Images that will haunt us

Mavis and Mildred cut a haunting image as they emerged from the creek bed that could well have saved their lives, faces blackened and bodies covered in sooty ash.  Searching the fire grounds in the wake of the worst fires to hit Victoria since Black Saturday, the two lone sheep were spotted by wildlife rescuers in a moonscape pockmarked by the bones of not so lucky animals.  Concerned for the safety of the visibly distressed sheep a call for our help went out.  One can only imagine the terror this twosome endured as fire erupted all around them, singeing their wool and sending them fleeing for their lives.  One saving grace from the several years worth of wool that had burdened the poor sheep is that it no doubt provided protection from both burns and radiant heat.  Whilst Mavis and Mildred are still uncertain we are the good guys , we are reminded that when faced with death all creatures love life and fear for their lives, and so will we work doubly hard around the clock to ensure a happy and fleeceless future awaits them.  But for now a well-earned sleep lies ahead for all of us.

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Kindness is a language the deaf can hear and the blind can see…

And kindness is something all beings respond to, welcome and need.  And kindness is the corner stone of the work of Edgar’s Mission, a not for profit haven for rescued farmed animals.  In recognition of this Edgar’s Mission regularly makes visits to nursing homes and aged care facilities along with hosting visits from disadvantaged groups.   This week the kindness crusaders parked their van in the courtyard of the Dianella Aged Care Facility in Kilmore and unleashed a bevy of farm animals for the residents to meet. “Fostering kindness for all beings can never be understated,” said sanctuary Founder and Director, Pam Ahern.  “Every day I see how the sanctuary residents grow more confident when treated with kindness and I see here today how the elderly respond so positively to the animals.  Timmy Sheep causes many to smile and relive stories of the past.  Gentle hands outstretch to offer Miss Chief the cheeky goat a leaf to eat and dear little Ginger Chicken just delights one and all as she loves to talk.”

Lively discussions between residents ensued as the different animals were petted and feed.  With numerous studies showing the health benefits of interactions with animals ranging from reduced heart rates and anxiety to increased social engagement it seems both the humans and animals deemed the outing a success.  And there can be no doubt that the touch of an animal can melt the soul, clear the mind and make the world a kinder place for all.

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How Much is that Chicken in the Window?

Priceless! This is the only time you’ll see a real chicken in The Cruelty Free Shop! Little Miss Sunshine surprised delighted shoppers yesterday as she perused over 1500 cruelty free products at every animal lover’s dream store during their Grand Opening Week here in Melbourne. Head on in to the Cruelty Free Shop (385 Brunswick St, Fitzroy) to stock up on the kindest products on offer, including a fabulous selection of Edgar’s Mission merchandise. What are you waiting for?

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Showering Pigs With Kindness

Check out our fun new video of Polly, Captain Jack Sparrow, Albert Einswine and Snuffles cooling off with the help of Pam and the hose! Be sure to wait for 35 seconds in!! TOO CUTE! :)

 

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You’ve got mail!!!

Nellie dreams of many things; of kindly pats from softly spoken humans, succulent green grass, the company of her buddies and delicious wheetbix treats.  Whilst the green grass will not be too far off, and kindly pats are always on offer for Nellie and her buddies, a care package arrived today from Sanitarium to tick off her wheetbix wants.  What more could a sheepy want?  Yes, that’s right kindness for all beings.  Something each and every one of us can contribute to.

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‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail’

And in the wake of the recent bushfires that have raged through our community, failing to have a fire plan could well have disastrous, even fatal consequences. We give thanks to our local Kilmore CFA who in the weeks preceding the recent fires took time out to assist us with our fire plan and now we give thanks to (CFA volunteer) Dean, who has come forth to assist us moving forward to our new farm and creating the safest haven possible for our animal friends.

Don’t have a fire plan? Or want to ensure you are the best prepared you can be? Check this out.

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“It all started with a pig”

What started as offering sanctuary to one beloved pig has grown and grown as Edgar’s Mission has provided sanctuary for thousands and thousands of rescued farmed animals, but more than this it is changing hearts and minds about these once forgotten creatures. And today we learn that the Huffington Post and Ellen’s The Good News spreads our simple message of kindness for all beings with the world through words and images of our beautiful happy residents. Please keep the story alive by ‘liking’ and ‘sharing’ these articles!

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A Diet of Peace

It was through weary and bloodshot eyes that we greeted a true champion of peace and one of our heroes earlier this week.  Will Tuttle, PhD and author of ‘The World Peace Diet’ made a whirlwind visit to the land down under and a whistle stop tour of Edgar’s Mission. For those who missed hearing Will speak during his visit, ‘The World Peace Diet’ is only a library visit away and a damn good read too!!

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Pro Bono Australia Changemaker

‘After 30 years as an equestrian, animal advocate Pam Ahern’s life took a very different direction after reading one book. Pam Ahern is this week’s Pro Bono Australia Changemaker.’

Learn more about Pam, her favourite saying, what book she is reading at the moment, her greatest challenges and achievements here.

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Dishing out Kindness

Since the fires first commenced, Edgar’s Mission has been on hand to assist those in need.  From securing fencing, to containing livestock, checking and feeding animals whose families had evacuated and were prevented from returning (and reporting back details of their condition), moving roaming livestock to safety, offering sanctuary to displaced animals, assisting humans in need, distributing feed and supplies to those affected and more; Edgar’s Mission has been on hand to dispense kindness where it is needed most.  And our sincere thanks to all those who have made this possible.

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Out of the Ashes

“I was just sitting here looking up the blackened hill when the ashes began to move,” retold the kindly, albeit exhausted resident of Diggings Road, Willowmavin.  Diggings Road suffered terribly from the fierce fires that erupted last Sunday and was to do so on several further occasions in the days that followed. Diggings Road is also just a little more than a stone’s throw from Edgar’s Mission. “I looked again, and realised that past the fallen fences and twisted wire gates, it wasn’t the ashes I was seeing but four head of young cattle followed by four older Angus heifers coming over the hill from the blackened scrub.” Ushering the resolute octet into a yard, hay and water was given with the hope that an owner too would soon emerge, for these fences were not designed to contain hungry and robust bovines.

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Today we give thanks

February 14th is traditionally recognised as Valentine’s Day, a day on which romance fills the air and couples declare their love. But today, we here at Edgar’s Mission celebrated February 14th as  our day of thanks. The incredible crisis we have faced over the past week, a crisis we were not sure we could ever survive, has reminded us time and again of the one thing we truly do believe in, and that is the human heart’s immense capacity for kindness.

A special note of unending thanks to;

CFA and all the selfless members of the community who assisted protecting our community

Dr Cat Veterinary Services

DART – Disaster Animal Response Team Australia

Northcote Vet and the wonderful Kim Sheridan

Honey’s Pledge/Linda Mira-Bateman , Winged Horse Equine/Carolyn Bischof and all your friends from today

Highlands Produce

SAVE a Dog

RSPCA Burwood

Broadford Fruit Shop

Dave Mould

The Watts Family

Lynn Trakell

Janet Hawkins

Rosemary Wilkinson

Our ‘satellite’ sanctuary in Melbourne

Damian Laffan/Fast Flow Water cartage

Pheasant Creek Stockfeeds and Supplies (and all those who donated fodder via)

Our many volunteers and supporters who assisted in getting food and supplies to us as well as commencing the enormous task of cleaning up

To everyone who has donated funds to assist farm animals in need at this critical time

And to all those my brain has omitted in its sleep deprived state along with those who could not directly help but held us in your thoughts, our sincere unending thanks indeed.

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Fire Danger

Update – Saturday February 15th
Update – Friday February 14th
Update – Thursday February 13th at 8.00pm
The happiest album ever…. 
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so what more can we say other than today we welcomed back some of our evacuated friends and moved others back to their usual paddocks. These images will truly go down in our memory as some of our happiest moments ever. See what you think, and we are sure you will never doubt that non- human animals are emotional creatures too!! To see the pictures please click here.
Update – Thursday February 13th at 4.00pm

Today is the first time I have left the property since the fires commenced, save the few short respite dashes to check on animals at neighbouring properties whose owners had evacuated and were prevented from returning.  The thought that we are almost home safe was brought to a rapid halt by the sight of six fire tankers sitting at the base of our road and a further four tankers and one support vehicle a little further away.  It is however comforting to know that should there be another flare up the amazing CFA crew will be on hand to save us once again.

The sight on either side of the road as we drove was a moon scape of burnt out paddocks, destroyed fencing, downed and blackened trees, homes lost and dead stock.  And the heart stopping images of a farmer walking amongst his sheep shooting the injured will haunt me forever.  This sad reminder of just how close the fires came and just how lucky we are, is truly something I never wish to experience again. But despite the tragedy I saw surrounding me, I too saw hope.  Crews already working on fencing, tractors clearing trees and volunteers crews assessing the damage.   The fact that I am able to relay this story to you today is because the tireless and wonderful CFA volunteers kept us safe, please donate to them if you can. For more pictures please click here.

Update – Thursday February 13th at 11.30am

All quiet on the western front

and eastern, northern and southern.  No new smoke or ash, no emergency service vehicles in the area, nor can they be heard in the distance.  The odd chopper flies overhead every now and then.  A rather uneventful night, save the flashing lights from vehicles in the early hours of this morning at our corner as tankers were refilled.  With little to no wind again today and rain forecast for this afternoon we feel a great deal more comfortable but we know we can never be complacent.  We have commenced moving some animals back to their paddocks and look forward to the return later today (all things going well) of some of our evacuated residents. Dare I say breakfast beckons….

Update – Wednesday February 12th at 10.30pm

Sleep beckons…

Sorry, this will have to be quick as I still have a zillion things to do but I know how much Edgar’s Mission means to everyone and I never wish to let you down so here is our latest update.  As we commence night four of our night watch rotation one could be forgiven for thinking calm has returned to the sanctuary.  But life as we knew it will never be the same.  One hears of these tragedies but nothing can prepare you for when you are thrust into ground zero.  Today provided us with few dramas as we have become all too familiar with the constant ‘bloops’ coming from our phones informing of the latest fire conditions.  A quick glance to see the location is ‘not ours’ brings a sigh of relief but then a sense of guilt for it means some other poor innocent will have their life, loves and home under threat.  For now only the distant sound of vehicles putting out spot fires and building fire breaks can be heard, and these are nowhere as close as they were last night.  We are none too sure if the air is actually clear of smoke or it is that we are just so used to it we no longer notice.  There is however a distinct absence of the smoke haze that has engulfed the sanctuary for the last few days.  Whilst sleep and my wonderful mattress beckon it will not be a deep one, but happy visions of Damian and his tanker pulling into our driveway with a little halo encircling the vehicle will remind me there is always hope in the darkest of situations.  I take comfort too that some one is watching over us, I pray they continue to do so, and I also pray for rain.

Update – Wednesday February 12th at 9.30pm

At least I think it is Wednesday, I seem to have lost track of time. Rotation fire patrol throughout the night brought forth no bad news but sadly little sleep. The sounds of vehicles and machinery working throughout the night in the south east gave a sense of fear but also relief. Fear, in that the fire was still active but relief knowing the guys were out there working to halt the fire spread and build a fire break. Have I said how much we love the CFA? Smoke still fills the air but is definitely not as bad as previous days. The sounds of choppers over head is now routine, and so too the sight of fire vehicles zipping down the road, but we are still safe. With our water use stretched to the maximum over the last few days by way of watering the house roof and dampening down, water for our own personal use is greatly restricted (restricted shower use or short showers with a friend, peeing outside, no use of the washing machine, no washing of dishes-although Kyle and Peter tell me ‘that’s nothing new!’) and we give thanks that our power remains.

Little wind here this morning is welcomed and I am pleased to report my upgrade of bed from a yoga mat, pillow, with a newspaper over my face to a mattress borrowed from one donated to the animals is greatly appreciated. Sadly my bedroom is still a poultry refuge and the ducks are having a field day. All animals are safe, no injuries to report and are coping well. House still looks like a war zone but it remains unsafe to let the non-evacuated poultry outside.

Our thoughts go out to those who have lost their homes and animals and I cannot thank the amazing support team I have around me, you guys rock and give me inspiration.

It is times like this I am reminded of my dread of personal contact with people (for those who know me I am the non-huggy touchy feely type and rare is the time I tell people I love them) however over the last few days that has changed. Never before have I said ‘I love you’ to those around me as I embrace them with a big hug. Please let the lesson here be, tell those around you how much you love them for you never know when it will be too late. Stay safe, I love you all big time.

Ps, sorry for any typos I am way too tired.

NEWS FLASH!!!! Damian Laffan has just arrived with a tanker load of water, I think I am about to cry!!!!! And Damian is about to get a big hug!!!!!!!

Update – Tuesday February 11th at 10.30pm

Our fire watch patrol notation for just now is ‘all clear’. Watches will continue throughout the night. Despite another flare up from the Diggings Road fire (directly south of Edgar’s Mission) this afternoon the threat was very quickly controlled with tankers and water bombers. Once again the CFA have protected our community. To the many people who have offered to assist in evacuating our animals our sincere thanks indeed, however our area is under a police blockade. No one is allowed into the area and should we leave we will not be permitted to return. Here’s hoping for an uneventful night, calmer days, more sleep and RAIN, RAIN and more RAIN!!!

Thank you all once again for your good wishes and positive thoughts, we cannot tell you how much it means to us all!

Update – Tuesday February 11th at 8.30am

We are safe, for now. Another flare up from the south last night had us on high alert, with a vigilant fire watch rotation throughout the night. It is very odd seeing no poultry about the farm, they are either holed up in the house or have been evacuated. To say the house is an absolute mess is an understatement but the animals are safe and that is the main thing, we can always clean the house. Little wind here this morning gives us some relief and an eerie calm has descended on the farm. We remain on high alert as forecast winds for later today will pose more risk. Our fire plan is working well. We have been blown away by just how many people love and care for Edgar’s Mission as we do and we are sorry we have not been able to respond to your many calls and emails, our priority, as we are sure you will understand is to keep the animals safe (and stay awake!). We will endeavour to keep you updated throughout the day, and again we thank you all so very much for holding us in your thoughts.

Update – Monday February 10th at 6.15pm

CFA next door collecting water from dam and bombing with 2 choppers! Our thanks to the CFA – please keep us safe!

Update – Monday February 10th at 12.30pm

Local fires have reignited in our area. Enacting our fire plan now. We will update you as soon as we can. Please do not call!

For updates please check our Facebook Page

Update-  Monday February 10th at 7am

We are all safe (for now), tired, exhausted but safe and alive. Sadly some close by in our area have lost their homes and we are unsure about their livestock. We do not know the full extent of damage to our area and are endeavouring to assess this now. We are thankful that our animals that were evacuated are safe, God bless those that assisted. However the fire threat is still in our area. Please do not attempt to come to farm it is not safe to do so. We will endeavour to keep you updated throughout the day. We cannot thank you all enough for your thoughts and we give thanks to the tireless work of the CFA.

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A moonscape of hope

Today is the first time I have left the property since the fires commenced, save the few short respite dashes to check on animals at neighbouring properties whose owners had evacuated and were prevented from returning.  The thought that we are almost home safe was brought to a rapid halt by the sight of six fire tankers sitting at the base of our road and a further four tankers and one support vehicle a little further away.  It is however comforting to know that should there be another flare up the amazing CFA crew will be on hand to save us once again.

The sight on either side of the road as we drove was a moon scape of burnt out paddocks, destroyed fencing, downed and blackened trees, homes lost and dead stock.  And the heart stopping images of a farmer walking amongst his sheep shooting the injured will haunt me forever.  This sad reminder of just how close the fires came and just how lucky we are, is truly something I never wish to experience again. But despite the tragedy I saw surrounding me, I too saw hope.  Crews already working on fencing, tractors clearing trees and volunteers crews assessing the damage.   The fact that I am able to relay this story to you today is because the tireless and wonderful CFA volunteers kept us safe, please donate to them if you can. Continue reading

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Update from Edgar’s Mission’s ‘satellite’ sanctuary.

We thank you all once again for your love and concern for our beautiful rescued residents.  We trust these happy images of our evacuated residents enjoying suburban life will make you smile as they did us.  Apologies to surrounding residents for our vocal roosters!!

The current situation on the ground here at the sanctuary is ‘watch and act’. Fire activity has flared again in Diggings Road, not too far off but the wonderful CFA were swiftly on hand grading fire breaks and putting out the fire.   We will forever remain vigilant.

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This is Lucky Phil…

Now Lucky Phil might not look too lucky to you at the moment with his painful ulcerated eye (the result of an embedded grass seed that still remained), severely emaciated and tape worm ridden little body along with several embedded grass seeds that had penetrated his skin and caused pussy abscesses, but he did have the good fortune to catch the gaze of a kindly motorist. Continue reading

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Home alone- meet McAllister

With a property sold and everyone gone, a lone sheep remained.  Thankfully the call went out and McAllister now has a new home to call his own.  A timely reminder to everyone when relocating always ensure animals are a part of the moving on plan too.

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Thank you Deb

Today we bid farewell to Deb, who over the past six months has spent her Long Service Leave as both Farm Hand Extraordinaire and Shop Manager here at Edgar’s Mission. We will be forever grateful to Deb for her wonderful work around the sanctuary over this time, in particular for posting out the many Christmas merchandise orders that came her way, always with a smile on her face and the doting Rory dog by her side. But of course, this is not ‘Farewell’ but simply ‘See You Later’ as Deb will be continuing on as one of our wonderful Volunteer Coordinators.

Thank you Deb, we will miss you and we wish you all the very best with your future endeavours.

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Old dogs and children and watermelon wine….

Although I have never tasted watermelon wine and having children has not been on my radar, I have had the good fortune to share my life with several old dogs and so, I can wholeheartedly attest to their worthy inclusion in Tom T Hall’s list of the three most worthwhile things in life.  And it is only now that I can bring myself to type the words, “My dearest Jaspar, fare thee well.” Continue reading

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February Competition

Its Competition Time again!! For your chance to win an Edgar’s Mission 2014 Calendar leave a comment with a funny caption below. The Geese have something very important to say – what is it? Winner announced in February Trottings! Goodluck!

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Campaign Action of the Month

Throughout 2014 we will be devoting each month to a group of our animal friends.  February is dedicated especially to roosters, so dire is their plight. And so, our three part campaign action this month is also devoted to them. Continue reading

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Signed, Sealed, Delivered

Now we have heard of rough seas and strong winds throwing ships off course, freak storms and dangerous conditions stopping travellers in their path and even the failure of mechanics sometimes leaving motorists stranded. However, it was a duck that recently caught our Edgar’s Mission Kindness Van off guard, causing it to spin 180 degrees and sending it back in the opposite direction. Continue reading

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