His love of animals causes him a great deal of discomfort: he can be seen by his swollen lips, the red patches on his neck and chest, his tired and puffy eyes and his breathless voice. And yet, his severe allergy to animals has not prevented him from saving hundreds of them.
“I am simply highly allergic to animals. All animals except chickens,” Caitlin Stewart told The Dodo. She has loved animals since she was a child, so much so that she surrounds herself with them every day, even if it costs her many skin reactions. By opening an animal sanctuary in 2012, the Rancho Relaxo, Stewart has saved hundreds of animals from miserable living conditions.
“When I started working with animals, I knew I was going to pay dearly for my skin, that I would have severe allergic reactions. But what they do to my mind outweighs my health problems,” she adds. The first animal she saved was a wild horse. It was a painful lesson as the horse kicked her and threw her over the fence.
Even so, she saved another horse and then bought a small farm in New Jersey. She then rescued dogs, cats, rabbits, chickens, goats, turkeys and sheep. And yet, even though her allergy has become a little more bearable, it is still there and causes her a lot of suffering, including many severe asthma attacks. And even hospitalization. And yet Caitlin has never stopped putting her life at the service of animals.
Today, Rancho Relaxo is a small farm that she runs alongside her companion and her father. Together, they have saved hundreds of animals. But her goal doesn’t stop there. Caitlin has ambitions: she wants to expand the farm, building a fence and bigger barns. More animals and therefore more suffering. But for Stewart, this seems to be the price of compassion. And she seems very happy to pay it.
Her animal sanctuary is non-profit and runs solely on donations. Feel free to visit her Instagram.