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.
It was a dark night when Sophie came into our world, the circumstances those of a perfect storm. Delayed leaving the sanctuary for her rescue, with a tank low on fuel, a phone battery not fully charged, and a vehicle highlighting the simple yet challenging question, “If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others…why wouldn’t we?”, we bravely ventured into dairy country to rescue a blind bobby calf.
Taking the story back a week or two, we were first alerted to this tiny albeit determined waif by an animal-loving veterinary nurse holidaying in Australia. Drawn by this love, Sophie found herself working on a dairy farm, tending the many calves. “Do you know what happens to the unwanted calves?” her voice trembled. Like Alice, she had stepped into the unknown, but unlike Alice, she had wound up on the other side of the curtain that shields the dairy industry.
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.
Whilst I am not sure exactly when this diary started, I do know the first tear-stained page was etched in a commercial pig farm that should belong to a bygone era. But sadly, it and others like it do not. Here gentle sows like Princess never have a name, let alone a reason to live. Their existence is in a world allergic to compassion, kindness and even a straw bed. Their beautiful bodies and curious minds are reduced to mere productions units, producing 2.2 litters of piglets a year. Their pitiful lives are measured by output not opportunities. Yet somehow, between this servitude and her salvation, Princess and three of her buddies wound up in the middle of a state forest and herein turned a brave new page of the Princess Diaries.
On 22 July 2018 the plight of a critically injured sow met with the path of kindness. There she lay, bloodied and bleeding, her exhausted and emaciated body barely finding the strength to heave out her next breath. In what would seem like her darkest of hours, Princess was to find her north star in the form of a kind-hearted four wheel drive enthusiast who happened to be in the wrong place at the right time. Desperate, confused and devoid of phone reception, the kind heart elected to wait it out until another car came along, hoping beyond hope it would be piloted by another equally kind heart. As Princess lay stoic and motionless, save the blood still spurting from her wound, she accepted her lot as a young piglet came into view and refused to leave her side. Continue reading
On 22 July 2018, three abandoned sows and a piglet were found severely emaciated and riddled with parasites in a forest. Paving their way to kindness and our sanctuary were a wildlife rescuer and a four wheel drive enthusiast. Whilst their circumstance raises so many questions that remain unanswered, we do know they have now truly found heaven in a haystack.
Our heartfelt thanks as always to Manfred and Helen from Five Freedoms Animal Rescue and our new friend Anthony, who all serendipitously came upon the pigs on that fateful day, and whose actions ensured their safety.
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- Rescues such as these involve much time, energy, compassion and so too costs. Please, if you can, support our Medical Fighting Fund to ensure our life-saving and life-changing work on behalf of animals can continue.
It’s smiles all round for our elderly horse trio after they received dental treatments yesterday, thanks to our Five Dollar Friday Community. With our local equine vet examining, cleaning and filing away, our minds are at ease knowing Brian, Dianne and Beryl are receiving the very best treatment and the preventative care they deserve throughout their golden years.
Our Five Dollar Friday Community is a kindness army of compassionate supporters who, for the price of a soy latte each week, enable this arm of our work. If you too would like to be a part of the team keeping our animal residents smiling, please check out www.fivedollarfriday.com.au today.
This photo means so much to me for so many reasons. Let me explain. It was a day I had planned to be a quiet day (that in itself a rare thing indeed), spent inside catching up on tasks, reading a bit and maybe, just maybe, watching a movie. Alas, I hadn’t read the tea leaves very well for it was anything but. Due to some unexpected circumstances, the warmth of my bed and Jessica Kitten cuddles were replaced by the chills, biting wind and rain that are typical to a midwinter’s day here in Lancefield. Wrapped up in my woes, my day just kept heading south. Along with the temperature, I must add. None of this was helped when I misjudged the protection my gumboot could offer versus the depth of a puddle by a millimetre as cold, muddy water soon enveloped my sock and inched its murky way between my frozen toes. Adding yet another degree of delight to my day was my runny nose that saw me devoid of a tissue, although it probably would not have mattered that much as my tingling hands were frozen into the most useless of positions. “Chocolate, I need chocolate,” my soul cried, as I limped my way back to the house to oblige, granting myself the smallest of mercies. And then there was Ray Ray. And it all just melted away.
Well, at first it may have sounded like the ingredients for a good recipe but this ‘ini’ quartet will never end up on anyone’s plate. Stepping tiny hooves into our nursery and our 2018 Lamb Clan are dear little Broccolini, Tahini, Bikini and tiny Bambini.
Found by neighbours, suffering from dehydration and a bad case of entropian (where the eyelids turn in and lashes irritate the eye) was Bikini. With mum nowhere to be found and the owners not wanting the day-old lamb, the call to our sanctuary was made.
Making good his escape from a grisly fate recently was a handsome Merino whether we have christened Captain Courageous. Whether he had escaped from the abattoir by which he was found or leapt from an abattoir-bound truck we may never know, however one thing we do know for certain is whatever made this dear boy flee a situation that was unlikely to end well for him indeed sealed his fate. Some may say it was instinct as, being a prey animal, a sheep’s defence is often to flee. However, those who know sheep as we do, as individuals with unique characters and an intense love of life, may call it something different. They may call it bravery. Or courage. And after meeting this dear boy we would have to wholeheartedly agree.
There was no Return to Sender note left alongside a wayward young pig who found himself on the doorstep of a kind-hearted Samaritan recently. Asking, “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” and bundling the dear boy up like a Teddy Bear, our porcine pal then made his way to a nearby animal shelter.
This kind-hearted Samaritan could well be this little piggy’s Good Luck Charm because he was then bidding his neighbouring Hound Dogs goodbye as he was on his way to Edgar’s Mission and into our Lovin’ Arms.
Benefitting from the kindness of our Five Dollar Friday community is Mildred, a brave ewe who found sanctuary at Edgar’s Mission a little over four years ago. Dear Mildred’s back still bears the scars of the Mickleham bushfire which saw her and her companion Mavis on the run, with nowhere to call home in a country town devastated by the inferno. Since her rescue, Mildred has lived a life filled with love, friendship and, of course, wheet bix treats in our sheep flock.
However, we recently detected an abrasion on Mildred’s nose, which did not respond to treatment. We had no history of this area of Mildred’s nose being scarred from her past experiences and when the skin took on an appearance that healthy tissue never should, a biopsy was performed by our wonderful vet, Sabine. We soon received the news we were fearing as the sample returned a positive result for squamous cell carcinoma.
Little Ray Ray, a lamb born without eyes, shows courage where few would. Despite having no sight, her vision remains firm; to explore the world and all of her magic. And this is something we delight in seeing each day, as Ray Ray jumps for the sheer joy of it – with wanton abandon.
Removing darkness from the lives of farmed animals and replacing it with hope, love and kindness is something we do every day here at Edgar’s Mission. We couldn’t do this life-saving and life-changing work without people believing what we believe- that every animal deserves, at the very least, a little ray of sunshine. We ask if you can, please support our work today with a tax-deductible donation. And if you do, it won’t only be Ray Ray jumping for joy.
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 parted ways with her friends, and as we humans feel pain when relationships break down, dear How-Now was lonely and in desperate need of friendship. Nevertheless, spirited How–Now did not give up, with confidence showing her the way, she became acquainted with a friendly girl called Onesie. The dear girls sleep in the vet room within the vicinity of a warm heater. And as besties do, they chat for hours over dinner, until it’s deep into the night. And when they are not eating or chatting, they spend their days in the yard having a dust bath, as friends encourage each other to take great care of themselves, physically as well as mentally.
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.