It was a cortege of kindness, respect and the utmost of love that accompanied Hip Hop Bob to her final resting place amongst the trees and piggy friends she loved so much in Piggy Paradise. As the cows solemnly watched on by the fenceline where they had gathered, Tippi let out several long, low and heart-wrenching moos as the tractor set to work to inter the body of our friend.
With Hip Hop’s presence still with us, as it always will be, we are struggling to come to terms with the injustice of the last 24 hours. Rallying beyond belief against the spinal condition that had robbed this most resilient pig of the use of her back legs (but not of her or our determination to get her back on her feet), Hip Hop daily inspired us with reasons for hope. Despite the occasional hiccup along the way, she had reached the point we felt that walking unaided was but a forthright trotter-step away. And then, over the last 24 hours, the curve balls came and came, as veterinary diagnostics struggled to find their sinister source. Yet one thing became soul-destroyingly clear—the prognosis was not good and all we could do was grant our sweet friend the kindest of mercies. As tears well in our eyes and a lump in our throat makes swallowing nigh impossible, we revisit the hauntingly beautiful image as Kyle and Hip Hop shared that final moment. The look of love between the two, love in its purest of forms, the connection, the knowing, the heartache and finally the acceptance of what was to follow. Oh, how Kyle loved that little pig, and witnessing the two together, it was so poignantly clear that love was reciprocated tenfold.
The narrative of Hip Hop Bob’s life was always one laced with kindness, love and cool things to do. Even her name told that she sat on the north side of fun. Sadly, things had not been fun for Hip Hop’s dear mum, a rescued and heavily pregnant sow whose fortunes changed the day she found salvation and a safe place to give birth to her final litter of piglets at Edgar’s Mission.
Right from the get-go, little Hip Hop strode forth to be a trailblazer. At first it was to be Kyle’s heart that she firmly planted both her trotter and snout on, however over the years, countless others were too to be draw gently in by her porcine charms and smarts. And yes, she was a smart pig, only too willing to share her bright and cheery nature with all she met, never a grumpy day in her life or fierce grunt to come from her sweet mouth—she was indeed a perfect pig. She was perfectly placed to remind us all that the birthplace of our humanity comes from our interactions with those most at our mercy, those least heard and so vulnerable. We humans so often stain the lives of animals with hardship, cruelty, indifference and premature death for our ends, yet all they offer us is kindness, forgiveness, joy and hope. It seemed most fitting then, yet unbeknown to us at the time, that the last movie Hip Hop was to watch on her much-loved and viewed iPad was a documentary (and yes, she loved documentaries the best, David Attenborough and whales her personal favorites) would be ‘The Evolution of Us’.
Thank you, dear Hip Hop; although our hearts are now weeping, we know that this will pass, to be replaced as your lasting memory takes hold, wrapping us in happy thoughts of a cheerful little black piggy and her white trotter, emanating love, trust and honesty. You shaped our world with happiness, with ingenuity, with courage and snout marks on our trousers. You infused us with love, laughter and wonder. You will always remind us all to keep fighting the good fight for your kind, every day being a better, kinder, wiser version of ourselves, because it is through our interactions with, and treatment of animals just like you, that we find the greatest opportunity to be the best we can possibly ever be. And all of this will echo on the other side of history as the evolution of us.
RIP Hip Hop Bop, a much-loved pig, 7 October 2010 – 17 November 2018