Life is a zoo for this New Kent woman making a difference in the lives of animals in need

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NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. -- On a 15-acre slice of New Kent County, you will find a place that would make Old MacDonald green with envy. Lori Priest’s love affair with animals stretches back to her childhood. The Buffalo, New York native lives with dozens of four-legged friends, she does not discriminate.

"Actually this was my intent and I’m lucky enough to do what I’ve always wanted to do," Priest said. "Dogs and cats. We have one sheep. We have goats. One llama. We have one cow. We have the horses. We have two tarantulas. Don’t ask."

Lori Priest at New Hope Rescue

Lori Priest at New Hope Rescue


Lori does not just care for just any animal, for 20 years her New Hope Rescue has been saving the most vulnerable animals. On her farm, you will find animals who have been neglected, abused or abandoned. Her non-profit is a seven-day-a-week job.

"I am very lucky I can do this for them. They are the reason for me getting up every day," Priest said. "It brings me all of my joy. That is what it’s all about really."

Between feeding, brushing and tidying up after the animals, Priest never really gets time to herself. Her job is part caretaker, part farmhand and part traffic cop. She manages the madness all while working full time during the day. Donors and volunteers help keep the farm afloat.

"Everyone has a hobby I know that they like, but no one is in Lori’s league. She is one of a kind," volunteer Dave Lipp said. "She is the most loving person I’ve ever known."


Despite the non-stop demand, Priest called this therapy of the furry kind and said she gives the animals her love and gets lots of love back in return.

"You never know what every day is going to bring you really don’t. Every day is an adventure," she said. "Everyone should do something to better this world."

Priest said her life is a zoo and she would not want it any other way.

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