coast before heading out West.
“I worked … in Princeton, New Jersey with horses for seven years and loved it,” Ray said. “Then, I had my horses until my last horse died about nine years ago. Always in my mind, it’s been I’ll go back to that one way or another.”
Several years ago, Ray came up with an idea to work with — and help out — local animals in need.
“I’m vegan, a pretty strict vegan, and it’s really hard to go out to eat with my friends,” she said. “My original idea was if I could find a small space and start a little vegan café and with the funds from the vegan café going to the other local animal rescues. I’ve been watching things on the news, in the paper, about the way animals are treated in some circumstances locally and it was really playing heavily on my mind. Maybe I could be a fundraiser.”
When she couldn’t find a suitable spot for a vegan café, Ray decided to “jump ahead” and found a new animal rescue and sanctuary for large animals, such as horses, cows and other bigger critters.
“We’re not planning on dogs and cats,” she said. “There are a lot of people doing great work with that, and we’re not set up for that.”
Right now, Ray works full time running her construction company and also operates the rescue with assistance from Wilson. Ray — who is president of Karuna’s four-person board of directors — will soon be applying for nonprofit status, with hopes of then obtaining funding to run the rescue. Several community members have already made donations to assist animals, said Ray.
“It’s so beautiful up there and we have the space to help a lot of animals,” she said. “We just have to be able to get some funding in place.
“Any donations, materials and supplies would be very gratefully received,” said Ray, who will soon be setting up a Karuna GoFundMe page as well.
Since word of the animal rescue has come out, Ray has been contacted regularly by concerned citizens and others regarding animals needing assistance.
“I wasn’t planning on taking animals yet until I had all my ducks in a row … but I started getting calls,” she said.
She added: “We’re not there to take animals that somebody’s bored with and can’t be bothered to find a home for.”
Some animals that come to Karuna will be cared for and eventually adopted into new homes. Others will live at the sanctuary on-site for the duration of their lives, amid meadows, trees and a pond.
Ray hopes that Karuna will not only be a place for animals, but will also become a community gathering place — with picnic spots, glamping sites and more, with any proceeds raised going to help animals. Ray also hopes to find volunteers who’d like to give of their time.
“We really want it to be a community thing,” Ray said. “We would love it if people would come up, walk on the property, groom horses, shovel (poop). We want them to feel a part of it and that it belongs to everybody.”
For more information about Karuna, email Ray at email@example.com.