“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing.” – Camille Pissarro
Driving along behind a stock transport vehicle, stacked high with sheep, we could not help but think, “That could have been her.”
Spared from making the short walk across the road separating the shire pound from the abattoir recently was a gentle lone merino ewe. “She’s so beautiful,” were our first words as we came face to face with the dear girl and saw up close the velvety wrinkle of her nose, those long lashes covering piercing citrine eyes and a presence that truly stopped us in our tracks, striking us at our very core. Continue reading
Little Lucille Lamb managed to out fox a fox, but she couldn’t out fox kindness. It was a kind heart who brought Lucille to Edgar’s Mission after a predator attack inflicted multiple wounds over her body, where infection had set in. Not long after her arrival, we realised it would take our very best efforts to pull her through.
The year is 1945 and in a post-World War Two USA, the powers that be hatched a plan that would change ‘chicken’ and indeed chickens forever.
The Chicken of Tomorrow Contest was launched in an effort to breed a larger, more turkey-like bird to satisfy the tastes of a post-ration America, a bird vastly different from the pure and crossbreed chickens occupying the predominantly mixed-farming operations of the day. With their promise of ‘a bird for every table’ the Chicken of Tomorrow Contest was launched by the US Department of Agriculture with the backing of a large supermarket chain among others. Continue reading
Taking his name from one of 54,000 carrier pigeons who “served” the United States Army during WWII: GI Joe was described as “an exemplary soldier”. Saving over 1000 lives shortly before the tiny village of Calvi Vecchia, Italy, was set to be bombed, earned this feathered hero a Dicken Medal for gallantry in November of 1943. Sitting in good company, the legendary GI Joe was not the only animal whose natural abilities were harnessed during wartime activities, nor was he the only one to have his service acknowledged, with over 60 animals receiving the Dicken Medal.
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.
Originally it was two little lambs to be surrendered into our care, the victims of not only a savage predator attack but a legal system that says some animals are more equal than other. But sadly, we were to soon learn only one would survive the journey, the other succumbing to the ills inflicted in the weeks prior that had not received the medical attention they rightly should.
Smile at a stranger, help an elderly person across the road, clean up litter or help an animal in need. Whilst none of these things are obligatory, they certainly present us with opportunities to evoke one of our most noble qualities, that of kindness. Born into this world incomplete, vulnerable and needy, right from the get go, we humans all need, want and flourish with kindness. It could be well said we are hardwired for kindness. The great naturalist and biologist Charles Darwin too recognized this. Although his name is so often synonymous with “survival of the fittest”, Darwin postulated that groups of individuals who looked out for one another were more successful in raising their young, ensuring their genes could go on to raise more offspring. However, science now tells us that the benefits of kindness go beyond this, benefiting both the recipient of the kind gesture as well as the dispenser of it. Continue reading