Captain Courageous, Wonder Woman and Super Girl
28th September 2013
Operation Charlotte’s Web
We had dubbed it ‘Operation Charlotte’s Web’ however when we realised the task before us, it appeared more like a scene from ‘Mission Impossible’. Three wily pigs, on the run from a fate less fortunate, had found their way onto a large rural property upon which they could not remain. The local council had been alerted, however they were unable to identify the pigs’ carers and, with the harsh reality that no one could get within several hundred metres of the trio without them dashing to safety, bringing their adventures to an untimely end through the barrel of a gun was the prescription dispensed.
However, the property owner was buoyed by the pigs’ ability to cheat death once and did not wish to condemn them to such a fate. And so, the call to Edgar’s Mission was made. We were advised that if we could catch the pigs, we could save them and in that moment, Operation Charlotte’s Web was borne. Anyone who knows pigs will know that they are indeed among the smartest animals around and they are indeed among the most sensitive. As a result, when pigs become frightened or scared they will panic and quickly whip themselves up into a feverish frenzy. Our rescue plan was ambitious at best but it was well worth a try. The plan was to enlist a large team of volunteers, at least 20 would be needed, to create a path that would calmly usher the pigs from their den and gently guide them along the human alleyway to an old stable courtyard where they could be corralled and bribed into the horse float that would then ferry them to Edgar’s Mission. The land owners greatly welcomed with this idea and the local shire council were greatly pleased with this proposed outcome. But would the pigs be as obliging of our kind offer?
Time was not on our side and we needed to act fast for the property was situated adjacent to a forest and, although they seemed content in their current surroundings, if the pigs discovered it, we would surely lose them, not to mention the ecological disaster that could result. There was also evidence that the pigs had been moving between properties, digging up neighbouring gardens and presenting a road hazard in the process. Our core Rescue Team of three met on the property to plan our approach and to gain some understanding of the lie of the land. However on this reconnaissance mission, our hearts sank when, after traversing the 100 acre property, scouting the hills and peering into their familiar haunts, no sight of the pigs was found. We prepared to leave, all the while hoping the renegade trio would return to their familiar digs in time to bring Operation Charlotte’s Web to a happy conclusion in the coming days. Then there in the distance, some paddocks away, three perky pigs pranced and danced. But our relief was short lived for they soon spied us and quickly and deftly vanished into a thicket, only to then emerge prancing and dancing along a road completely unfamiliar to us. The option of leaving the pigs in the hope they would return was one we just could not afford to take, for at this point in time they were only metres away from the forest and the danger in leaving them on the road was too great.
After an epic cross country car rally, we tracked down the pigs but after some fancy footwork and a marathon run of Ironman proportions, we were again disheartened by our attempts to gain their trust. Just how long they had been on the run we do not know, but we do know it was long enough for them to understand that their survival was dependent upon them remaining alert and ready to flee at all times.
But then, with sunlight fast fading and no phone on which to call for back up, whether it was by some act of divine intervention, the result of our sheer determination, the power of kindness or a combination of all three, somehow, those three dear pigs seemed to sense that we were the good guys; that we were on their side, and slowly but surely they began to drop their guard. Not too much mind, but just enough for them to catch a whiff of the tasty treats we had proffered and to graciously but cautiously accept them from us. After gaining a little of the trio’s trust we then managed to lead them to an enclosed area in which they would remain whilst two of us kept keen eye on them should they decide to make a dash for it, while the other made the two hour round trip home to retrieve the horse float. With the sun long ago set and the weather turning bitingly cold, we were so close to success and we reflected on all that had unfolded in the preceding hours.
There is a belief that it is a person’s actions when nobody else is around to witness are what truly define them. And if there was ever to be a defining moment in the history of our Rescue Team, Operation Charlotte’s Web would be it. Faced with certain defeat, with a situation so hopeless failure seemed guaranteed, we could well have been forgiven for walking away, returning to the warmth of our home and answering the call of our growling stomachs and no one would ever be any the wiser. However, with not a single word passing between us, we had all made up our minds. We would save these pigs, and, between the three of us, we would do so tonight. In true Edgar’s Mission style, it had been a case of ‘never say never’ personified; failure was simply not an option.
And so, with the return of the straw- lined float, what at another time would have seemed like a difficult task appeared easy in light of all that had unfolded before it. With tasty treats, kind words and promise of a warm, safe shelter offered, our new friends, Captain Courageous, Wonder Woman and Super Girl were loaded into the float and bid farewell to life on the run as they made the journey to a life worth living. And, although our euphoria soon faded and we were again reminded of our weary bodies, tired eyes and hungry stomachs, we came to see that when kindness is on your side, nothing is ever a ‘Mission Impossible’ at all.
“All things are possible until they are proved impossible — and even the impossible may only be so, as of now.” – Pearl S Buck