Orlando Couple Transforms Backyard into Swan Sanctuary After Heartwarming Rescue

Orlando couple PJ Garcia-Marshall and Andrew Marshall never expected their lives to change so dramatically when they received a call about an abandoned baby swan.
The swan, now named Lola, has become an integral part of their family, bringing joy and new responsibilities to their everyday lives.

The Beginning of a Unique Bond

The tale began when PJ and Andrew, experienced in animal rehabilitation, received an urgent call about a cygnet found alone in its nest near downtown Orlando. The baby swan, named Lola, had been abandoned by her mother and left without any siblings or protection.
“To say she has completely changed our life would be an understatement,” Garcia-Marshall told Click Orlando.
Park rangers initially attempted to integrate Lola with other swan families at the lake. However, these efforts were unsuccessful, and it became clear that Lola needed human intervention to survive. The Marshalls took her in with the intention of eventually releasing her back into the wild, Bungalower reports.

A New Home and Unexpected Challenges

Once Lola grew strong enough, PJ and Andrew tried to reintroduce her to the lake where she was found. Unfortunately, because Lola had not grown up in that environment, she did not know how to navigate it.
“She sadly didn’t grow up on that lake, so she didn’t know how to navigate the areas where she could and could not go,” Marshall told Click Orlando.
Lola was attacked by another territorial swan, making it clear that she could not safely remain at the lake. As Laughing Squid reports, the Marshalls decided to bring her back home, where they transformed their backyard into a sanctuary, now known as Lola’s Cove. They fenced off a portion of the lake and built a shaded structure to ensure her safety and comfort.

Integrating Lola into Family Life

Lola quickly adapted to her new environment, even developing a fondness for spending time inside the house.
“She fell in love with being inside. She thinks she is one of the dogs or one of the cats,” said Garcia-Marshall told Click Orlando.
This unique behavior has only strengthened the bond between Lola and her human family.
Every morning, the Marshalls follow a routine of bringing Lola outside to enjoy her specially modified yard. Despite having a dedicated outdoor space, Lola often prefers the comfort and company of her human family indoors.
“In the morning, we pick her up, we bring her outside, and we have the same routine,” Marshall told Laughing Squid. “Sometimes she sleeps in her house outside, but she definitely prefers to be inside with us.”

A Lifelong Commitment

Caring for Lola has not been without its challenges. The couple spends a significant amount of time and resources ensuring Lola’s well-being, including going through about 50 pounds of bird food each week for the various birds that visit their yard, Click Orlando reports. Their dedication is evident in the extensive modifications made to their property and the daily routines they follow to care for Lola.
The Marshalls’ efforts have been supported by the Regal Swan Foundation, which provided guidance on creating a safe and suitable environment for Lola, Laughing Squid reports. The foundation’s involvement has been crucial in ensuring that Lola remains healthy and happy in her unique home.

Inspiring Kindness and Community Support

Inspired by their experience with Lola, PJ and Andrew have also started to inspire others through their story. They have been sharing their journey on social media, aiming to promote kindness and care for animals. Andrew mentioned that they are in the early stages of forming a foundation to support waterfowl in downtown Orlando, providing care, nutrition, and education, according to Bungalower.

The Marshalls’ commitment to Lola’s well-being has transformed their lives in ways they never imagined. Their backyard sanctuary, daily routines, and plans for a future foundation all stem from a single, unexpected phone call about an abandoned swan.
Lola’s story is a testament to the powerful bond that can form between humans and animals and the lengths to which people will go to protect and nurture those in need.