It was Babe the pig in the movie of the same name who famously “La la laaa-ed” her way into many a heart worldwide. Following in her footsteps is another perky pink piglet with a set of lungs to rival the greatest songstress. Barbra Streisand squealed her way into our hearts this week, telling us in no uncertain terms that “Happy days are here again!”
Whilst her name and her antics may bring smiles to all of our faces, Barbra’s start to life most certainly did not. Winding up at a rural veterinary clinic after being found roadside by a concerned traveller, Barbra’s body tells us her journey to kindness has not been an easy one. With sunburn afflicting her pink skin, her ears severely burned, Barbra’s sensitive young feet too had been scalded, most likely from walking on the hot asphalt road alongside which she was discovered. Cuts and abrasions punctuated her sides and Barbra’s emaciated form told of some time spent struggling for survival. Adding to her woes is a painful case of joint ill, requiring antibiotics and pain relief to reign in.
Thomas save her. It was a Sunday evening when the call came in. A frightened goat had wound up in an industrial precinct, huddling in an alleyway between two factories, in the Melbourne suburb of Thomastown.
Our hearts fell as our phone pinged, letting us know that photos of the thin grey goat had been received. Putting our best laid plans for a quiet evening aside, we knew we had no option but to render assistance. Continue reading
Did you know sheep have great memories and read facial expressions to determine how their pals are feeling? They do this to us too, preferring happy, smiling human faces over unhappy ones! Did you know sheep make best friends and have displayed problem solving abilities such as working out how to lie down and roll over a ‘hoof proof’ grid to reach greener pastures on the other side?
“I may not agree with what you have to say…
But I will defend to the death your right to say it.” – Voltaire
Seventeenth century philosopher, Voltaire was no stranger to controversy. Renowned for his wit and unique ability to shine a new light on previously recorded events, Voltaire’s perspective caused many to pause and reconsider all they once believed to be true.
Finding himself with almost nowhere to turn recently after crash landing at a mechanic’s workshop was a young rooster by the same name. Fortunately for the avian Voltaire, his public was a little more receptive, ferrying the young bird to a nearby vet after which he was Edgar’s Mission-bound.
Reminding us of the vulnerability of domesticated animals was a young lamb recently spotted at a truck stop on a busy highway. Whilst her circumstance was unknown, her fate was almost sealed, had not the goodness of the human heart come to the fore. With phone call after phone call seeking to ensure a safe outcome for the wee one, it was believed one had been secured, and a peaceful night of sleep was had by the kind heart. However, with the rising of sun, so too came a rising anxiety for the sheep, and so off they set just to be sure things had been put right. Heartache upon heartache, our Good Samaritan’s heart sank as they saw the hapless animal still by the roadside—all that time and no help had come.
If a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
If a goat turns up at a council pound and no one comes forth to claim him, does his life matter?
Whilst the first question may have fuelled many a philosophical debate over the years, to the second we respond with an emphatic and wholehearted, “Yes!” Sadly though this second inquiry is not a mere hypothetical thought experiment but the predicament in which our latest arrival Buckwheat, a most handsome and noble Boer cross goat, found himself through no fault of his own. Continue reading
Arriving at Edgar’s Mission with ulcerated eyes courtesy of embedded grass seeds and an advanced case of flystrike afflicting his face, it appeared luck was something that had not been on the young wether’s side for some time. To add insult to injury (make that, injury to injury) at some time during his short life, the lamb appeared to have been hit by a vehicle, suffering a fractured olecranon (bony tip of the elbow), rendering him almost immobile.
However, after a fateful encounter with a kind heart, the dear boy’s luck took a turn for the better as he was Edgar’s Mission-bound.
The secret life of pigs is well and truly in the spotlight with the arrival of our very own Secret Seven.
The porcine family, consisting of two sows with five piglets between them, had been battling to survive for some time after having been abandoned on a property. With their reprieve coming by way of intervention by the local council, the septet were then Edgar’s Mission-bound.
Quickly named for her portly proportions that were far more befitting of a Victorian era, the Duchess of May arrived at our sanctuary greatly in need. Although her “bustle-esque” figure was quickly refined thanks to a long, long overdue shearing, we now feel a more fitting name for our new ovine friend could well have been “Mrs Robinson” for her overtly keen interest in her much younger companion, the Duke. Yet knowing full well a rose by any other name would still smell as sweet, the name has stuck, and so too the great bond between the Duchess and her Duke. Continue reading
Many people are now aware of the plight of the bobby calf: sweet doe-eyed babies taken from their mothers only hours after their birth so the milk nature intended for the calf can be harvested for human consumption. Sadly, many, in a bid to escape complicity with this cruelty, choose goat’s milk as a “humane” alternative, in the misguided belief that goats are “natural” producers of milk who do not have to be pregnant in order to commence the lactation process. Yet mammals are mammals, and in the goat’s milk industry as in the cow’s milk industry, the babies are usually unwanted by-products fated to have short and motherless lives. And so dear little Snowy (a sweet Saanen buck) and the dapper Bluey (a refined British Alpine buck) came into the world, off-shoots of the caprine dairy industry, getting lucky of sorts, finding a home in regional Victoria. But their fortunes turned once again as their cutes became more of an annoyance than a delight, and for their innocent crimes they came within days of having their lives ended.
Now, our new buddy Hank may be built like a tank, and he does have an equally tough exterior, but beneath that rough surface lurks a sweet little lamb who, although yet to emerge, is none too far away. With the necessary adherence to our strict “no breeding” policy carried out, we provide the handsome Hank no reason to ever reply “no t’anks” to our offerings of kindness.
No we didn’t name him “What”, we named him “Pumpkin”! The reason why sits somewhere between his magnificent orange coat and his love of this sweet vegetable. Quirky in form and most friendly by nature, Pumpkin has been earmarked as a new BFF for little Elvis Pigsley. Currently sharing an adjacent yard to Elvis, the two are getting to know one another, and each evening the dulcet oinks of “I’m not lonesome tonight” can be heard.
With her size in an inverse proportion to her indomitable will to live, a lamb with two adorable and symmetrical black patches over her frightened eyes recently came into our world. On the receiving end of a dog attack that had claimed the life of both her mother and another flock member, Patchini bore the legacy of a short life hard lived. Unable to move her neck due to painful swelling, aggressive bruising and deep-reaching wounds, little did Patchini know that she was about to swap heartache for happiness, although the transition was to prove slow.
Meet Skippy and Joey. A sad twist of fate saw this ovine duo’s world turned upside down when their human friend passed away, however kindness intervened and they were soon Edgar’s Mission-bound.
It’s safe to say, the kind heart who set out to seek a safe and happy outcome for Skippy and Joey hadn’t quite anticipated what lay in store. With loving forever homes for sheep few and far between, it was a chance referral to Edgar’s Mission that saw a lifeline thrown the girls’ way. However, Skippy and Joey hadn’t quite got the memo that we were indeed the good guys and it was only after some impressive fence-hurdling antics akin to that of their resident kangaroo friends (hence the names) that Skippy and Joey were eventually aboard our Kindness Van. Continue reading
Undiminished by her disability, Babe, a rescued bobby calf inspires us daily that sight is but a state of mind, and that a vision for a kinder world rests within us all. The very first photo we saw of sweet Babe told of the fondness she had found at the hands and heart of a kindly worker who had ever so gently painted a red heart on the calf’s side. Determined to find a happy outcome for Babe, several phones calls lead to Edgar’s Mission where happily ever after and a life unhindered by prejudice awaited Babe. Watching the sweet Babe and her belled buddy, Sophie we have pause to thought that the greatest disability held is perhaps by those humans who see animals not for who they are, rather only for what they can produce.
“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision”.
“She’s a feisty one,” we cooed as we gently plucked the bemused little Muscovy duck from the back of the ranger’s vehicle. Despite her vocal and wing-flapping protests, we loved her the instant our eyes meet. Found doing unwelcome laps on a householder’s pool, Feisty had flown in from who knows where. Highlighting how poorly protected our feathered friends are, there exist no statutory requirements for holding lost, stray or abandoned birds. Fortunately, in this instance we were able to offer sanctuary to this sweet, albeit forthright duck—her fate is now good, but sadly this does not address the problem so many of her kind face. Feisty did not fall from the sky, she is not the result of native waterbirds breeding; rather, her existence is the result of human intervention. And so to tackle the dire circumstance so often faced by unwanted, lost or abandoned birds, we need to go back to the root, or in this case the nest of the problem, and remind one and all that we are forever responsible for who we have tamed—a feisty problem indeed. Continue reading
Almost run down by a fast-paced BMW, the terrified kid goat dodged yet another bullet, or more to the blunt point, a fancy car. The previous day it had been chaotic traffic on an overpass that nearly claimed her life and the day before it could well have been a train. Whilst her past remains uncertain it was clear her future would have been both bleak and sealed had she not been seen for the vulnerable little being in urgent need of a kindly hand that she was. With the universe guiding her to the safety of a secure backyard, all kind-hearted council rangers could do was watch and thank their (and her) lucky stars they were at the right place at the right time. Not long thereafter the Lady in the Hat stood peering into the back of the Edgar’s Mission Kindness van cooing the words “I see you, you’re safe now”, and for the first time in a long time ICU was.
Roaming in a public reserve with many years’ fleece eventually proving too great a burden to carry, this handsome boy found kindness in the nick of time. Named ‘Better’ because that’s exactly what he deserves, a much-needed haircut was promptly scheduled as our work begun to ensure his would be a life worth living from here on in.
Well we all know how that one goes but this Jack didn’t jump over a candlestick. It was most likely a leap over a fence or gate that saw this young Boer goat holed up in an outer suburb pound recently. Fearful of we humans at first and quick to nimbly flee from our presence, it didn’t take too long for this dear boy’s personality to shine through as he began to nibble on our outstretched hands in anticipation of a treat, slowly learning we were indeed the good guys.
This is Try
Try, an ageing merino ewe, was witnessed recently by a member of the public aboard a livestock transport vehicle, desperately clinging to life as she lie almost motionless on the trailer floor, having endured being trampled beneath the hooves of her terrified companions. Injured, exhausted from her efforts to stand and covered in excrement, it was a miracle the elderly sheep had even made it this far. Some of her companions sadly had not been as fortunate, having succumbed to their injuries having had no way to escape from beneath the sea of hooves upon them.
In a twist of fate, as the livestock truck pulled into a service station, the stricken ewe made eye contact with the occupants of the vehicle beside her and a connection was made between the heart of this dying sheep and the people who saw her. Following the tug of their heartstrings, the kind hearted Samaritans knew what had to be done.
And so, they tried.
Captain- defn: A leader. One in command.
And commanding our attention recently was a handsome Wiltshire Horn wether we have christened The Captain. Having arrived at our sanctuary after experiencing an horrific predator attack, The Captain simultaneously reminds us of all that is good in the human heart and all that is wanting in our relationship with the animals we farm for food and fibre.
Suffering severe wounds which see the muscle of his forelimb completely exposed and at risk of infection, The Captain’s condition upon his arrival at our sanctuary caused us to audibly gasp. Whilst The Captain was fortunate to eventually cross paths with a kind heart who brought him into our care, it was evident his injury was not recent but one that had been present for some time. Exactly how someone could allow a living, feeling being to endure such pain was beyond us. Charismatic and welcoming of our attention, our hearts sank even further when we realised The Captain was trusting of mankind, meaning he had most likely held a close relationship with a human in his past. Somehow this made the failure to meet his basic needs all the more upsetting.
Losing her mother almost immediately after her arrival into this world, La-tini could have been forgiven for giving up right there and then. In need of immunity-boosting colostrum, life-sustaining formula, warmth and care, her future looked bleak at best.
Upon arriving at our sanctuary and being provided with all of the above and more, it wasn’t long before La-tini had settled into her new routine. Keeping Lucille lamb company in between veterinary appointments, seeking out the closest human to win over with her earnest eyes and faux milk moustache and joining ‘her girls’ (our staff) on their daily morning tea break, La-tini’s easy acceptance of the world around her taught us so much more than she will ever know. Continue reading
“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.” – Camille Pissarro
Driving along behind a stock transport vehicle, stacked high with sheep, we could not help but think, “That could have been her.”
Spared from making the short walk across the road separating the shire pound from the abattoir recently was a gentle lone merino ewe. “She’s so beautiful,” were our first words as we came face to face with the dear girl and saw up close the velvety wrinkle of her nose, those long lashes covering piercing citrine eyes and a presence that truly stopped us in our tracks, striking us at our very core. Continue reading
Little Lucille Lamb managed to out fox a fox, but she couldn’t out fox kindness. It was a kind heart who brought Lucille to Edgar’s Mission after a predator attack inflicted multiple wounds over her body, where infection had set in. Not long after her arrival, we realised it would take our very best efforts to pull her through.
Taking his name from one of 54,000 carrier pigeons who “served” the United States Army during WWII: GI Joe was described as “an exemplary soldier”. Saving over 1000 lives shortly before the tiny village of Calvi Vecchia, Italy, was set to be bombed, earned this feathered hero a Dicken Medal for gallantry in November of 1943. Sitting in good company, the legendary GI Joe was not the only animal whose natural abilities were harnessed during wartime activities, nor was he the only one to have his service acknowledged, with over 60 animals receiving the Dicken Medal.
On 22 October 2018, four abandoned, emaciated and (in some cases) injured pigs found salvation. Exchanging the rugged terrain of a State Forest for a straw-lined vehicle and kindness, they were Edgar’s Mission bound and a new chapter of their lives began. And whilst we knew that would not be the end of their story, we didn’t know there was still an untold chapter, as one lone sow was to remain, navigating her way through the rugged terrain and a most inhospitable world.
Originally it was two little lambs to be surrendered into our care, the victims of not only a savage predator attack but a legal system that says some animals are more equal than other. But sadly, we were to soon learn only one would survive the journey, the other succumbing to the ills inflicted in the weeks prior that had not received the medical attention they rightly should.
Gratitude is described as “the quality of being thankful”, expressing a “readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness”. And gratitude is something we are encouraged to express every day, giving thanks for the simple things that give our lives meaning and often purpose. Gratitude is also something we felt an enormous sense of recently when two “more senior” goats came into our world. With horns more suited to wily rangeland bucks of a fierce and unwelcoming persuasion, we were more than grateful that the holders of these impressive horns, which thankfully did not live up to that fearsome expectation, were none other than two very diminutive little old nanny goats. With our goat numbers set to nudge 100, the thought of just how to accommodate two more was soon put to rest as our good friends at Equine Shepherd Sanctuary only too readily offered a room, or should we say pasture, at their inn for Edith and her dear friend Edna. Such a gesture of kindness causes our gratitude to know no bounds.
It was no laughing matter for a young goat who discovered his days of wandering at large in an inner Melbourne industrial area were numbered. With a developer having purchased the land on which the now-named Brooklyn had called home, they were surprised to hear the words, “You bought the land, the goat is yours,” down the phone line.
And whilst moments like this could well cause our spirits to sink and have us shaking our fist at humankind as a whole, so often these are the very same moments in which we witness the full capacity of the human heart. With the land no longer suitable for Brooklyn to call home (in fact his featherweight condition, proximity to major roads and lack of any companions suggest this was never a suitable life for a goat) the developers’ options were severely limited and the advice was to have the timid and flighty Brooklyn, who nobody could get within metres of, shot. Continue reading
Those who know and love roosters will know them to be almost poetic in their existence with their passion for life, exuberant vocalisations and ability for grace and eloquence in movement.
However, sadly it is not a love story that is written for so many roosters who find themselves unwanted and abandoned simply for having been born male. It is more than an unfortunate consequence of the rise in popularity of the backyard hen that around 50% of birds hatched out will be male. With the poetic vocalisation of roosters not welcomed in suburban areas by some, sadly this leaves so many with nowhere to call home and sanctuaries such as ours can only safely accommodate so many. As unsuspecting chicken carers buy ‘sexed’ day old chicks, we receive calls time and again for ‘guaranteed female’ chicks who grow up to crow and have nowhere to turn.