LONDON GROVE -- The dreams of a little boy are blossoming into full flower in the form of Chenoa Manor, an animal sanctuary owned and operated by veterinarian Rob Teti. There on a 25-acre farm that sits on the line between London Grove and New Garden, about 230 animals live in peace, never having to worry again about predators, the slaughter house or starvation.
Teti, even at a very early age, has loved animals. During those early years he imagined that someday he would be able to create an environment that would save those who were victims of hoarding, abuse, neglect, drug testing or national disasters. Today that dream is reality.
About 10 years ago, Teti, 41, bought the farm and began to take in needy animals. They ran the gamut: horses, dogs, rabbits, turkeys, llamas, cows, pigs and more.
As time went by, he constructed a network of fences and, for animals that might fall prey to predators, safe enclosures. He hosted students as interns and fixed up the old barn on the property for art projects.
In recent years he has established regularly scheduled weekend tours, during which people can come, hear the story of the rescues and see the animals, which are quite friendly toward adults and each other. He also has monthly training sessions for prospective volunteers.
This past Sunday, 15 people who had signed up for tours were met at the front gate and taken on the tour.
Matt, a volunteer there said he was exposed to the farm when he was in a highly structured academic environment, and the farm was the complete opposite. 'It was so relaxed; it was outside. Now I want to be a veterinarian.'
Tour leader Adam Glass at first led his tour group beside an open field of horses, cows and donkeys. Each had a name. One cow named Jamal came to the fence to greet the visitors and position himself for patting on the nose. Meanwhile, a large tortoise ambled by, and the tour members asked, 'Don't they get away?'
'They always stay. Once they arrive here, they are here for life,' Glass said.
Before they are allowed to mix with the other animals on the farm, they are checked for their health and quarantined. Then, they are released to mix with the others, Glass added.
A short time after the tour began, the visitors became engaged with the donkeys, horses and cows.
Rhonda and Vanessa, who were visiting Pennsylvania from California, said they are interested in animal sanctuaries and found Chenoa Manor online and decided to sign up for the tour.
Asked how she liked the place, Rhonda said, 'Its cooler than I expected.'
They walked past the pen that housed the geese, rabbits, birds and chickens. There, in bright colors, was a fighting cock interacting quite calmly with the other birds.
Glass said it had been roaming the streets of Wilmington, was reported and eventually brought to the farm. Apparently wary of the fighting life, the rooster was living peacefully living out its life in close company with some geese that had been saved from a foie gras farm.
Glass showed them the barn that is midway through restoration, and picked up some small turtles that made their home beside the building. Then he greeted a large parrot that the owners had to give up because it made too much noise.
Teti said things are going well, and several grants are giving support to expenses. He said he hopes to complete the barn and expand artistic activities.
On Aug. 16 at 11 a.m. there will be a mud-run race to raise funds for Chenoa Manor in conjunction with Plexus Gym. Information for that is at chenoamanor.org.
Tours are opened once a month, and registration is available at the website. The price for adults is $25, and for children 10 and under, $10.