29th August 2013
“Never never never give up.”
Eleven months ago, Edgar’s Mission was alerted to the plight of a young male calf who had been abandoned on a property in rural Victoria. With our Rescue Team immediately despatched, the scene we were to encounter would make our hearts fall. At approximately 4 months of age, left to fend for himself in a paddock littered with rubbish and hazardous objects and devoid of sufficient shelter, the abandoned young calf’s situation was dire. But it was the way in which he so desperately clung to our presence, not unlike the way a lost child might seek out a trusted adult for protection, which tugged at our heartstrings the very most. Clearly having previously known human kindness, through no fault of his own, this young, bewildered and innocent creature had somehow suddenly found himself alone in the world, with no one to turn to. With clean drinking water provided, many a long night was spent with the gentle creature; sitting by his side in the grass, our shoulders touching through the rusted fence that made up the property’s boundary, as we monitored his wellbeing and provided him with the company and reassurance he so required. We told him stories of the friends he would make when he one day made his way through our sanctuary gates, we told him he would be loved and safe and would never want for anything again. We told him it would all be ok. With the relevant authorities already notified, we then followed the due procedure prescribed to us and it became a waiting game to save the little baby who had stolen our hearts.
And so, after the necessary notification period was served and the calf was seized by the authorities, we were devastated to discover that our offer of sanctuary was denied. Instead, the calf was to be given to a caretaker for a period of time, before his future was decided- a future that would most likely not involve a life of sanctuary in our care. As we attempted to recover from the shock of this latest development, our turmoil was then sent into overdrive when we were later advised that our dear friend, our dear bovine friend who had understood and who had responded to our kindness, was eventually destined for his caretaker’s dinner table. Unaware of his location and with our hands legally tied, we simply could not fathom the unfairness of it all. We had done the right thing, we had acted with kindness, respect and dignity throughout the entire process and in return, the lifeline we had offered was being thrown back at us. Sorely aware that this young calf was just one of the many million we physically could not save, his presence continued to haunt us daily as we carried on, through the highs and lows of sanctuary life. And although we tried to hold onto every last sliver of hope that we could, we could not help but feel we had failed him; our assurances that it would all be ok had become mere empty promises. As time passed, it seemed more and more likely he would forever be remembered as the one who got away.
But two days ago, the call came. The current caretakers could no longer accommodate their now approximately 15 month old bull calf. It appeared that our previous kind offer of sanctuary had been remembered and this time, our lifeline was accepted. As we traversed the paddock that was currently his home, any doubt we had held in our mind that this could be the wrong cow were dashed. Whether he recalled those long nights we had spent side by side, whispering promises into his ear or whether it was the sweet taste of wheetbix that brought his memories flooding back, it was soon clear– our young friend remembered us! And he was just as gentle and as beautiful as we remembered him to be. However, he was understandably not prepared for yet another upheaval in his life and so it was with the assistance of the caretaker’s kind neighbours and their securely fenced yard that our now considerably larger bovine friend was loaded into our rescue vehicle before visiting our vet for a routine health check and surgical castration. As we drove our newest resident home, the words of Winston Churchill rang true in our minds, “Never give up on something that you can’t go a day without thinking about.” And in that moment it was clear – he was our Winston! We could hold back our tears of euphoria, of relief and of exhaustion no longer- we had done it, kindness had prevailed, our Winston was safe.
So often in the animal protection movement and, indeed, in life in general we encounter obstacles we feel could very well crush us. When our most fervent efforts appear futile, where fear takes over and we feel we may never achieve what we set out to or when we simply struggle to summon the energy required to continue our battle- sometimes it feels all too easy to give up, to throw in the towel and to turn our back on that which once mattered so much. As many of you may know, Edgar’s Mission is currently searching for our new home, somewhere our sanctuary can grow to its true potential and somewhere we can share our message of kindness far and wide throughout the world. And, not unlike our search for Winston, the search for our perfect forever home has been long, gruelling and, at times, heartbreaking. However, this latest turn of events could not have occurred at a better time, for not only can we now provide a life of love and care for our Winston, but he will forever remind us of the power of kindness, of persistence and that we must never lose faith in something we truly believe in. The great Winston Churchill was also quoted as saying, simply yet so powerfully, “Never never never give up.” We never gave up on our Winston. We are not giving up on our future. And we most certainly will never give up on our mission of creating a kinder and fairer world for all.
Our dearest Winston- we love you more than words can describe. You are home. You are safe. You will never be alone again.