Saving vulnerable animals: The Goode Life UK story
The Goode Life UK provide a home to animals with disabilities, older animals, or those with additional needs.
This family-run, self-funded, non-profit animal sanctuary based in Yorkshire, works tirelessly to offer the best possible care to rescue hens, cats, and dogs. Their compassion for saving vulnerable animals is truly inspiring.
We speak to owner Lexy Goode about where it started, fostering from abroad, and tips for those looking to get involved with animal rescue or sanctuary work.
V-Land UK (V-L): Hi Lexy. Thank you so much for speaking to us today. We’d love to know where this started and understand the sanctuary's background.
Lexy Goode (LG): We’ve always had rescue animals, and it started with one cat. She lived to be 20 years old and had all sorts of medical issues, including fighting diabetes twice. She needed a lot of care at the end, and then we had other cats we would take on that were older.
I was volunteering at an animal sanctuary in Norfolk and ended up in the cattery, bringing cats home who were being rehomed and who were elderly or in pairs.
We always take elderly cats; we thought, why don’t we take the ones who have disabilities or special needs? It was never a plan, but it was a natural thing that happened.
Around six years ago, we started rescuing chickens as well as cats - and Benny. Benny is our senior dog with three legs from Romania with acute PTSD trauma who now has a wheelchair.
He’s like our mascot because everywhere we go, everyone stops and wants to chat to find out what's wrong'.
V-L: Are there any heartwarming success stories of animals saved through your efforts?
LG: There’s the story of Bobo, one of our cats from Greece. She was quite happily living in a colony and fed by the locals. She had kittens that the locals had found homes for, and they all lived harmoniously together.
Then, one day she went missing and days later, someone found her under a car in a horrendous state, crying and she was rushed to the vet.
On inspection and X-ray, they found she was riddled with pellet bullets, her back leg was so damaged it had to be amputated, and her other leg didn’t work. No one knows exactly what happened, but she had gone from being a super friendly cat to a terrified cat.
She was taken on board by a charity called Miracles Mission and that’s where we found her.
She came over to live with us and stayed in a corner for about a year, terrified when you went near her, unable to walk properly with her one remaining back leg dragging behind her.
Three years on, she’s like a different cat. Her back leg works now, and she can push back up on it.
We’re in contact with a guy who used to feed her regularly in Greece. He contacted me and was shocked that she now looks like the cat she used to be.
All our animals have been transformed, but Bobo’s story was so sad. For her to have all that trauma, to see her now being open and happy is lovely.
V-L: We noticed that you have rescue animals from around the world. How do you find and rescue these animals?
LG: From my experience in a cattery and knowing people who do similar work, the conditions in sanctuaries are good, but nothing is as good as a home.
With animals abroad, you have the problem of stray animals being everywhere and people dumping animals once they have finished breeding them or if they have disabilities. People don’t see them in the same way we do over here.
On the other hand, a lot of the rescuers who do good over there may not have the capability or capacity to look after them, so some of the time it can create a hoarding situation, which is not beneficial to the animal. It’s a huge problem; if the animals aren’t taken off their hands, how can they take in more animals?
With regards to finding them, I don’t have to find them; they find me.
I’m contacted all the time to help share contact information on cats who are looking for a home, which is incredibly frustrating as we don’t have any more space here.
We're looking to get a network of trusted foster carers so animals can come over here with a view to give them a forever home.
V-L: Can you share any advice or insights for those interested in starting their own animal sanctuaries or getting involved in animal rescue work?
LG: I would say start small, play to your strengths, and start with an animal you had experience with growing up, such as cats, dogs, or rabbits.
For us, when we rescued chickens six years ago, we learnt so much in such a short period of time. Research so you know what to do in an emergency to patch up the little things and find a good vet.
Quality over quantity is so important. I could have more cats here, but I would be worsening the quality of life of those already here.
Please take the animals that no one wants. It is easy to rehome cute kittens, but it’s much harder with animals who are older or with disabilities, so try to look past that. Think about what you can give the animal, not what the animal can give you.
Please adopt rather than buy. There are so many animals out there who need a home.
V-L: How has veganism impacted the way you run your sanctuary?
LG: We believe, like any vegans, not to differentiate between species. People are used to companion animals like dogs and cats, but we would not differentiate.
If we had the space, we would take in animals on a needs basis, rather than a species basis, whether they’re a donkey, sheep, pig, rabbit, etc. If I have the set up and can offer the animal the best quality of life, I will take it in. It makes no difference to me.
Being vegan for eight years opens your heart to see other species more compassionately than you would have before. It’s about what you can do for the animal, not the other way around.
V-L: How can people best support you and your work at the sanctuary?
LG: The best way is through a monthly donation. Monthly donations support us with budgeting for food and medical bills. Donating is welcome by PayPal or bank transfer; you can sponsor an animal or involve your business in a corporate sponsorship.
If you sponsor one of the animals, you get a personalised video from them every month and updates on them. If you are not on Facebook or Instagram, we can write emails from your animal with photos.
We have Christmas cards, calendars and jumpers that you can find through the merchandise section of our website, which are supplied by a company called Vegan Fried.
We want to move and grow, so we are looking for a larger space in North Yorkshire that is suitable for animals.
Thank you for speaking to us and for the amazing work you do.