SALEM, Ore. – Finally, Helen Keller has a new home.
No, not THAT Helen Keller.
This Helen is a blind bison who has lived in a northeast Salem pasture since her owner rescued her from slaughter 14 years ago.
But the owner, Lisa Miller, says she can’t take care of Helen anymore.
Her plea to give Helen a new home made headlines, and now Wayne Geiger with Lighthouse Farm Sanctuary has made it his mission to take in the bison.
On Wednesday, he brought in the trailer that will carry her to the sanctuary in Scio.
“Hopefully we’ll get (Helen) loaded,” Geiger said. “We don’t have a timeframe – it’s her timeframe.”
Geiger said he’s willing to work with Helen for as long as it takes to get her comfortable with the trailer and with leaving her pasture.
“Seems like the best approach is to condition her to some new sounds and smells,” Geiger said.
He added Helen’s blindness has heightened her senses of smell, hearing and touch, so she can be very sensitive to new conditions.
No Easy Task
Geiger said his first attempt to move Helen Keller fell flat.
“Many people driving by and honking and yelling and people stopping and her anxiety got elevated,” Geiger said.
So Geiger took the operation back to square one, working to get Helen comfortable with his touch and his smell.
“We are trying to habituate her to this kind of stimulus,” Geiger said.
Geiger hopes people will respect what he’s trying to do and pass by quietly while he’s trying to acclimate Helen to the trailer.