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Originally published: 2014-04-14 14:03:16
Last modified: 2014-04-14 14:04:01

The ARK is coming to help the animals

by Heather Samudio

Animals in the High Country have another group of friends on their side, as Jodie and Ethan Taylor of Deep Gap work to open Acts of Random Kindness Animal Rescue.

ARK has a twofold mission, to provide sanctuary for domestic animals and healing for individuals, while operating as a green and sustainable farm. Animal adoptions will be available through ARK, as well.

While they care for the animals and themselves, they want to ensure they do not abuse the land on which the animals are cared for, according to Ethan Taylor, co-founder and executive director of ARK.

The farm and rescue site is located at 177 Windy Mountain Road in Deep Gap; however, until they are able to update their facilities, Ethan said they are keeping some animals at their private residence in Boone.

"We will not turn away any domestic animal in need," Ethan said. "Our focus is to take in what other shelters are not structured for or are too full to handle."

The shelter will accept animals such as horses, donkeys, goats, cows, pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs, birds, reptiles, domesticated raccoons and monkeys. 

"There is different licensing involved in taking in wild animals and we do not currently have the proper facilities or licensing for wildlife," Ethan said.

The Taylors are in the early stages of the program and say they need support and assistance to reach their goals for the group.

Volunteers are needed who have veterinarian skills and those who can help with administrative tasks, animal care and socialization, farm and grounds maintenance, accounting and fundraising, he said.

Ethan said they are also in need of a nonprofit lawyer. 

In addition to the rescue side of things, the Taylors are planning for a life learning center.

Topics expected to be taught at the center include outdoor survival and preparedness, healing through nutrition and alternative therapies, aeroponic gardening and other green sustainable farming, as well as homesteading practices. 

They would like to expand to offer services as well, including massage therapy, chiropractic, acupuncture, naturopathy, meditation, yoga, fitness training, tai chi and other processes that are geared toward healing.

"One of our main focuses will be animal-assisted therapies for veterans, the disabled, autistic individuals and other illnesses, such as cancer, MS and MD," Ethan said. "Services and classes will be provided and taught by trained experts in their field."

The cost for classes will be dependent on which class is being held; however, Ethan said they would work with interested individuals who might be unable to afford the class. He said they could work to find grants, donations or scholarships for those individuals.

Ethan said they had decided to create ARK after some personal experiences. 

"Over the last year, I have had some serious health issues, and with the care and love of our own rescued animals, I have found strength, sanity and a renewed purpose in life," he said. "As we asked around the High Country, we learned there was a huge need for a rescue to fill in the gaps where the humane societies and animal controls were unable to take in certain animals or were too full to do so."

Ethan said as he and his wife  saw how working with animals can be a catalyst for personal change and healing, physically and emotionally, they decided to move forward with the dream they've had of opening a natural healing center and retreat.

"We want to offer to others struggling with what seems to be insurmountable odds, the chance to find peace and healing through God's wonderful creatures," he said.

The Taylors bring a variety of experiences and skills to ARK.

Jodie worked in a small animal veterinarian office several years ago before switching her career to alternative medicine and healing. She spent more than a decade working for nonprofits from Up With People to Samaritan's Purse.

"ARK is simply a continuation of her dream to be able to help both humanity and animals alike," Ethan said.

Ethan has experience in architecture, construction and sustainable building.

The Taylors have applied for a nonprofit status. "We have been told to expect the process to take two months to a year, but we are hoping for the two months time frame," Ethan said.

Individuals interested in helping with ARK can contact Ethan Taylor at (828) 406-7206 or by email at ( , or Jodie Taylor at (828) 406-9631 or by email at (  

Donations or gift cards may be mailed to ARK Animal Rescue and Life Learning Center, 177 Windy Mountain Road, Deep Gap, NC 28618.  

Animals available for adoption, as well as more information about ARK, can be found online at The group's website is under construction.