Pleasant Pasture 5

For a couple that has always loved animals, there was no better way for Katherine and Terry Fossler to express their gratitude than to open an animal sanctuary. In 2018, the Fosslers moved from Hudson to a yellow farmhouse on 21 acres in New Richmond and adopted their first farm animals. Today, they have 25, all with different stories, living at Pleasant Pasture Farm Animal Sanctuary and Education Center. 

The city kids, as Katherine referred to her and Terry, began to learn the ropes of farm life and participated in a training with Best Friend Animal Sanctuary in Kanab, Utah where they learned the do’s and don’ts of running a farm alongside 35 other people from across the country. 

Katherine Fossler

Katherine Fossler, Director of the Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, has a relationship with each animal on the farm. 

After a severe accident, Katherine was hunkered down, recently becoming reinvigorated and ready to get back to work on the farm and at her day job as director of the Small Business Development Center at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls.

Now, as seasoned pros, the Fosslers have a few extra sets of hands and paws to help them with daily farm chores. “We have one amazing volunteer, Alli Boumeester, and her three young girls,” said Katherine. “The girls show up in pink dresses, painted nails and leave covered in mud and dust and love every minute of it.” 

Terry, owner of Zephyr Services, a small construction company, gets a lot of help from his four-legged-friends. “I’ve got my crew,” said Terry, referring to the farm cats. “They’re my pets, but they’re my work crew.” At most, the Fosters will have about 10 cats at a time, as they tend to multiply quickly and show up out of the blue. Animals at Pleasant Pasture are not up for adoption, except for special circumstances, as the Fosslers think of their home and the farm as a “bonded community,” explained Katherine. If the farm goes over the 10 cat limit, they’ll consider adopting one out if they find the right home for it. 

The animals residents tend to find the Fosslers and Pleasant Pasture. Owners may surrender their animals, calling the farm to see if they’re able to take and care for them. On average, Katherine estimates they receive up to six calls a month. If the Fosslers are unable to, Katherine will do her best to redirect the caller or help them place the animal in a different home.

Each of the cows, pigs and cats have a different origin story. After the mother of the 6 sibling hogs passed away, the farmer was not going to care for them and surrendered them to Pleasant Pasture. When they first became acquainted with their new home, they were the size of footballs. Today, they’re about 650 pounds each. 

They love to help, explained Terry. Anytime he is in the pig pen, he keeps an extra awareness so as not to accidentally get knocked over by a quarter ton pig trying to help with farm chores. When the pigs are not snacking on their food pellets, they enjoy graham crackers, mango, watermelon and tortillas. 

Where: Pleasant Pasture, New Richmond

When: Aug. 21 & Oct. 16

Cost: $10 per adult

More info: pleasantpasture.org

Since Katherine recovered from her injuries, she’s begun hosting farm tours and looking to broaden the reach of Pleasant Pasture. The first tour of the summer was a success, with about 30 visitors. Between farm trivia and feeding the animals, the Fosslers are anticipating just as much joy at the upcoming events. With professional experience in women’s fitness, Katherine is looking forward to co-hosting a Women’s Twilight Walk around the farm, complete with guided meditation, yoga and snacks.  

Katherine, Terry and the animal residents have prospects for many more events to come. The first mission at the farm is to “provide a loving forever home for farm animals in need.” However, the mission also includes creating “opportunities for humans to connect with nature, with the animals, with themselves and with other humans.” The serene, picturesque landscape is the perfect backdrop for fostering these connections. 

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