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.
She was as beautiful in death as she was in life. Her haunting beauty that had defied age and circumstance, was as grace-filled as it was classic. Befitting of the most glamorous and legendary Hollywood actress, grace and poise were always hers – something that the passage of time and circumstance was never able to diminish. Lying there before me, on the crisp dew covered grass, she still commanded our awe and respect. And so too our hearts. And whilst we wept heavily, there was a lightness, a sense of calm and peace that overcame us. It was over. The waiting, the not knowing, the searching for ideas, the sinking feeling one got when they looked into her sad and lost eyes. Gemima was gone. Gone to join her one true love in this world. Gone to join Bambi.
His almost-smiling fuzzy face may well be enough to touch even the toughest of hearts but little Lexie lamb almost never was. Whilst it is incredibly tempting to stay in this moment forever, drinking in the mesmerising features of our darling new arrival, Lexie’s story begins some months ago in a far darker place, in a place where kindness is not the order of the day, a place from which sheep rarely return…
If you’re reading this now chances are you ’re nodding your head in agreement, just when you think you’ve got things figured out, life seems to toss you a curve ball. But does she? Have you ever wondered that perhaps there is a grander plan? And that things do happen for a reason, guiding you to just where you need to be. It’s not a case of luck or even serendipity, rather, that we are presented with enormous opportunities to learn important life lessons, helping us to evolve to be better versions of ourselves. On Friday just past I had the good fortune (there I go slipping to the default of luck), or should I say pleasure, of hosting a visit to the sanctuary by the journalist who required a pig for a photoshoot way back in 2003. And yes, you know what happened next.
It was so much fun catching up with Chris Beck and taking a trip down memory lane as we both mused, “Who would have thought all this could happen just because one lets a pig into their heart and home?”
Saves more than nine! No celebration of Vet nurse Day would be complete without a stop to check in on our own Vet Nurse Stitch, another of our beloved animal residents who can always be found taking time out to cuddle up and provide comfort to those recuperating in our hospital ward. Having been rescued herself at only days old after a mammoth search and recovery effort in an industrial warehouse, Vet Nurse Stitch as she is affectionately known, has well and truly taken to her self-appointed role as chief comforter and carer of all those in need. (Second in command of course to Vet Nurse Ruby!)
We were honoured to be included in a panel as part of the Melbourne Writers Festival last month alongside a number of champions of the animal activist community. Moderated by none other than Osher Günsberg, Pam Ahern, Laurie Levy, Debra Tranter and Ward Young openly and honestly discussed the emotional cost of lives spent saving animals with the take away message ringing true, “Keep rescuing animals. You may lose your mind, but you will surely find your soul.’”
A huge thank you to Melbourne Writers Festival and all involved for the opportunity to be a part of such an important event on behalf of our animal friends.
Don’t be fooled by the delicate-sounding name, our latest arrival Dandelion is as brave as they come. Having found herself in the wrong place at the right time this dear girl has suffered a terrible injury to her wing at the hands (or, more accurately, the mouth) of a too-curious canine. Luckily for Dandelion, a kind heart intervened in the nick of time and she arrived at our sanctuary, where she was quickly stabilised in our hospital. Dandelion has since undergone further veterinary assessment and is showing positive signs that a full recovery of her injured wing is possible.
“Do not go where the path may lead; go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
My trail began on the 14th of December 1961, born the second child to two damn fine human beings: Sylvia Pamela Brown and Bernard James Ahern. Wandering down many paths throughout the years, it was the discovery of an old journal recently that took me back to a path I inadvertently took in early February of 1994. A short cut led to a detour, which was to lead me to a German Shepherd dog and a change in the course of both of our lives. Out of the corner of my eye I spied what I thought was a dead dog by the side of the road. I thought that our shared moment together would be but that moment of sadness I felt for his passing. But then I thought he moved. “Did he move?” “No, he didn’t.” “Hang on, I think he did”. Teetering between arriving at work on time (as my “short cut” had already proved anything but) and the plight of the hapless injured animal, it was the hapless injured animal who easily won out. Continue reading
Together we stand, united by our love for the animal residents who call our sanctuary home. United by a kindness and compassion that sees us allies in a digitally-powered world that can sometimes appear geared toward making us go it alone.
And together we have truly changed the world for a goat named Together. You may recall this dear girl arrived into our care some months ago, terrified and suffering extensive facial injuries after having experienced a predator attack. You may have followed Together’s journey to recovery over the past weeks, which we’re delighted to announce finally culminated in her receiving a veterinary all clear, meaning Together has now recovered from her injuries and no longer requires daily treatment or medication. Continue reading
Bursting into our world and our hearts almost four years ago and proving it does take a village to raise a special needs lamb was a quirky black faced Suffolk ewe we named Saturday. A convoy of kindness ferried Saturday from the fields of rural NSW to our sanctuary, a mammoth task in itself. But all those involved who helped Saturday leapfrog her way here gave of their time and energies so selflessly, believing all the while that since we humans live in a world of possibilities and so too should our animal friends.
A first we had difficulty pinpointing the exact cause of Saturday’s inability to use her back legs, as tests, medications and therapy failed to yield any appreciable results. This left only congenital spasticity as the answer for why the messages from Saturday’s brain to her hind limbs were going awry. As dedicated volunteers rallied throughout the day to keep little Saturday mobile and reaching her goals, a specially designed cart was sought. Delivering on its promise of mobility, Saturday’s cart meant she could set about exploring every inch of our 153 acres and a few handbags as well. A task she accepted without a moment’s hesitation as if it were in the tea leaves that she always would. Continue reading
“If we could live happy and healthy lives without harming others… why wouldn’t we?”
As we round out Be Kind to Animals Week for yet another year we wanted to share with you this album of truly special moments. Some of these images may make you laugh. Some may make you smile. Some may even bring a tear to your eye. Yet each of the photos before you tells a story. They tell a story of lives, both human and animal, who have been touched by kindness. These photos tell the story of why we do the work we do.
Leaving no stone unturned to get animals like Hip Hop Bob and our most recent arrival Lucille Lamb back on their feet. The promise of a life worth living for all of our animals residents is what drives us to do the work we do. And to all those who make this possible, our unending thanks goes out to you. Continue reading