I’m Michelle the co-founder of the Noble Animal Sanctuary. I was born in Kennewick, Washington. 2015 marks my 45th year in existence. As most people, I’ve had a fair amount of trials and challenges over my life, all of which have led me to the person I am today.
I have 3 children, Raven, Nathan and Jewel. We live with my significant other, Greg Noble. We are looking for our dream acreage to start our sanctuary.
From birth I was born wide eyed and curious about the world, especially the natural world. As a young child I would spend much of my free time in the canyon next to us observing and collecting specimens to later draw in notebooks. I was unkempt, always dirty, with skinned up knees. I was, as we called it then a “Tom Boy”, preferring the outdoors to Barbies and dress up. I organised my seashell collection (I collected before I knew how they were “harvested’) with proper scientific labels with Latin and common names, and place of origin. I poured over National Geographic magazines and for “fun” would write essays about tigers and mountain lions and elephants, whatever sparked my interest. I wanted to be a biologist, or a veterinarian, or have a farm. (I quickly learned that farm animals weren’t pets, that veterinary medicine required a lot of math, and biology was more fun as a hobby.)
Even when I became an teen, focused on social acceptance, parties, boys, and rebellious behavior, nature was my solace. I would walk deep into the Russian Olive trees with my feet in the creek, letting the gurgling water, dragonflies, and bird songs drive away my sorrows.
I was so curious about so many things that picking a career path was difficult. I was born a genuine artist- but at that time I was discouraged from a career in art, which sent me into a vocational quandry. I was a perpetual student. I went to community college to be an alcohol counselor, a nutritionist, took all the classes offered in art, and finally went into nursing. I finished all my pre-nursing pre-requisites and was accepted into nursing school- but after one quarter dropped out because I didn’t like the non-holistic way patients were treated. I finished up my AA, went on to Western Washington for Art therapy and Teaching, where I really fell into my groove, but once I had my daughter, Raven who had a neurological condition, I dropped out. After 2 years or so of being home with her I decided to go back for nursing school again at our local community college, but low and behold child #2 was on the way… with two children it wasn’t going happen. My daughter, Raven, with her special needs was beginning to require more care anyway- so I decided to invest in my kids and be an at home mom.
Being an at home mom allowed me to dive into lots of interests; natural health, interior design, gardening, painting, and yoga. I taught yoga and personal training at a local gym a few days a week. As I noticed profound changes in myself through yoga, I went on for further training at the Seattle Center for Yoga, and decided to open a yoga studio where I could teach yoga without the limitations of “gym” yoga.
In 2003 I started “Yoga Community” the first Iyengar based yoga in The Tri-Cities, the second yoga studio here total. It was a dream come true! Helping people from the inside out. And with my background in science classes like anatomy and physiology from nursing school days it was a great fit!
In 2005 I went through divorce, and without a spouse I was was not able to teach classes every evening, and was not making enough money to hire more instructors. I passed the business on.
One night I was meditating because I was absolutely perplexed on what I was to do- how would I support myself and three kids and have the flexibility to be the mom I wanted to be? A voice came into my head loud and clear, “You are an artist. If not now, when?”, so my second business began- Chell Design. I used my passion for interior design, art skills and took a few faux finish classes. For 10 years now I have been creating murals and top notch finishes in homes and businesses.
So, what does this all have to do with the Noble Animal Sanctuary?
In the fall of 2014 I became aware of the plight of farm animals. I watched hundreds of undercover videos, slaughterhouse videos, and “humane’ farm videos, I read books on farm methodology, and discovered “farm sanctuaries”. Greg and I both decided to go vegan. We decided to try to give back for what we have taken, to share about the beautiful animals behind the pieces of meat in the grocery store, and to make the move to rescue those that we could by opening a sanctuary.
Looking back now, my whole life has lead to here. And if I look at it closer, I am actually going back to a time in my youth- when my being knew what it wanted. Forever the lover of animals, I can now have my farm where no animals are exploited, enslaved or killed. I can offer protection to those that need it the most. I can offer holistic health to the animals, and to people through our programs, focusing on healing not only the outside wounds, but the inside wounds as well. The unofficial “veterinarian and nurse” in me, and being a caretaker for a special needs chlld for 21 years, allows me to use my medical and biology background to understand medical conditons and treatment. Working with a special needs child I have developed the patience and learned to live and think outside the box of “normal”. My background in nutrition and knowledge of plant based eating will allow me to teach others that are ready to make a healthy transition to veganism and take suffering off of their plates.
The artist in me helps to create my new world, and share art on the sanctuary grounds as a means of connection to the natural word, and a means of income. The principles of meditation, mindfulness and yoga will weave themselves into every aspect of the sanctuary creating a center of serenity and peace, where humans and animals can connect and learn to speak beyond the world of words.
It’s a feeling of having arrived. Years of unrest, wondering, and wandering, all unfolding into a new beginning. It’s not going to be easy or simple to get it all up and running. We’ve already had some challenges and I’m sure we are heading into more. But everything worth having, is worth it.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog post. I hope that everyone listens to their heart and follws their passions- for it is your soul speaking to you.