Sunset Sanctuary

Yesterday I wrote of some brainstorming my friends and I engaged in as we discussed how we were going to remain independent as we aged. Turning 50 in 86 days has me facing the fact that I won’t feel 30 forever. This morning I read a post asking the question: If you had no family obligations and unlimited resources, what would you do? It made me realize that Sunset Place is more a practical solution than a dream solution.

My dream solution would be Sunset Sanctuary. My vision of Sunset Sanctuary is based on Cleveland Amory’s Black Beauty Ranch.

image Black Beauty Ranch consists of 1300 acres located about 80 miles southeast of Dallas. It was founded in 1979 by Cleveland Amory, who was an American author and animal rights advocate. image

imageThe sanctuary is home to 1400 domestic and exotic anmials, including horses, llamas, chimpanzees, tigers, bison, ostrich, elephants, kangaroos, burros, pigs, cows, camels, emus, bobcats, iguanas, rhesus macaques, cats, and dogs.

They were rescued from research laboraties, agriculture, and the “entertainment” industry, among others. Many of the animals were abused and in need of veterinary care. Most of all, they were in need of serenity. The ranch is not a zoo. Cleveland Armory said, “These animals are not to be looked at. They are to be looked after.”

Taking Cleveland Armory’s vision a step further, if I had unlimited resources, I would make the sanctuary a place for friends to live as they grow old. I’d provide medical care for both man and beast. Together my friends and I would care for the animals. And for each other. And we would borrow the motto of Black Beauty Ranch, which visitors pass under as they come and go:

image“I have nothing to fear. And here my story ends. My troubles are all over, and I am at home.”


  • oh wonderful idea! there would be a need to have both a vet and a people doctor that would provide services for all the residents that give to each other!
    excellent thoughts


  • That is a wonderful place! I was listening to NPR the other day, or week, and they were talking about the shortage of such places for animals that have been in labs. The world needs more people like you!


  • Great ideas here but we fear that this type of man and beast combination ultimately isn’t safe and doesn’t work. Would be lovely if it could but only the animals suffer if it doesn’t 😦


  • this made me tear up. twice in the last 24 hours i have thought of which of my friends i will watch die and what it will be like and where we will be. today i was skyping with one friend who told me about how his great aunt and uncle may be moving into a nursing home together. i joked that all of us friends should take over the wing of a nursing home when we get older and terrorize the staff! a joke. but i love this idea of being to go away and be humanely taken care of until the end. it was that sign that started all the crying for me. sigh. thanks!


    • The sign got me, too. I’ve been thinking a lot about such things of late. Until last year, I’d never stared death in the face. But now it’s real. And some of those nursing homes are horrible. The one my dad was in for just two weeks broke my heart. And he had my mom there with him every day. It shouldn’t be that way.


  • Oh that sign – all should be able to find a final haven. Your concept does sound like a positive step.
    It’s an extension of the Eden communities where residents can have animals and gardens.
    Here’s something about them – but I haven’t checked into them for a couple of years – the concept sounds good, but you never know without close examination.
    It’s something I check into for my dad as he aged – there was one close to us – and he loved to grow things and have animals around – but we never got the chance.
    Not all “homes” are grim – although so many are. One of my very old uncles and his wife lived in one in Dallas that was quite wonderful with multiple levels of care/independence and a great community – they lived there a long time happily and we couldn’t have asked for better care – but it was pricey.
    Two of my other aged uncles lived in an assisted living community in a small town(affordable) which was also excellent – but when the last one fell, he had to move to a nursing home – it’s probably as good as you can get, but it’s not home and he gets depressed.
    We will all be facing this sooner of later – good to understand what’s there – or maybe come up with something better – Must win that lottery: A peaceful farm for aging bloggers sounds perfect!


    • That sign got me. I was all welled up. Thanks for sharing the Eden link. It sounds like a big improvement over what I experienced with my dad, for the short time he needed it. It’s good to know they’re not all grim. But yes, there is a big price tag. I need to save more!


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