I never planned this Sanctuary – it evolved out of necessity. In 2012, it was 2 homeless horses, 5 family dogs (all rescued), 6 foster dogs, 4 family cats (rescued), and a derelict farm. Then in 2013, while my teenage daughter Ellie and I were still trying to tame the farmland into paddocks for our 2 rescued horses, I discovered 18 dogs in horrific conditions in a village dog pound. There were bones of dead dogs, old food mixed in with poop on the cage floors, and filthy stagnant water containers. All the dogs were sick and riddled with ticks and worms.
I got permission to renovate and care for the facility/inmates and within 2 weeks it was paradise! When the local council decided to close the pound and join a central scheme – I moved all 18, now fit and healthy dogs, to my farm, and our Sanctuary was born. As with all new borns we gave our “sanctuary” a name – “MOONACRE”- from the book “The Little White Horse” – a magical place where love heals all hurts.
Before we knew it we were hearing about and taking in horses in distress from all over Cyprus. With each horse, we carved out another paddock and built another stable, then a round pen, then an arena, a hospital wing, a private livery, a barn. The land fought us every step of the way but even with no money and no machinery, we somehow met each new problem with a solution. Our sanctuary may not be “pretty” but it is a real home for a wonderful herd of free ranging horses and ponies.
Then in 2015 I was called by the police to rescue a pup with mutilated hind limbs – that puppy was HERMIA, and my journey with rehabilitating disabled dogs began. Many dozens of disabled dogs have now received surgery and new limbs/wheels from us or have actually walked out of our Sanctuary having been rehabilitated.
The past 2 years we have been taking in Canine Leishmania cases because so many Leishmania positive stray dogs are left without options. There is no longer any need for this to happen, because although a terminal disease, we can stabilise Leishmania positive dogs, and very often rehabilitate them into fit, active, healthy dogs for several years.
Since 2013, 19 horses, many hundreds of dogs, and countless sick cats, as well as abandoned farm animals have found refuge at MOONACRE. As the cost of providing proper medical care, housing, food, and staffing has escalated, we have tried to diversify. We have opened up our farmhouse which lies within the Sanctuary, to Bed & Breakfast guests, we run a resident volunteer programme, we offer private training opportunities in natural horsemanship, classical riding, western riding, trekking on horseback, and practical experience for students of veterinary medicine and veterinary nursing.
Everyone who visits our Sanctuary tells us that MOONACRE is indeed a magical place. Our ethos remains that once an animal enters through our gates, they leave their past behind and never again experience fear or hunger or cruelty. We spend whatever time is needed to rehabilitate and socialise each resident and, most important of all, we bring them into our family and give them a sense of belonging. Our home and our lives are dedicated to the welfare of the unwanted, the abused, and the unloved. I invite you, through this website, to share in what Ellie and I have created at MOONACRE. It is unique, just as every one of the hundreds of animals we have brought to safety are unique. We hope you will become a part of this special place, and help us keep the magic going. Visit, sponsor , donate, volunteer, adopt!
Kind regards from Rochelle van Buuren, Founder of MOONACRE SANCTUARY, Alethrico, Cyprus.