HOW IT ALL BEGAN | Indraloka Animal Sanctuary

A Beacon in the Distance:


Ashley was a beautiful little girl, taking delight in helping others, and bubbling over with joy when the people that she loved were happy. But that same delightful caring and sensitivity also meant that she felt others’ pain, angst, and sadness just as deeply.

Ashley’s father, in particular, was filled with many dark and sad feelings, and he just couldn’t find his way out. He turned to alcohol to numb the pain, but it haunted him until it escaped through his mouth in the form of words that cut, words that bled. Her mother would take to her bed and cry for hours after one of these outbursts.

Every time it happened, Ashley vowed to do better. She was sure that if she just took care of her father, made sure he knew he was loved, and kept everything quiet and clean and peaceful at home, he wouldn’t have to drink anymore. At the same time, Ashley fought hard to hold back the darkness that threatened to tamp out the sparkle in her mother’s eyes.

It was a heavy burden to carry for a sensitive little girl. There wasn’t much time to be a child. Her parents were so lost in their own suffering,they didn’t notice as the light in Ashley’s eyes start to fade.

Girl petting a black and white cow over a fence on a pasture. More people, cows and forest in the background

She grew even more beautiful as she entered her teens, yet the darkness that threatened both of her parents continued to creep towards her, continuing to slowly dim the light of love and hope in her heart. Others noticed her vulnerability, and it wasn’t long before the predators circled.

Soon, Ashley was an adult, having twice been sexually assaulted by people she had trusted. She felt only darkness in her heart where love and light once bloomed so naturally.

The pain grew and grew until, one day, someone offered her a little something to make it go away. Before she knew it, the innocent little girl who only wanted others to feel joy was a full-fledged addict.

She knew she was playing with fire every time she sunk the needle into her flesh, but honestly, she didn’t care. She just needed to stop feeling.

“It’s been a rough patch for our family and I thought Indraloka would be the perfect place to leave some of my worries behind. It’s wonderful here, being in an ecosystem of unconditional love and connecting to that love. This is a healing, spiritual experience.” 
Amanda Sewatsky-Frederick, participant with her 8-yearold daughter, Althea, in Indraloka’s Nurture & Nourish program

A downward spiral can happen quickly. What once gave feelings of euphoria or numbness is now needed just to get through a day, an hour, each moment. Slowly, the person you once were fades into the background–trapped inside an inescapable sadness where all positive feelings cease to exist. No two spirals are the same. For some, it’s one day waking up and realizing you no longer find joy in simple pleasures. Or the person you love most in the world is gone. Or even as simple as wondering how time had passed so quickly when you hadn’t noticed. Whatever it is, where you are is not where you want to be. It was at that moment Ashley found the animals.

Ashley is not alone.

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