Welcome to Saunders Country Critter Zoo and Sanctuary!
Carla and Gary Saunders began their story back in the 1990's as a privately owned farm, and have evolved over the years into a well respected Zoo and Sanctuary for some amazing exotic animals; and some might say unusual critters.
Saunders Country Critter Zoo and Sanctuary is located on 20 acres in the beautiful municipality of North Grenville...less than 15 minutes from the City of Ottawa limits.
We are a small zoo with very big hearts that provide some pretty memorable experiences with a wide variety of animals - furry, feathered or even some with a leather skin or shell. Throughout the years the team at Saunders have worked tirelessly and developed into a much needed sanctuary for numerous unwanted animals, who have some sort of special needs or require a little bit of one on one extra care that Carla and Gary have become widely recognized for. Carla and Gary’s compassionate nature make them the perfect caregivers for many creatures that might otherwise, not get the care they need or in some cases could be euthanized.
Over the years the cost to operate the facility has grown exponentially, so always thinking we decided to share our peaceful paradise with the public. With much thanks from the help of our generous supporters, they have provided us with the funds to allow us to continue to provide the care that many of these special needs animals do require. We are very fortunate to have continued support that allows us to rescue additional animals in need and to provide them with the quality of life that they so deserve.
As you can imagine there have been many good stories to tell over the many years, although the first critter named Tijuana Taxi is always a funny one to hear! Carla shares this story..."He is a wonderful donkey. Took awhile to teach him that I wasn’t a donkey (although some will say I am as stubborn as one), but he no longer runs up and bites me or kicks me; so I think we have established that I am his human friend not his donkey friend. I go out to check on his water and to give him a flake or two of hay, before I head out to work. Oh my NO! not my Taxi, he is standing there drooling blood. He is missing two front teeth. Run to find Gary then remember he has already left for work. Panic sets in I have read the stories of equines that die due to no teeth. They can’t chew without teeth. What has happened? Why did he loose his teeth? What have we done wrong? What are we going to do? This is 1990 so didn’t have a phone in my pocket, run into the house to call the vets. Dang they don’t open for another hour. Call work explain my nightmare and let them know I won’t be in today. In the interim I am checking all the bank accounts, looking over bills etc, etc. If I don’t pay hydro and the phone, clean out the bank accounts...we should be able to purchase him some screw in teeth. Do they make screw in teeth for donkeys? I take a pair of scissors cut hay into tiny pieces, then mix it with some applesauce and take it out to him. He gobbles it down so…he’s still eating, we have a fighting chance? Finally the vets office opens. I am trying very hard to be coherent while talking to the vet, but I am a hysterical mess. Vet calmly asks me how old Taxi is ? I respond with 2 and half years. Well the vet starts laughing and laughing and laughing. Turns out equine loose their teeth around this age. He suspects that’s all it is but will be out shortly. I head back out get a halter on him and now look more closely. Sure as can be there are tiny little teeth popping up where his other teeth fell out. That was 27 years ago, Taxi still has a mouthful of teeth and continues to do well."
So if you are looking for a cute place that has a big heart for the animals in their care...this is the place for you. We are not a big place but a wholesome country place where you can take your family or friends and enjoy a simple, and definitely fun filled day in beautiful surroundings.
Saunders is licensed by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF), a proud Associate Individual Member of Canada's Accredited Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA) for the last 18 years, voluntarily inspected by the Ontario Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (OSPCA), all our summer camp facilitators are certified by the Canadian Wildlife Federation and we use ZIMS (Species360) which is a comprehensive database used throughout the world for managing all aspects of animal husbandry.
"We should have respect for animals because it makes better human beings of us all." - Jane Goodall