A Place for the Mind, Body, & Soul: Lasa Sanctuary

By Published On: 19 October 2015Last Updated: 17 January 2017

Lasa Sanctuary is much more than just a home for rescued animals, it’s encouraging people to awaken a whole new way of thinking.

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By Jenny Canham, Guest Contributor, Sanctuary Spotlight

The connection between all living beings on the planet is a concept at the core of northeast Ohio organisation, Lasa Sanctuary, which aims to celebrate the connectedness of all living beings, to provide sanctuary for animals of all species, and to share a message of compassionate healing throughout the human community. After talking with Founder and Director Joy Karuna, I discovered that Lasa is much more than just a home for rescued animals, it’s encouraging people to awaken a whole new way of thinking.


On this small plot of land, we are creating a world as we know it should be.”  – Lasa Sanctuary

Started around two years ago, Lasa Sanctuary is currently home to eighty-five animals, comprising fourteen different species. The animals who live at the sanctuary are ambassadors for their kind, and educate people about the realities of the lives they came from. Joy explains that Lasa holds no prejudice about the animals it provides a home for; just last month the sanctuary opened its doors to three deer in need:


“Three beautiful deer joined our family last month after a long process in collaboration with the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. The deer had been rescued by the Museum as fawns but were in need of a secure retirement home when the Museum started new construction and their enclosure was eliminated. They are amazing beings, we couldn’t be happier to give Kimmie, Ginny, and Artemis a home.”

In addition to physical healing, Lasa recognizes the importance of the emotional healing of the animals, especially for those who have come from a background of so much suffering. Just like people, animals need time to heal from emotional trauma – Lasa appreciates this and provides the animals with everything they need. As a small sanctuary, it’s able to cater to each individual and care for them on their journey to finding peace. It seems that the nature of spiritual healing is so strong that the sanctuary has even encouraged the formation of some unlikely friendships!


“We do have some fantastic interspecies friendships including Tab the pig, and his friend Diego the duck. Animals each have their own personality and as such have their preferred friends, most of the time this bond is formed strongest with those of their own species, but especially in cases of animals with special needs or not socialized well, they find love where it feels most comfortable for them.”

Lasa Sanctuary is all about making connections, and if non-vegans come to visit the sanctuary, they are greeted with the opportunity to make a very important connection – between food bought in the supermarket and the individual animals they are now given the opportunity to interact with.

“We believe that people protect who they love and so our main goal (aside from caring for the animals themselves) is to connect people to these animals in the most true sense. We aim to create moments of intimate connection, may that be feeding a calf, looking into the eyes of a pig, hearing a chicken purr, or being licked by a deer. We have had many people share with us how the individuals we call family have inspired them to look at everything and everyone differently.”

This is what Lasa Sanctuary is all about: creating a deeper connection to the animals and recognising them as other living beings that we are sharing the planet with. To spread the message further, Lasa Sanctuary hosts events and fundraisers including its upcoming event, Imagine Gathering. The day will include an inspirational presentation by Lasa’s founders, a vegan potluck dinner, live art demo, raffles, door prizes, photos and much more. After the amazing success of last year’s spectacle, Joy has even higher hopes for this year.

“Last year’s Imagine Gathering was wonderful from start to finish. Our compassionate community came together to provide and enjoy a delicious vegan meal and raised nearly $4000 for the sanctuary hay fund. This year we’ve increased the raffle prizes, and will have a live art performance and photography show in addition to the founders’ presentation. We couldn’t be happier with the turnout and the sense of community we’ve experienced.”

Having achieved so much already in the 2+ years it has been open, Lasa Sanctuary is working hard to reach even more people and allow them to experience this important connection with animals. They believe that this connection will undoubtedly lead to adopting a vegan lifestyle, as Joy puts forward the question: “Once you love them, how can you continue hurting them?”


“We have more buildings to build, more pasture to fence, and many, many more lessons to learn. We are looking to expand our role in animal protection efforts in collaboration with the county, and secure better equipment to allow us to more effectively maintain the sanctuary so we can always be prepared when needed. We hope to, also, secure grant funding to incorporate live-streaming camera technology to provide on-demand access so people from around the world can connect with the animals from the comfort of their home or office.”

Lasa Sanctuary is on a continuing journey of learning and growth, just the same as the animals.

Upcoming Event

What: Lasa Sanctuary Imagine Gathering 2015

Where: The Lodge at Allardale, 401 Remsen Road, Medina, Ohio

When: Saturday, November 7, 2015 6:00 pm – 10 pm.

Admission: $30 and reservations are required due to limited seating. Get your tickets here.

Connect with Lasa Sanctuary

Website: www.lasasanctuary.org
Facebook: www.facebook.com/lasa.sanctuary
Twitter: @LasaSanctuary


  1. disqus_Hm03N4bJ0l October 20, 2015 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    Thank you for your dedication to animal sanctuaries, which reveal the personness of animals for all to experience, and hopefully make the commitment to no longer enslave and exploit them for our ends.

    • Jenny Canham October 21, 2015 at 5:01 pm - Reply

      Hi Jack, thanks for your comment! I love writing about sanctuaries as I think they’re really powerful in encouraging people to make a connection. Glad you’re enjoying the articles! :)

  2. Jenny Canham October 20, 2015 at 11:42 am - Reply

    Glad you enjoyed the article! Hopefully places like this will encourage more people to make the connection after meeting these beautiful animals!

  3. Tommy F October 19, 2015 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    Love this strategy.. “Once you love them, how can you continue hurting them?”

    Once awake.. No longer can we pay Foster Farms, Farmer John or Tyson to be the hit-man for our inherited, dirty habits.


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HELLO! I'm KD Angle-Traegner.

Writer, activist, and founder of Four Urban Paws Sanctuary. I’m on a mission to help people live a vegan life. Read more about KD…