Reaping the benefits from our Five Dollar Friday Community’s kindness this week was our beloved Parker goat. Parker, a gentle giant Anglo Nubian cross has become a firm favourite among staff, volunteers and visitors alike with his cheeky personality, his unmistakable ears that often seem to have a life of their own and his perfectly executed, “Please Sir, can I have some more?” look whenever the rustle of a wheet bix box is in the vicinity of those aforementioned ears.
Over the years, Parker has been the recipient of multiple life-saving surgeries to correct issues within his urinary tract, which if left untreated or undetected, would likely have led to a most painful death. Regular checks and treatments are now part of Parker’s ongoing care regime to ensure his redirected urethra remains functioning and allows him to live a comfortable and pain-free life.
Every now and then we experience those moments of realisation that things, events and experiences have brought life around full circle. Often, these realisations come at a much later date, during times of reflection rather than at the actual moment they occur for those moments are often too painful, too demanding of our energies or too all-consuming to ever contemplate the bigger picture.
One such moment we experienced recently here at the sanctuary was the passing of our beloved Vincent van Goatee. Even the typing of his name brings tears to the eyes, still so real is the pain of losing him.
I have no doubt that each one of us has a desire to be remembered for something when our days on this earth come to an end. Were we brave and courageous, kind to a tee, intelligent, accomplished, rich and famous, did we achieve great things, right a wrong or all of the above? The list goes on. And if there is one defining quality that comes to mind when we reflect on the life of dear Vincent it was most certainly this: friendship.
A popular legend has it that an Ethiopian goat herder spied his goats nibbling on some bright berries; not long thereafter, the goats became much more energetic. Sensing there must be more to the simple berries than met his eye, the goat herder thought he’d let his taste buds decide. Soon he too received the same euphoric high his goats did. Bundling up the berries, he headed off to a nearby monastery to share his new discovery. Here the monk was not pleased at all, so much so that he threw the berries into the fire. The alluring aroma that followed was enough to ensure the roasted beans were carefully picked from the embers. Now, here’s where story gets really interesting: the roasted beans were then dissolved in hot water, yielding the world’s first cup of coffee.
There can be no doubt that goats have long enriched our lives, since their domestication around 11,000 years ago. They have featured for time immemorial in our art, folklore and fantasies. And although we may have received coffee and many other benefits from our symbiotic relationship with these gregarious even-toed ungulates—that’s just a fancy word for saying each of their cloven hooves are divided into two ‘toes’—the benefits have not been evenly shared. Continue reading
With a Facebook post alerting one of our supporters to the plight of the day-old little Dorper lamb we were to name Tweanie, our lamb clan of 2018 quickly rose to four! Feeding times now consist of four little dancing tails matched by the dexterity of our carers as they juggle four bottles and monitor intakes. When feeding orphan lambs, it is critical not to overfeed the hungry babies, tempting as their little bleats are for more. The resulting scours from overfeeding such immune-compromised babies can often prove fatal; hence our diligent recording of each feeding, all logged with love regardless of the hour of day (or night).
Promoted as getting your clothes whiter than white, the hit media campaign of the 70s (yes, that’s the 1970s—some of us folk are that old!) by whitegoods manufacturer, Whirlpool, saw the catchphrase “Guess whose mum’s got a Whirlpool?” enter the Australian lexicon. With the essence of family, caring and responsibility at its heart, we could think of no more fitting name than “Whirlpool” for a whiter-than-white little lamb who tumbled into our world one recent evening. She was found only hours earlier by kind hearts, who quickly realised that had they not intervened, Whirlpool would have tumbled from this world. With two tiny teeth threatening to erupt from her baby gums, we could safely guess this hapless lamb was but two days young.
“We don’t give up on those we love. We fight like hell until there is nothing left to give. This is how we should love each other.” Kiana Azizian
To which we wish to add, “And then we dust ourselves off and fight some more.” This is what all gentle, emotional and intelligent beings like Hip Hop Bob deserve. It’s been another intense week of rehabilitation for our beloved Hip Hop, who underwent surgery to relieve pressure on her spinal cord and although progress, as can be expected, is still slow, Hip Hop is most certainly taking some steps (metaphorically speaking of course) to recovery.
Two hourly rehab sessions in which Hip Hop is carefully lifted whilst ‘scratch foot’ exercises are performed on each hind limb are beginning to bring back some movement to her legs. We can now feel her placing pressure on our hands as this exercise is performed and every now and again a twitch of the hoof or a lift of the leg of her own accord has us feeling this may just be one obstacle our beloved girl can overcome.
Driving almost halfway across the country to find a safe haven for a little lamb is not something everyone would do. But that is exactly what Alex did to save the life of little Ray Ray, a sweet little lamb who was born without eyes. This condition, known as microphthalmia, afflicts lambs whose both parents carry this recessive gene. It is characterised by either very small or absent eyes; in Ray Ray’s case, her eyes are absent. But that does not stop her in her desire to experience the world and all of her magic. Showing courage where few would, Ray Ray loves nothing more than to jump with wanton abandon at any opportunity. Slowly too she is learning to gravitate to the sound of our clapping hands, and her “seeing eye buddy” is growing accustomed to wearing a bell.
Who would have thought that getting lost could save a life? Well, that is just what happened recently when two kind hearts set off for a trek that was to last several hundred kilometres to deliver a little blind lamb to Edgar’s Mission. But with a GPS with a mind of its own (and don’t we all know and love those!), our heroes were directed down a road most certainly least travelled and right into the path of a little lost lamb.
Coming together to help the most vulnerable and least heard amongst us no doubt brings out the best within us, and that is just what happened in the rescue of Together. One can only imagine the terror that coursed through the veins of this gentle goat as the dog latched his teeth onto her face. Ripping one ear completely off and part of the other, it was the left side of her face that bore the most severe brunt of this trauma. But battered and bloodied, she had survived, as nothing had been able to extinguish her will to live. Thankfully in the days after her rescue, as her fear began to subside, so too did the swelling that had claimed her left eye, and it was only now that a sigh of relief could be let out, as it was revealed that her eye remained intact.
Sounding more like a recipe for a good night out, Fettucine and Martini are the names of two of the most recent lamby arrivals to Edgar’s Mission. Each year we take in dozens and dozens of tiny lambs, often newborns as in the case of dear little Fettucine (and no, he couldn’t get any cuter if he tried) or ones whose mothers have passed away (sadly this was the case for the diminutive Martini, although she had struggled for over a week on her own)—and yet more have been found wandering aimlessly beside busy highways or outback country roads.
Life was meant for good friends and great adventures.
Very recently, our brave How–Now went through a break-up with her friends, and it made her sad. How–Now did not give up, she put herself out there and met her new bestie – Onesie.
The two sweet girls sleep in the vet room at night with a heater on to keep them warm. And as besties do, they chat for hours over dinner until it’s bedtime. And when they’re not eating and chatting, they spend their days in the yard having a dust bath or two.
With their herd slaughterhouse bound, Cal and Bonnet somehow found themselves on the right side of kindness and instead were Edgar’s Mission bound. That two young lives were spared shows a glimmer of hope in what is that blackest of hours for Boer goats. Introduced into Australia in 1980s from South Africa, the Boer goats have, through their selected genetics for fast growth, become renowned as “meat goats”. However, as we constantly find, regardless of the label we humans place on an animal, nothing can diminish their will to live.
Together we can save the world…
If you are reading this, it is because you care about the work of Edgar’s Mission and it is only through the belief of people such as you, we are able to change the lives of so many animals for the better. And today we did just that as we welcomed little Ray Ray (a plucky young lamb who was born without eyes), the sweet Lucky Star (who, by the most fortunate of circumstance was found weak, fragile and all alone) and the incredibly resilient Together (a gentle goat who had some days ago been attacked) into our world.
Thank you so incredibly much for believing that a kinder world is possible because we know that together we can make it happen. Have an awesome weekend.
Love and kindness as always
Pam Continue reading
Driving almost half way across the country to find a safe haven for a little lamb is not something everyone would do. But that is exactly what Alex did to save the life of little Ray Ray, a sweet little lamb who was born without eyes.
On the receiving end of the #FiveDollarFriday five star treatment, last week was our cow herd, featuring the gorgeous and gentle Latefa. Pedicures were the order of the day and cutting edge technology on hand in the form of a mobile hydraulic cattle crush and experienced and knowledgeable cattle hooftrimmer. Trimming the hooves of our beloved bovine residents is not a small task and ensuring this procedure is carried out with a minimum of stress is paramount. The dynamic system you see in action here caresses each cow and with the use of hydraulic motion gently tips him or her on the side for a quick and effective pedicure treatment to be performed with a minimum of fuss or stress. Of course Latefa and friends were soon treated to a round of wheet bix for their efforts and we rest easy knowing their hooves have been tended and are in the very best condition to ensure healthy and active lives.
Lambs are indeed social animals, relishing in the company of their own kind. And so it was to our bedroom each night dear Beanie Lamb went to ensure she was not lonely. However, coming to our rescue were the newborns, Deanie and the diminutive little Weenie. With their umbilical cords still plump with blood and nutrients, we were reminded of their vulnerability and short time dancing on this earth. Cords disinfected and clipped, warm jackets donned and life-sustaining colostrum downed, they were all set to meet their new buddy, little Beanie.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Today, December 5th is International Volunteer Day, and what better way to celebrate it than with one of our amazing volunteers, Ruth. To all of our amazing volunteers who selflessly help out at Edgar’s Mission and to volunteers everywhere we celebrate your kind and diligent contributions to make the world a better place. We dedicate today’s update on Hamlet to you. Continue reading
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.
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.
All alone, Spice had taken refuge in a nature reserve bordered by a housing estate, walking track and its adjacent busy major arterial highway, and a noisy train line. Whilst life may have seemed okay for the handsome young buck, sadly it was only a matter of time before it would not. And yet again we give thanks to Manfred Zabinskas of Five Free Freedoms Animal Rescue for ensuring this dear, albeit terrified of humans, goat received just the right shot of kindness to rein him in. By just what circumstance Spice was where he was, we will never be entirely sure, but with some of Melbourne’s major abattoirs none too far away, we feel a likely suspect is found.
As the scissors began to surrender to the dense felt that was now the fleece of the gentle Angora doe we had hastily named Julie, we doggedly battled on. Why hastily? Let me explain. Julie was one of 27 of the large herd of Angora goats recently surrendered into our care reaching a crisis point in their welfare. These gentle goats were burdened by more than four years’ worth of fleece (that’s missing over 8 shearings, as Angoras need to be shorn twice a year) and countless parasites (both internal and external), and crippled by overgrown hooves.
While many may recognize July 4th as America’s famous Independence Day from now on in we will recognize it as Independence Day for Chickens, as history will record it as the first day of Australia’s largest farmed animal rescue. Almost 1,500 laying hens destined for slaughter received a last minute reprieve when a battery hen farmer had a change of heart. Pledging the cages would never again hold a chicken the farmer nervously sought assistance to rehome the hens to safe and loving homes. At first we thought it was some kind of a joke, but meeting with the farmer at a secret location we believed him to be genuine and so on July 4th 2012 Australia’s largest farmed animal rescue began.
Five years on, and while we still celebrate Chicken Independence Day here at Edgar’s Mission, we also strive and wish for the day that no chicken will need rescuing; a day when all hens will be free. To scratch in the soil, to stretch your wings, to bathe in the dust and to feel the sun’s warm rays upon your back – these are some of the most important moments in the life of a chicken, yet they are denied to over 11 million battery hens in our country alone. Take a moment this Chicken Independence Day to join millions of people worldwide in enjoying our beautiful, heartwarming video, Normal and Natural and ask yourself, “Shouldn’t it be Normal and Natural for humans to be kind?”
Happy Chicken Independence Day from all of us here at Edgar’s Mission!
A herd of beautiful Angora goats is in desperate need of a helping hand. And that is just what we have swung into action to make possible. With the first of these goats having arrived at our sanctuary we have already commenced urgent and much-needed hoof trimming, wigging* and dag removal**. All goats have been treated for parasites and received vitamin injections. Despite being emaciated, they are welcoming of our kindnesses and are really very sweet. Bucks will shortly be castrated, and each animal assessed for any vet work required.
What we need most right now are offers of life-long homes for the animals, they truly deserve that. Angora goats do need more upkeep that other goats, with regular fleece removal and wigging essential. If you are able to assist, please send your contact details to [email protected]
We do ask for your patience in reply as our workload has suddenly increased manyfold.
* wigging is the removal of fleece from around the eyes of goats to ensure they can see
** dag removal is the cutting of lumps of encrusted faeces from the rear end of animals
A tiny lamb suddenly appearing in the headlights of a late-night traveller was something this kind-hearted driver least expected. But sadly, this was no tiny baby who had simply lost their way, as a serious head wound told of a lucky escape from a predator, who dropped the hapless animal some distance from where he ought to be. But this is where Little Boy Blue’s luck turned from bad to bright, as he was taken home and a call hastily made to Edgar’s Mission. With the wound still fresh, several stiches were needed to close the gaping hole in the little guy’s head. Now all he needed to make his life complete was a warm bottle and snazzy jacket (resigning ourselves to the fact that, sadly, Little Boy Blue would never see his dear mum again). But with determination in our stride, compassion in our hearts and teddy bears at the ready, we have promised our new friend that we will be the best mum for him we can ever be.
On this Mother’s Day we celebrate mothers, in all their glorious shapes and species, and thank them for making the world a kinder and safer place for those they love.
We’d like to dedicate Meghan’s uplifting rescue story to mothers everywhere, may your babies stay safe and sound.
When one divorces themselves of any preconceptions they have about animals and looks into their eyes, looking back at them they will see a curious and intelligent, living, breathing being who very much wants to live.