Big Money for 10 Minutes
“About four years ago, Mike Lanigan, who is the farmer here — he is a third-generation cattle farmer — he had a change of heart and decided not to send his cows to slaughter anymore,” Fors explains.
The animal sanctuary was born: it’s now home to about 20 cows, chickens, ducks, a horse and Buckwheat, the female donkey born 12 years ago.
With the pandemic threatening the sanctuary’s survival, its leaders quickly realized they needed to identify other ways to bring in money.
They themselves were using Zoom calls for work — and thus was born the idea of having animals sit in on people’s work calls to lighten the mood.
On the sanctuary’s website, interested parties can fill out a form to hire Buckwheat, Melody the horse or Victoria, whom Fors calls the “matriarch of the herd.”
A 10-minute Zoom appearance costs CAN $75 (US $55). For double the time, the price shoots up to CAN $125, and $175 for 30 minutes, sanctuary co-founder Edith Barabash told Toronto Life magazine.
“We are always happy when the people on the meeting are surprised,” says Fors.
“We started about the end of April, and I think we done about 100 meetings and sometimes we are crashing meetings three or four times a day.”
On one call, Fors tells attendees that he hopes they will visit the sanctuary once lockdown measures are lifted.
“Definitely,” one of them says.