3rd November 2014
Marley and Me
While many dogs’ life is a walk in the park, if you are a pig called Marley your life is anything but. We first met Marley (a friendly, large, white sow approximately six months of age) only a few days ago. Her affable disposition and fondness for belly rubs belied a tragic past. Piecing together the former life of any shelter animal is always difficult. However, at best, we understand that Marley somehow escaped life on the ‘farm’ but soon found out that life in a backyard was not suitable either. From here, she was sent off to a free-range facility. Whilst it is unclear whether she had been used as a breeding sow, it is painfully clear that she had a metal ring crudely placed in her snout. And from here, things took a turn for the worst. Marley began to lose not only weight, but also any remote interest in life – a hoof condition only adding to her woes. Despite a lifeline being thrown, the savior was unable to provide the very home and facilities that Marley need to recover. The next step saw Marley sadly surrendered to inner-Melbourne animal shelter.
With the kind hearts at the shelter treating Marley’s trotter, and removing the offending nose ring, a huge scarred hole sits atop her sensitive snout as a legacy of this cruel practice. Pigs love to dig – it’s as simple as that. They are hardwired to do so. Could you imagine societies outrage if one were to place rings through the sensitive paw pads of cats to stop them scratching on the furniture? There will come an age when we look back on the atrocities we humans commit on farm animals and ask ourselves how we could ever have allowed these practices to be legal in the first place.
Whilst we will never claim to be experts in the field of pig behavior, many years of experience and countless hours of research guide us each day. All this knowledge comes to the fore in now helping dear Marley. Humbled we were as this gentle creature eyed us up and down, allowed us to place a collar around her neck as we urged her to stand. From here, she gingerly left her pen at the shelter, making her way to the unfamiliar kindness van that was to ferry her to an entirely new world of happiness. Trusting in a human she had never seen before, Marley was coaxed onto the lifter that would raise her from the ground and provide an entry into her straw lined ‘chariot’. Here, she sniffed her sweet-smelling golden mattress, surveyed her surrounds and plonked herself down. Offering happy piggy grunts of satisfaction, the Lady in the Hat was once again in love. Home again, home again Jiggity Jig!