When Maurizio Corradin arrived at Crooked Leg Ranch, he was greeted by Willow Eyford’s almost two dozen dogs and thought he’d made a bad choice.
Corradin, a business student from Milan, Italy, decided to take a year off from university and travel to Canada to learn English.
After spending several months in Vancouver, Corradin knew he wanted to see more of this beautiful province. He found an organization that placed travelers on rural properties where they immerse in the farm lifestyle.
As part of Global Lifestyles Farmstay program, Corradin had a choice of almost anywhere in B.C. but after a brief telephone conversation with Eyford he chose to come to Quesnel.
“I saw the reference to animals and I was interested,” he said.
Corradin also was intrigued by the small town lifestyle, quite different from his own metropolitan home town.
But that first day was a huge challenge for the man who didn’t like dogs.
“I saw 20 dogs and thought, oh no,” he said with a laugh.
But that all changed when he met Lucy, an Australian shepherd cross, his whole attitude changed.
“We bonded and that’s something very new for me,” he said.
He ruefully admitted he’d never been around a farm before, but in a few short days, he not only adapted to his farm environment but he opened up to the family and the volunteers who run the animal rescue operation at Crooked Leg Ranch.
“It was very scary those first few days,” he said.
“I was shy, but everyone was so nice to me. They were open with me and I’ve changed.
“It’s a very good place to be.”
Corradin admits in Vancouver he was enjoying somewhat of a social lifestyle, but now, after working with animals and those who care for them, the Italian student is very much a different person.
Currently, Corradin is spending his last month in Canada on Vancouver Island where he is again, on a farm, helping out.
“After having such a good experience at Crooked Leg Ranch, I wanted to help on a farm on the island,” he said with a big grin.
When he returns to Milan, Corradin will immediately return to his studies but vows to return to Quesnel.
“I’ll be back in the summer of 2012,” he said.
“And I’m bringing friends.”
However, Corradin is saddened because he can’t take his new best friend, Lucy, home with him.
Eyford said this was their first farmstay experience but hopes it’s not the last.
“I’d like to have more farmstay guests at the ranch, it was great,” she said.
To find out about Global Lifestyles Farmstay program visit www.globallifestyles.ca.