Coming Home began as a dream of a few people who wanted to make a difference in the lives of some of the most mistreated and abused animals on this earth.

Our Story

Located about 20 miles southeast of the Fingerlakes in New York’s Southern Tier, the sanctuary’s partially wooded 50-acre farm is an ideal setting for our rescued animals, as well as for the abundant native wildlife.

Our first location in Harford, NY was home to our first three rescues, Wally, Max, and Mavis. Wally was a very young calf that was being used in a research project at a nearby university. He was near death when we adopted him and expected to live only a few weeks. Wally had other plans and slowly recovered under the nurturing care of Rich (cofounder) and his wife Mareike. A few months later, cofounder, Laura, was contacted about a young bullcalf born at a university dairy operation who was slated for another similarly horrific research project. Without hesitation, Laura scooped up the five day old calf and drove with “Max” through several states to live with his soon-to-be new friend, Wally. The two became fast friends and were inseparable until Wally’s death ten years later.

During those early years, cofounders worked on a game plan to launch the sanctuary and brainstormed about fundraising and logistics.

(Stay tuned for more of the story. . .)


Laura, cofounder & Executive Director

Laura is a veterinarian who attended veterinary school with the intention of starting a sanctuary for farm animals and rabbits. She has been an Educator for the International House Rabbit Society for over 28 years. In April, 2006, at the invitation of Best Friends Animal Society, she spent a week in Reno, NV working to establish a spay/neuter program for over 1,600 rabbits rescued by Best Friends. She shares her home with her partner and #1 volunteer, John, a few cats and rabbits, and any chicken, quail or pigeon who might be in need of a little indoor R&R. She has been vegan for over 26 years and a lifelong animal advocate. Pictured here with Clementine, a snuggly sweet chicken found abandoned in a park on Long Island several years ago.


Rich, cofounder & consultant

Prior to cofounding Coming Home, Rich worked as Farm Manager at Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, NY for five years back in the 90s. Rich ran our original sanctuary location in Harford with his wife, Mareike until 2012 when all of our original rescues were moved to our current location here in Candor. Rich, who now lives off-site, acts as our remote sanctuary consultant. He and Mareike share their home with three rescued dogs and a rescued cat named Gingerman. He has been vegan for almost 30 years and a lifelong animal advocate. Pictured here with Peppermint and Patrick.