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).
“If we are to reach real peace in this world… we shall have to begin with children.” — Mahatma Gandhi
Recently we were fortunate to have a delightful group of young adults from Templestowe College join us for our educational programme. The day began with a talk from our inspiring Founder Pam Ahern. Pam took our visitors on a voyage, allowing them inside Pam’s compassionate world and how it all commenced. From rescuing a loveable piglet called Edgar to giving up her successful equestrian career, and sharing her story of how she ended up on the road where she dedicated her existence to liberating farmed animals and creating a more kind and compassionate world.
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.
Finding your Why
It has been said the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why and on this very day back in 2013, a determined and courageous hen named Little Miss Sunshine was lifted from the crowded and barren battery cage that had contained her for the first two years of her life.
On this day five years ago, Little Miss Sunshine stretched her wings for the very first time, she felt the sun’s warm rays beam down upon her skin and she learned how it felt to walk upon cool, soft earth.
They say it takes a village to raise a child and it takes an entire community to save the precious life of an affable, clever, gorgeous and beloved pig.
If you have been following our recent updates, you will be all too aware that our dear Hip Hop Bob underwent surgery earlier this week to relieve the pressure being placed upon her spinal cord in an effort to restore sensation to her rear limbs.
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.
“Tiny, she’s shiny. She looks so neat above her feet, we call her Tiny shiny”
My name is Pam Ahern and to many people, I have become synonymous with pigs and farmed animals—for after all, it was a pig who trotted into my world in 2003 and changed both of our lives forever. But what not so many people know is that it was a little one-time stray cat named Tiny who first ignited my fascination and love for animals in all of their glorious forms—something the passage of time has failed to extinguish. Little Tiny and her “plus one” Blackie were the first animals to ever grace my world. Rounding out the four-legged contingent of our family was Laddie, an affable yet goofy black Labrador who often mistook me for a tree as we became constant companions and together navigated every inch of our family’s backyard. To Laddie I was the most important person in the world. Through his gentle presence, I learned of the unreserved loyalty of dogs that so easily lends itself to the self-sacrifices dogs make in saving their humans.
It’s been a week since Ray Ray’s epic road trip to Edgar’s Mission and not a day goes by in which we aren’t blown away by this dear little lamb’s ability to thrive despite seemingly insurmountable odds. Born with no eyes, Ray Ray is a lamb many would discount as being able to live a full and rich life. But not kind-hearted Alex, who saw hope where others might see none and who left no stone unturned to secure Ray Ray’s future.
This week Ray Ray was back on the road, albeit this time for a far shorter trip to our trusted friends at Animal Eye Care, Malvern for a thorough ophthalmologist examination and expert opinion on her condition. You can imagine our delight when we received the news Ray Ray indeed has every chance of leading a full and happy life and is experiencing no current complications as a result of her condition. We now have a care plan in place and regular check-ups as Ray Ray grows will ensure we can identify any issues if they arise and provide prompt treatment.