Skip to main content
Sheep Sanctuary


Your donations mean so much to our 200 rescues. Thank Ewe!

Amazon Wishlist Easy Fundraising


About Sheep Sanctuary and Our Founder

About The Founder, Sharon Lawlor

Many times I get asked about Calf, who we are and how it all began, so here it is in a short version. I could literally write a book about CALF Sanctuary and my life, as it has been a roller coaster ride of mixed emotions.

A Spiritual Journey to the Light

In 2008 my much-loved father died, and it was one of the worst days of my life. He had suffered a stroke, and with very little help or knowledge from the medical profession on how to lower his cholesterol levels, it was only months later that Dad died of a suspected heart attack.

At that point I felt totally lost. Life without my dad seemed unthinkable, and I felt so alone and totally lost without him as he had always been my crutch in times of need. I started to see things which baffled me, and I was bombarded by the number 33 and especially 333 (of which I won’t go into in full detail here as that experience in itself is a book). For a good few months, I truly started to question my own life and purpose.

At this point, my daughter and I had built a very good business in the ravewear/dancewear scene, and we worked flat out to keep up with the demand. Yet I found it meant nothing to me—the money felt pointless and I began to lose the will to keep going. I felt like I was just existing.

One day I asked myself: “If I died tomorrow, who would know, who would really care, would I move on from this journey feeling fulfilled, what was the purpose of my existence?”

Glumly, I acknowledged my own answer: “No one would really care—besides close family—and I could find NO reason or purpose for my life other than to bring two lovely children into the world.” To me, that was not enough.

I Felt Like I was Missing Something

I was a vegetarian of 13 years, I had a very good business, a lovely grown-up daughter, and a newborn baby—yet I felt there was a huge void in my life.

Then one day, I was at my computer working when I clicked a PETA link by accident and a video came on with Pamela Anderson talking about KFC chickens. I saw a few seconds of the slaughter process . . . I burst into tears, because even though I was a vegetarian I still did not want to see the cruelty. At that point in life, I had felt that being veggie was enough.

That day moved me to the next stage of my journey.

I rushed to find the STOP button, but the images would not leave my thoughts.

I started to look into farming and meat, and in my heart I knew that there was something more that I could do to help. Little did I know what was in store or how my life was about to totally shift in both lifestyle and consciousness.

When my partner came home from work, he could tell I was upset and asked what was wrong.

“I don’t want to do this anymore, I need to find me, I need a reason to live, I feel empty. I need a purpose to exist that does not involve the self,” was my heartfelt reply.

Thankfully, as much as Warren did not understand what I meant, he was prepared to support me even though he had no idea both of our lives would change.

I no longer wanted to be part of the rat race; possessions, holidays, cars, and all the trappings of the material world no longer thrilled me.

“I want to move into the countryside, I want peace.”

This came as quite a shock as I had been a townie all my life, I'd always run businesses that involved the public. Yet I wanted out.

I tried to buy a small holding. I spent hour upon hour doing business plans and cash flow forecasts. I had gone overnight from a fashion designer with a successful design/manufacture business to a woman with no knowledge or experience in the field I wanted to enter.

I found what I thought was the dream farm, and I approached my bank. I was told no. I was not used to hearing the word no. I had by now acquired a few properties from sheer hard work and strong will. But times were changing and borrowing money was just about to change.

After much frustration I found my old bank manager by chance—he knew me well and knew I was a worker and he had faith in me. I impressed him with my cash flow and business plan and he agreed to lend me the money I needed.

The valuation was done and I was so excited until the report came in.

The farm was only six acres, but it was my dream farm. It had enough land for me to make a start on saving lives. It had barns that I could convert into a cafe, a space for petting areas that I could raise awareness . . . I had so many plans.

But the valuation report crushed my dreams. My roller-coaster ride with true meaning had begun.


After dusting myself off—I hate failure and defeat—I picked myself back up. We found a lovely place - little did we know the background to the place - and we were given the green light as suitable tenants by the lords and ladies that owned the small holding.

My new journey towards the light had started. 

It was a smallholding of only a couple of acres but it was a start. In the middle of nowhere, surrounded by fields it looked perfect and I guess to a certain extent it was. But there were big issues with living here. I learnt to cope with the issues, and they taught me a lot and helped make me into the person that I am today.

Not long after we had moved into the farmhouse, a herd of cows appeared in the field right next to our home. I felt gutted. I was a vegetarian, but I hated actually seeing animals that I know are in the food chain industry as I thought there was nothing more I could do to help them. Often driving through the country I would cover my eyes if we passed a field of cows as it troubled me so much.

NOW I had them literally in my garden.

I could no longer look away as they would stand curiously looking at me from the cattle grid. I found myself drawn to them and felt so sad when I visited them, they looked so afraid. I had never been close to a cow, let alone made eye contact with one.


I would stand in the field and not look at them, if I made eye contact they would be afraid, if I pretended not to look they would crowd me, so curious as to who/what I was. They would sniff my face, lick my hand...

I fell in love, but with the new found love came such total and utter sadness.

I did not know if they were male or female. I could see no udders, yet I could see no testicles either. I felt silly that I did not know if they were boys or girls.

I started to research and what I discovered truly broke my heart.

I thought ALL cows gave milk. I presumed that they ate grass and milk came from chewing the cud. OMG, how could I of been so stupid!

I grieved for 3 weeks as I uncovered the dairy industry truth. Such a lie had been painted around the multi-million-pound dairy industry that I felt so hurt and angry with myself that I had played a big part in the destruction of such beauty all for a drink of milk, or a lump of cheese.

I turned vegan overnight thanks to being able to see for the first time in my life.

I was very scared yet also excited, for the first time in my life I knew there was a POINT, A PURPOSE that was not about me. I wanted to help these beings, they needed me. They LOVED my visits and they became my friends.

When I took storm in, they loved her it was as though they knew she was a little person just like them and they could relate to her.