Little Rainbow Sanctuary is built from decades of animal rescues and the experience of volunteering with many rescue and sanctuary efforts around the globe.
My name is Greg Edge, caring for the less fortunate is my passion.
Since a very young age I have wanted to care for animals both human and non. It’s not about goals or objectives, but our obligation to others. From small birds who could not fly nor eat on their on to an injured raccoon, I attempted to care for them the best I could.
At the age of ten I saw a small black object floating in the water near me. After a few seconds I realized this was a dog that was barely able to hold his nose out of the water. I quickly got into my tiny boat and paddled towards him, but he tried to flee. I finally caught him and tied him to the side of the boat. Due to him being bloated and filled with saltwater I was unable to lift him. I ran to a neighbor and together we brought him to shore. This was my first hands on rescue. At the time the feelings were not recognized nor defined, but I now know that I felt peace in knowing one life was spared.
A few short years later I was diagnosed with e-coli and was told it most likely came from dairy or beef, yet I should not eat tomatoes nor vinegar. Even at the young age of 14 this diagnosis made no sense to me. If the e-coli came from dairy and beef then I shouldn’t eat them. So at 14 I began a path to become vegetarian. At the age of 17 I graduated high school and felt I needed to make decisions for myself without the guidance of parents or the adults around me. I was very much into the Straight Edge scene which had strong vegan messages. So on June 9th 1991 I became vegan and never looked back.
To become vegan and being conscious of what you eat and purchase not only affects the physical body, but the mind and spirit as well. You see the life of all beings as equal to your own. You attempt to not take for granted the efforts of others to support the life on this planet. Whether it be the process of making a piece of paper or the mode of transportation you choose. The conscious choice to become vegan is a positive, life altering experience; not a diet, not a lifestyle.
At the same time I chose to dedicate myself to being vegan I began to work with Food Not Bombs. The simple structure and ideology of Food Not Bombs appealed to me in many ways. Simply put Food Not Bombs is giving healthy food that others throw away, to those less fortunate. A clean cut white kid can walk into a Whole Foods and ask for the left overs and cut offs from the kitchen where as a person of color with what society considers lesser attire, can not do the same. This was making the unjust privilege system work in the favor of those less fortunate. This system works just as easily for those without shelter and food as it does for those without the normal rights of a straight, white male. Times have changed since the early nineties, yet we can manage to uplift others by using our wit and compassion.
Many years passed with the attitude of just being vegan was enough. I became worn out with my consumption and a few rescue dogs as my only example of compassion. Along the same time the disaster of September 11th (coincidentally my birthday) happened and I felt the urge to do something. To me this tragedy was not a reason to hate a religion nor a culture of people, yet a call to help humanity and show that together we are stronger than any organized religion or government. So I left my job and went to New York City alone to do whatever I could. I spent most of my time washing the feet of the search and rescue dogs with a small group from Mexico. This gave me an example of what people should be doing with our time and efforts.
Four years later I found myself close to New Orleans just after Katrina hit. I began to collect crates and kennels to sneak into the closed off zones severely hit by this hurricane. I pretended to be a photographer for an insurance firm and would sneak food and kennels in covered in my trunk or back seat. All I had was a camera in my passenger seat and a fake business card I made on a copier. The turmoil of corporate, government organizations competing with non profits to get that 15 minutes of fame was heart breaking. I worked with a small grassroots organization that hit the streets day and night; feeding and collecting the stray animals in order to secure their safety.
This experience opened my eyes to the dirty money in the business of charity. My grandfather often told me of his disdain for the Red Cross due to them charging soldiers in world war II for a cup of coffee and a slice of bread. I reminded of his words every time I see blood drives and salvation army bell ringers.
These experiences instilled the values that lead me to not ask for money to build my house, which will be on the sanctuary. Nor will I ask for money for a new office. I am a volunteer on my own accord within my own organization. Not a paid employee.
In 2009 I planned to make an all vegan sanctuary tour by bike trough out the United States. In preparation for this life altering trip I road along with several Farm Sanctuary employees and volunteers along the Chuck 300. Chuck 300 was a ride and walk from Washington, DC to Watkins Glen, NY to raise awareness about cancer which our friend Chuck was surviving. Upon our arrival at Farm Sanctuary I was honored with the Farm Animal Friend award for my dedication to the animals through photography and rescue/transport efforts.
A few weeks after the Chuck 300 I was hit by a truck and broke my ankle. This left me unable to heal and leave in time for my planned sanctuary bike tour. With that strike against me I used my efforts to rescue and transport as many animals as I could to safe homes. I worked alongside almost every sanctuary on the east coast and many cat and dog rescues to bring animals to safety. From dogs in kill shelters, to lambs thrown in the trash of kill markets, I was able to see the renewal of an animal considered a product to a happy healthy livelihood. There is no greater satisfaction than seeing such transformation first hand.
Along the same time I chose to move into a school bus which allowed me to spend more on transports by not paying rent as well as a large vehicle to transport with. Two years I spent living in the bus and later squatting in abandoned buildings in order to save for more worthy efforts. This effort to not spend money on rent allowed me to rescue over 300 animals in 2009.
One of the largest open rescues in New York City was of fighting cocks that NYPD and ASPCA were dumping in a parking lot and leaving a lot attendant to care for this. The NYPD and ASPCA chose to dump these birds here rather than enter them as evidence in which they would ultimately be euthanized. A strange circumstance of wanting to care for the birds, but not giving them the best care or facilities to live.
In 2011 I had the chance to work as a vet tech in the Galapagos. This experience opened my eyes to new relationships between non human and human animals. Dogs run through the street with no care of humans around, yet when they bring an animal to the vet they want to watch and assist with all efforts to heal the animals.
Galapagos gave me a place and time to reflect on the human damage of this planet. We too often think we are trying to save the world by caring for animals or becoming vegan. In all honesty we are only trying to save humanity. This planet, most of these species, will live happily long after we have self destructed.
Once returning to New York from Galapagos I worked diligently to save money to buy land. My heart has always pulled towards the mountains of North Carolina and specifically the Asheville area. The community of Asheville feels open to plant based living and compassion towards those considered less fortunate.
November of 2011 I was able to purchase 5 acres in the mountains of Western North Carolina, just 30 minutes East of Asheville. The process has been slow but worth every second. September 11, 2015 I broke ground to build my tiny house and ultimately a barn which I can utilize to rescue animals.
Please follow our story as this sanctuary grows to a place of tranquility for both human and non human animals.