Steinbach am Seiberg. Here the name says it all: the place of refuge for abandoned, abused, elderly and sick pets and so-called “farm animals” is known as “Tierparadies Schabenreith” and that name hits the nail in the head. On Doris Hofner-Foltin and Harald Hofner’s lovingly restored farm, exhausted animal spirits can breathe easy and trust again.
The Barista Gang’s band of foxes, Coffee, Melita, Nespresso, Eli, and Tchibo, were reinforced for a few days by two young foxes, Cap and Kuccino, who were found orphaned. And the creative naming continues: the Dalai Lama makes his rounds here, gorilla sheep bask in the sun, Mr. X, Jane and Shimansky lay the paws of little pigs, and cats D. Shebau, Cat Stevens, and Orange cuddle on a park bench and Roncalli gives a happy welcome.
What seems poetic here and makes you smile has a tragic background. Spouses Doris Hofner-Folten and Harald Hofner have been caring for animals in need with love, dedication and professionalism for over 27 years.
Only animals are allowed to “be”
“You do not have to perform any task or benefit. Here they find protection and a place to live, they can only be,” said the operator. Over the past few years, countless animals have been loved, rescued, cared for, housed, bred, and accompanied on their last journey.
The association “Tierparadies Schabenreith” is now an official animal shelter in the state of Upper Austria and is considered a pioneering project and was nominated for the Federal Prize for Animal Welfare in 2012.
Hints: How many animals are housed here and cared for and taken care of daily?
Doris Hofner-Folten: We currently care for nearly 500 animals: dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs, pigs, horses, goats, sheep, pot-bellied pigs, turkeys, chickens, roosters, geese, ducks, swans, pigeons, cockatiels, but also wild animals such as hedgehogs, martins, foxes, deer, deer, crows, thrushes and other wild birds. Schabenreith’s animal paradise is a place to house abandoned, abusive, old and sick pets and so-called “farm animals”, who spend their old age under the best medical care on the farm and lovingly accompany them on their last journey. We are also a wild animal rescue and care station. Animal rescue trips are just as much a part of everyday life as daily visits to Mag’s vet. Veterinarian Ursula Kimberger. We are also a point of contact for authorities when neglected animals are found, must be confiscated by the authorities or must be rescued.
Hints: One of the first questions that arises is certainly the financing of this great project. How can you provide so many animals with everything they need?
Harold Hofner: Since the founding of Tierparadies Schabenreith over 20 years ago, Doris Hofner-Volten and Harald Hofner work voluntarily every day, around the clock with no free time, weekends or vacations. Since the animals’ stomachs want to fill up every day, electricity and gas must be paid for, petrol must be filled for animal rescue trips and veterinary costs as well as bills for renovation work and building enclosures must we rely on donations. Sponsorship, in-kind donations and money to the association benefit our animal herders. You can also support our work by purchasing the book “With crutches, magic and rubber boots” with short stories and funny and touching tales from the animal paradise of Chapenrith, by Doris Hofner Folten. Doris is a passionate photographer (not only animals, she also has a nice place for art photography) and actually has photo galleries and vernissages both indoors and outdoors. Funds are also raised through photo sales, benefit events, charity campaigns and readings.
Hints: In addition to financial support – how can you get other support? Could there be a need for volunteers who want to take on smaller jobs?
Doris Hofner-Folten: We are always very grateful for food donations: cat and dog food, hay and hay, fresh vegetables, or in-kind donations such as blankets and sleeping baskets for cats and dogs. Volunteers also support us again and again on a volunteer basis, which is great: help is always welcome when cleaning packs, washing blankets and walking the dogs!
Hints: Time and time again you save animals from a cruel fate – do you think animals feel/know that? If so, how do you recognize that?
Harold Hoover: Yes, I was absolutely grateful and happy! Of course, there are also sad and heart-wrenching stories, because unfortunately not every animal is able to recover from the hardships and injuries they suffered. But there are countless touching stories of creatures who, despite the suffering they endured and the pain caused by human hands, began to trust us as humans again and truly thrive. Enjoy life and the glow in the eyes returns, they communicate with us verbally and non-verbally. These moments give us the strength to keep going because, as the saying goes, “He who saves an animal does not change the world.” But the whole world is changing for this one animal.”
Hints: You often see animals suffer because people do not treat them with the proper respect. Honestly, does that sometimes make you mad at how neglectful some people are about animals?
Doris Hofner-Folten: ultimate! In our daily work we see a lot of animal suffering and a lot of human cruelty. This begins with neglected and completely neglected pets like rabbits, dogs, cats and chickens, and goes into ignorance of the need to castrate cats, which many people still do not comply with and thus ignore, and extends to hit and run on the road, when infected animals are left to lie heartless. We receive inquiries every day from people who want to get rid of their cat or dog because the animal has become uncomfortable, whether it’s due to the birth of a child, a “sudden” allergy or because care and vet bills have become too expensive for an animal that is sick or on vacation. We often have the impression that pets are bought carelessly and treated like merchandise. We should always remember that giving an animal a home is a life-changing decision. Animals should never be treated as merchandise of exchange. There must be a willingness to take responsibility for a living being until its death with all the consequences.
Hints: Is there anything else you’d like to tell our readers?
Both: Animals are conscious beings with needs and the right to a healthy life. Just like humans, animals have the right to be treated well and respectfully, they do not want to be killed or eaten. We wish more sympathy and understanding for all animals, because we share a common habitat that does not belong to us humans alone. Since we often ask for help, our big request: If you witness animal abuse, please document the act with a photo and/or video and send us the recordings. A report can only be submitted if evidence is available.
Get a Registered/Neutral Pet Electronic Chip!
Another very important issue: Please have your pet (dog, cat) neutered and registered (and neutered!). We often encounter the problem of not being able to return lost dogs or cats to their original homes immediately or at all. The chip number is not enough to find the owner of the animal, because data such as name and phone number are stored only after registration. A very topical issue at the moment is the babies of wild animals (like little rabbits and birds): please don’t collect them when you go for a walk and take them with you! Young, healthy animals that are taken from the wild unnecessarily and thus snatched from their mothers often do not survive. In addition to the unimaginable pain of being separated from the mother (who is also desperately searching for her child!), they are exposed to a great deal of stress that can cost them their lives. Affected animals only need help or orphaned animals when the mother has already died.
Hints: After you care so much about animals, going vegan is an obvious choice. On your homepage you describe your profession there very well. Do you have a delicious vegan recipe you’d like to share with our readers?
Doris Hofner-Folten: We live vegan, because protecting or saving and eating animals do not go together 😉 The links between animal food production and the resources of our planet and all the suffering of animals and humans and the harmful effects associated with it are very clear, that’s why we came to conclusions more than 20 years ago and decided to live a life free of animal suffering . Animal and environmental protection starts at the plate and everyone can contribute by changing consumer behaviour.
Here is the recipe for Red Wine Spaghetti
“The dish is instant (important in the stressful everyday life at the animal shelter!) with simple ingredients you always have at home and it tastes delicious,” say the two.
Spaghetti in red wine and onion sauce:
ingredients for 4 people)
500g of spaghetti made from durum wheat semolina
150g onion, cut into cubes
4 tablespoons of oil
Half a liter of red wine
400g tomato passata
400g fresh tomatoes (preferably a cocktail tomato), cut into cubes
2 packages (about 40 grams) fresh rosemary sprigs
2 cloves minced garlic
Vegetable broth powder
Fresh basil leaves for garnishing
1. Peel the onion, cut it into fine cubes and fry in a frying pan with oil.
2. Melt with red wine.
3. Add the fresh tomatoes (halves of cherry tomatoes) and fresh rosemary sprigs and bring to a boil.
4. Add a little pepper and garlic and season with vegetable stock powder.
5. Briefly cook the spaghetti in boiling water (not completely soft, about 2-3 minutes) and drain.
6. Remove the rosemary sprigs from the sauce, add the spaghetti and cook in the succulent sauce – cooked!
7. Garnish with fresh basil leaves and enjoy.
A fresh salad with vinaigrette and oil and a glass of good red wine go with it.