Rooterville Animal Sanctuary

One of my favorite and most memorable moments of 2017 was when I had the opportunity to visit Rooterville Animal Sanctuary in Melrose, Florida. Since I live in south Florida, near Miami, it made for a small road trip through most of the state. Melrose is in the northern/central area of Florida (near Gainsville) so you can imagine the rural vibe, green pastures, and ranches. Unfortunately, of course, farm life also comes with a bunch of “Fresh BBQ” spots and butchers scattered around town. So it was nice and kind of cool to see an all vegan farm animal sanctuary amidst the craziness, doing their best to educate people and challenge the status quo.


When we finally arrived at the sanctuary we were greeted by a handful of the roaming pigs on the other side of the property gate. I could barely control my excitement as you can see in the photo below (don’t mind my ridiculous/untamed eyebrows lol). I was astonished to see how the potbellied pigs looked miniature next to the gigantic farm hogs. These massive creatures looked so happy and just as excited to see us and get some extra love that day!


We walked through the front of the property to reach the main house for our tour and met with the founder/owner, Elaine West. She gave some basic rules and asked if we were vegan? Since we said yes, she asked if it were okay that she skip giving us the tour because a cold front was about to come down and herself and her staff were busy working hard to make sure the animals would be warm, fed and happy. She explained that most of the tour is talking about why a vegan diet and lifestyle is important and kind of exposing real facts about how factory farms actually function. She wanted to make sure we were educated on the topic before rushing to take care of her beloved animals. Elaine was wonderful and let us know we can walk around, read some signs and interact with the animals for as long as we wanted.


Rooterville 14 (1 of 1)

We started off hanging out with some more pigs. There are so many! The pigs are hilarious at trying to get our attention. They loved photos and selfies and would randomly roll over for a belly rub. A couple of the alphas were a bit more territorial picking fights with smaller pigs who just wanted attention as well. The funny part is that when fights break out the tiniest little dogs, Gracie and Ginger, would come out, break up the fight with their barking and heard each pig in a different direction. This was so adorable and brilliant! They were classic, yet miniature farm dogs on a mission! As you can see from these heart-melting photos, they were also extremely spoiled babies who secretly also wanted attention LOL. Read about their rescue story here!



Apart from the famous pigs, Rooterville is home to many other exploited farm animals such as chickens and roosters, goats, cows, miniature horses, and turkeys. The property at its start was 5 acres and now has grown to 30 acres, meaning these lovely animals have a good amount of space to live the lives they deserve and we had quite an experience watching them. As we made it over to where the majestic cows hung out we seemed to connect with one of them specifically. Tinsel, the beautiful black, and white cow, was so sweet and tender. We patted his sides and scratched his chin while looking into his pretty eyes and all I could see was love and comfort. He was happy to be there hanging out with us! His companion, Holly was busy munching on some food and did not want any distractions! Read how Tinsel avoided becoming veal and how Holly avoided becoming a dairy cow here!



If you’ve never been around goats you are missing out! Their personalities are like none other, always messing around, making strange noises, and eating EVERYTHING! Look at that guy just chillin on his throne (photo above)! Doodle, the miniature horse was just a curious little thing following us around the fence but scoffing at us because let’s face it, he is wayyyyy too good for us, mere human mortals! LOL

Rooterville 12 (1 of 1)

Rooterville 11 (1 of 1)

In all seriousness, going to Rooterville was an incredible experience and I was extremely impressed by the way they run the sanctuary and the way they hope to educate locals and visitors. They tell stories about the animals they save, showing people where they come from and how they deserve to live. They teach compassion and are straightforward about the facts and what each and every one of us can do immediately to literally save so many lives. If you did not know about Rooterville, you do now and I urge you to visit their website to learn more. Hopefully, someday you will get the chance to visit them in Melrose and experience the magic of safe, happy, and loved animals!


Rooterville 1 (1 of 1)

As our time at Rooterville came to a close we thanked Elaine and the staff for what they do and made our way back to the car. Ozzie, the ½ Anatolian – ½ Great Pyrenees, walked us out and basically waved us goodbye as we drove off in a happy daze.

Rooterville 10 (1 of 1)

Published by


Hello internet world! My name is Jess and I welcome you to my experimental, hopefully long-lasting and successful vegan food blog! Eleven months ago (September 2016), I made the decision to discontinue my carnivorous ways and change to a mostly plant-based diet. As a month or so past, I figured why not try this whole "vegan" thing and completely cut out not only flesh, but dairy, eggs, and any other animal bi-products from my diet and lifestyle. I am now coming up on a year since my journey began and I feel better than ever! This lifestyle choice is extremely beneficial for so many reasons including personal health, the environment and of course loving instead of eating and mistreating our fellow earthlings. Prior to making my positively life-changing decision I had always had the thought of doing it in the back of my mind. Coming from a Hispanic family and culture where multiple forms of meat are crucial to every meal, I never thought I could actually really commit to it long-term. Once I dove in to this challenge I realized it really wasn't even a massive challenge and every day after a delicious meal I thought to myself, "Hey this isn't bad at all!" The purpose of this blog is to highlight the abundance of vegan-friendly products that are out there and how I included them in my every day, easy to make meals during my transition and even now. I've always been a food lover and am eager to indulge in tasteful meals, snacks and desserts. So whether you are vegan already, interested in becoming one but don't know where to start, or you are just curious to experience the awesomeness of vegan foods, TURN ON your vegan self and check out these amazing options that are just waiting to be made by YOU!

One thought on “Rooterville Animal Sanctuary

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s