And the hills came alive with the sound of baas…meet Julie Andrews

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Late last year we responded to a request for assistance from Parks Victoria in regard to the rescue of two abandoned sheep who had taken up refuge in parkland just north of Melbourne.  Befriending the local kangaroos and grazing vast fields, the duo could have continued happily ever after except for their ever-growing fleece and hard hooves potentially causing damage to fragile soils. Both factors show the unsuitability of these introduced animals to our shores.  Proving too the smarts of sheep, reigning them in was to be quite a challenge.  Whilst our makeshift corral brought a halt to the roaming of the sheep we named Charade, her feisty counterpart proved far more elusive, spiriting off into the several hundred acres of vastness, trees and hills.  Reluctantly we headed home, with one ear and eye constantly peeled to the phone awaiting a call to confirm a sighting of the sheep.  Alas, that call was not to come for several long months.  However, this time armed with a far better understanding of the logistics of the park we were confident that the words of the park ranger, “You’ve come to get the sheep? Well good luck on that one,” were to be but an ingredient of his humble pie.

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Don’t be afraid …

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The first time we met Kitty, Cat and Tony, three hapless sheep who had been united by the circumstance of abandonment in a rural country pound, we found two extremes. While Kitty and Cat, two elderly Damara ewes, were scared and determined to have nothing to do with us, the affable Tony, a handsome Texel ram, sat at the opposite end of the spectrum— friendly, confident and only too willing to partake in a back scratch. Gently offering the words, “Don’t be afraid; we’re taking you home” to Kitty and Cat, the untrusting duo soon joined their chaperone, Tony, and were ushered towards our kindness.

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Where have you been, Beanie Lamb?

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Whilst a penny will never pay for the thoughts of Beanie Lamb or provide an answer to just where she had been, we do know that it was through the swift-thinking actions of kind-hearted humans that she is alive today. Arriving at Edgar’s Mission in the cutest little baby jump suit emblazoned with little cans of baked beans, wee Beanie could not have pulled at our heart strings any more if she tried. Not long thereafter we learned that a traveller from Geelong had encountered the scared and hungry little one just shy of the township; struggling to rein in Beanie’s poor attempts at directing traffic, soon even more humans stopped to assist, as little Beanie’s journey of kindness began.

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How to save a life

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It’s been four weeks since How Now arrived at Edgar’s Mission, dangerously thin, too weak to stand, eat or drink, yet somehow still miraculously clinging to life. During her initial veterinary exam, it soon became clear what had led to this dear girl’s shocking condition when x-rays revealed two metal nails inside How Now’s gizzard. The gizzard is an essential component of a chicken’s digestive tract, where hard stones and grit reside to grind down seeds. The presence of the nails in How Now’s gizzard had hindered this crucial digestive process and, even worse, one of the nails had begun to work its way through the thick muscular lining of the gizzard. The diagnosis was in- the foreign material needed to be removed and there was little time to spare.nails 20180314 how now (2) Continue reading

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Welcome to the Book Club – Chapter One: Goats of Letters

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It was in March of 2010 when around 150 people trod up the well-worn bluestone steps to the Bella Union Bar of Melbourne’s historic Trades Hall building.  Enthusiastically they listened while heartfelt, funny, poignant and profound letters were read out loud as the brainchild of literary wits, Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire etched into being. Not long thereafter the first episode of Women of Letters was complete.  Now some 8 years and hundreds of letters later, Women of Letters has reached a global audience as the lost art of letter writing has well and truly been revived.  At the heart of Women of Letters was the drive by Marieke and Michaela to raise much-needed funds for the sanctuary they loved.  To this end they have achieved admirably and we here at Edgar’s Mission remain forever grateful.

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Cheech and Chong- two smokin’ fun friends!

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There is no doubt that Cheech and Chong, complete with their cute and cheeky goaty antics, will bring you great belly laughs. However, their beginnings most certainly will not.  Found abandoned at a tip (it’s likely their homeless mother was spooked) the vulnerable little orphans, just barely days old, were lucky to have been spotted by a kind heart.  But had they not, alone they would have slowly succumbed to the elements. Or perhaps even violently died between the teeth of a predator. Seeing their will to live amongst the rubbish and despair that surrounded them, their Good Samaritan sped into action.

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Join Our Book Club – It’s One of a Kind!

Well, a book club of sorts. Perhaps it’s more of a reading club, a kindness club and a way to remind vulnerable animals there is indeed good in the world.

The idea stemmed from the dynamic literary event Women of Letters, brainchild of Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire, which set about to revive the lost art of letter writing. And so, our book club will set out to revive the lost art of storytelling. Our first chapter, aptly titled Goats of Letters will focus on two recently-arrived terrified young does we have named Marieke and Michaela. Continue reading

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Koky: a fortunate one

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Under an 18 kg fleece Koky (pronounced Co-key) sweltered, as he had done for the past summer, and several before that. It was not only his heavy wool that caused a burden to the young ram, as a piece of carelessly discarded fencing wire was mercilessly biting its way through his throat. With each painful gulp poor Koky took, he could be forgiven for thinking the world was not a kind place. But little did he know it was about to be.

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Can you please help my chickens? Meet Ginnie, Yolanda and Betsy

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“Can you please help my chickens. They’re dying, and I don’t know what to do?”  Ironically enough this heartfelt and pleading call came through just as we were preparing to shut our feathered friends away for the evening. True to their word in wanting to save their chickens, the birds were soon Edgar’s Mission bound.  Although upon their arrival they were a pitiful sight.  Despite their best intentions, and sadly this is something we often see, the birds were not in a state of good health.  One of the sweet little ladies passed away only hours after her arrival, although forever with us she will remain as she has been interred in our Enchanted Forest.

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Just say CC

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If CC is friendly and confident, then PP is not.  If CC likes grapes and carrots, then PP does not.  But that hasn’t stopped these two hapless goats becoming the best of friends.  Arriving at separate times during the month of February from different circumstances, they have found firm friends in one another.  And while still only very young, they have an entire world of kindness awaiting, and in the case of little PP, the sweet taste of grapes and carrots!

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P P

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Now you might think her name is short on letters, but that is the least of her worries. For when we learned of her plight, she was short on time and about to become, of all things, lunch! It is no doubt for this reason she still harbours a great fear of we humans. So as we work to gain her trust, she spends her days with a lamby clan of Carmichael, Rose and Tilly.

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He rocketed in and rocketed out—meet Rocket

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A duck with attitude best describes this chap. Unappreciative of kindness and with his own view of the world, which has him firmly placed as its ruler—and who are we to argue? This suits us just dandy, we understand we are to be his loyal servants and we couldn’t love him more if we tried.

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Yogi and Boo Boo—a time to remember

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Chances are, if you are old enough to remember and game enough to confess, there is still a little place in your heart for an affable, yet goofy, cartoon bear named Yogi and his trusty side-kick, Boo Boo. However, regardless of whether these two characters are familiar to you, we say with great confidence once you meet our Yogi and Boo Boo, there will most definitely be a place in your heart for them. Both were rescued from the dairy industry—an industry that saw them as inconvenient by-products not worthy of the lives they most certainly wanted to live.

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And then they found kindness …

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Five sweet ISA Brown* hens started out life in a sea of other hens in a battery cage facility—that much we know. Their shortened beaks, a result of debeaking, tells us this much. What is unclear is just how they ended up in parkland just shy of the centre of Melbourne: a park known to harbour foxes and passing dogs, and devoid of safe places for vulnerable animals like chickens. But then they found kindness in the form of a kindly park ranger, who bundled up the dishevelled ladies and sought our assistance. Whilst these may not be the best of photos of the now feverishly excited hens (good food will do that to a starving gal), we have most certainly found the best outcome for them. Welcome ladies, welcome. Continue reading

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10 lucky turkeys: the greatest gift

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Whilst not quite the Christmas gift I had imagined, the early morning call to advise that our Christmas presents were at the front gate set me off with a spring in my step, excited anticipation in my heart and a whisper of sleep in my eye. With the sun still thinking about making her ascent, and through the fading moonlight, two very large boxes greeted me. As I stared quizzically at them, my attention was diverted by the sound of tyres crunching gravel as a car sped off down the road and ten glorious, chirping baby turkeys came into my world.

Soon each one of them was lifted from the box, weighed, feet soaked in disinfectant, bodies sprayed for parasites and a kiss bestowed on each of their fuzzy, sweet heads—and I was yet again reminded of just how much I love turkeys. While their warm bodies with their soft feathers warmed my heart, the sight of the crippled stumps of their feet that once held their toes made me want to weep. How could we? How could our society allow for such a painful disfigurement of baby animals, which only added to the woes, their tiny beaks having been seared off when they were just days old.

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Westy – the rooster who didn’t “go west”!

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The expression “go west” takes its roots from the direction the sun sets, symbolising the end of the day. Figuratively it has come to mean the demise or disappearance of someone or something. Despite that scenario being high in the tea leaves for our new feathered friend, Westy, it is not the reason for his name.

Spied on the Western Highway, actually smack bang in the middle of the Western Highway, was Westy. The terrified young rooster tried to take in his dire circumstance as he looked from left to right, not knowing which way to run. It soon got even more dire when he was literally run over by a fast-moving truck. By some stroke of good fortune, or the smarts of this wily rooster, he was dead centre of the vehicle, which meant he was not to end up dead in the middle of the road, although he was left extremely ruffled and a lot the worse for wear.

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Baa baa black sheep, have you any wool?

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Well, actually yes, indeed she does, and probably more than three bags full! Her name is Renee and she is a sweet-faced Black Suffolk ewe.

Renee, we were to learn, had been left behind after she had done a “runner” when her flock was rounded up and trucked off to slaughter some years prior. Sheep are flock animals, who take great comfort and security in their own kind. And whilst Renee had escaped imminent death, she certainly had perils of her own to contend with, not the least of which was the growing burden of her fleece.

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Turkeys are for lovin’….

The story of ten lucky turkeys will warm your heart and show you that they are so much more than a meal.  Oh, and they love watermelon!

To find out more about how turkeys are farmed in Australia click here and here.

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 Hey Jude (and Jasmine)

“When it is all finished you will discover it was never random.”

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There I was in Bendigo presenting at, of all things, the Food & Fibre Future Directions Conference. The location of this event was the TAFE College whose hallowed halls I had trod as a student almost 40 years before. The irony of change, on both fronts, was not lost on me as I nervously delivered my presentation, hitting the final note to a rousing round of applause. And I breathed.

But before heading home, I lingered just that little bit longer in one of my favourite cities, only to take a call from the folk back at Edgar’s Mission. I was soon to learn about a kind-hearted truck driver who had come across two wee lambs in Western Victoria (hours away from my location) aimlessly hiking down a busy country highway, no sheep or farm house in sight. “I couldn’t just leave them there or even tip them over the nearest fence, for they surely would have died,” he was later to tell me.

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Little Carmichael – the power of kindness

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“Wherever there is a human being, there is an opportunity for kindness” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

And never were these words truer than when little Carmichael, a lamb who at the time did not have a name or a promising future, was spied by a kind heart. Seeing the feeble young one limping along, struggling to keep up with his flock, this kind heart made attempt after determined attempt over a period of weeks to secure some assistance for the ailing animal. But sadly, her kindness was not mirrored in others, from the human responsible for his care to the various authorities charged with overseeing the welfare of farmed animals. And so, in a world where one can be just about anything, our kind heart chose to be just that—kind. Despite being several hours from Edgar’s Mission and with a young family of her own to tend to, this caller listened intently to our instructions, and, following them to a “T”, was able to negotiate the safe release of Carmichael, delivering the wee one to our care that evening.

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Hey there Georgie Girl

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The call came in late one night, as a member of the public relayed having only moments earlier come across a sheep in the middle of the road. Believing the hopelessly crippled animal had been hit by a car, they desperately sought our assist. Heading off into the dark of night, armed only with a flashlight and kindness, we nervously drove, turning down country road after country road. Just when we were starting to question our sanity, we spied the hapless animal, head peeping up amongst the long grass on the verge of the road. Indeed, her leg was a mess and in no way would it assist the freshly shorn ewe to flee. With little light to assist, it was into the van with Georgie Girl and back to the sanctuary for a more thorough assessment. Continue reading

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A Journey to Kindness

Meet Hamlet, a pig who will truly steal your heart. He was under attack from dogs trained to hunt pigs when a kind and caring neighbour stepped in to rescue the gentle boy. Hamlet is now safe and will be off to the vet shortly to have his ear assessed, you can follow his updates here.

Please note this video does contain footage that may upset sensitive viewers.

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Question: When is a raven not a raven?

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Answer: When they happen to be a “hen” who is actually a rooster. Confused? So too were we when we recently received a call from a concerned and kind-hearted member of the public who noticed a little black “hen” pecking about on their lawn recently. The plucky chicken, whilst appearing most at home, wasn’t. Because this green patch or earth was not “her” home, and many calls and door-knocking in the area revealed there was no home anywhere nearby missing one of their feathered friends. But what was nearby was a parkland area inhabited by urban foxes—not a good mix for a lone chicken. With the call for assistance coming in right on our own poultry lock-up time here at Edgar’s Mission, we simply could not abandon the animals in our care to rescue another, but we knew someone who could. With one final call to ensure the “hen” was still at the address, we heard these words, “Oh yes she is; she is happily perched on the window sill as she has been for the last couple of nights”. “Ah, ha,” we thought, “She’s a rooster”– which sadly explains why there was no home for her/him.

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Kanga: some get lucky

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Have you ever wondered why some animals get lucky and others do not? It’s something we regularly toss about in our hearts and minds each day here at Edgar’s Mission. And the story of Kanga speaks poignantly of this.

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Muffy and Duffy: sometimes it seems the world just doesn’t care

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There are few things in life that so remind us of the vulnerability of animals than those who arrive in our care in severe states of neglect. And few have arrived in a worse state than Muffy and her lamb, Duffy. That Muffy adored her baby was so evident—she had put every ounce of her being into her baby, even at the expense of her own health. Blood tests soon revealed that this courageous and loyal mother was not long for this world, as she was in the final stages of liver failure. And little Duffy … in all our years of rescue we have not seen a live lamb more emaciated than he.

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Let me tell you about Tilly

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Actually, there are two tales about Tilly; the first is the human Tilly. We recently met the young Tilly when she toured Edgar’s Mission in the company of her proud mum and sister. The tour came not long after Tilly’s birthday, where, rather than receiving presents as most young girls do on their birthdays, the kind-hearted Tilly requested, instead, donations to her favourite animal charity: Edgar’s Mission. She brought the donations to our team on the day of her tour.

And so to the tale of the second Tilly. As the universe would have it, on this very day, a little lamb in desperate need of a hand and kindness came into our care. We could think of no better name for such a sweet being than “Tilly”—they are both linked by kindness, one as the deliverer of kindness and one the recipient.

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Tickle me Elmo!!

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Whilst every day little Elmo tickles our chins, seeking the delicious taste and scents of his formula, it wasn’t always so. In fact, upon his arrival, this very young kid goat, who was found abandoned in a forest, refused point blank to feed. We have never in all of our collective lives met a tiny orphan so determined not to feed. We knew the little guy was hungry, as he would cry out, even nibbling on our trouser legs, fingers and chins, but there was absolutely no way on this earth he was going to suckle from that bottle. Absolutely NO WAY! We tried different teats, different methods and different prayers and incantations, but nothing would work. So tube feeding it was, until the day little Elmo said, “Okay, I’ll have my bottle please,” and he has never looked back!!

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Saving Bonnie and Clyde – it’s a long shot

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Message: Hi there, don’t know if you folks can help him or not, but a poor sad looking sheep has been in the pound for a couple of weeks. This morning tore my heart out as I drove past on my way to work, he stood and watched the fully laden truck with hundreds of sheep skins leave the meat works. I had to pull over on the side of the road as I was sobbing so much I couldn’t see to drive. I guess it’s a long shot, but maybe you folks can help him in some way. It was heart wrenching.  Continue reading

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Tiny Lamb

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Dwarfed by the horses who surrounded him, things were not looking good for the day-old tiny lamb. Adding to the wee chap’s woes were severely contracted tendons in his front legs, which caused him to buckle over and fall. By what circumstance this little lamb arrived in such a dire situation, we will never know, but what we do know is that it is to the good heart of a wildlife carer that he owes his life. Alerted to the plight of the orphan amidst the equines, she swung into gear—a phone call later and the aptly named Tiny Lamb was hoofing his way to Edgar’s Mission.

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Once a jolly Swagman…

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While little Swagman may well have once been a jolly little lamb as he gambolled beside his dear mum, he was certainly anything but the first time we met him.  And it was not only a broken leg that was ailing him, but two mercilessly placed rubber rings.  One on his tail and the other on his scrotum, so thoughtlessly and no doubt hurriedly placed the latter had too taken prisoner one of Swagman’s nipples.  The sum total of this painful assault on such a vulnerable and immune compromised baby was almost too much for little Swagman to bear. With his pain levels running into overdrive his interest in life and his bottle had started to wan. Wrapping little Swagman in both a blanket and our love we whispered in his little lambie ear, “you’re safe now, you’re going to Edgar’s Mission”.

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