Invisible Voices

a voice for the voiceless

Happy milestones at the sanctuary

First is the adorable Hannah. As I drove up the long driveway at the sanctuary Saturday morning, I saw Hannah out near the pond trotting after one of the other Saturday volunteers, Leesa. She’s adorable, and she’s tiny. It wasn’t as noticeable when she was in the quarantine stall by herself, but out with the other goats you really notice. She’s still skinny, which is part of it, but she’s also shorter than even the smallest goats. She seems to like people (especially if she thinks you have food), but she doesn’t fit in with the rest of the goats yet. She’s only been out in the main group for a few days though. So Saturday she was out and about, mostly away from the other goats. It was neat watching her explore her new world. Terry says she’s comfortable with the other animals, and has laid down with the cows, apparently not concerned with the difference in species. Or size.

As I watched her, I got the feeling that she was filled with wonder, that life was a happy adventure now. I reflected on Terry’s assessment of her when she first had arrived, and how she seemed like she’d given up, didn’t lift her head or complain no matter what they did as they treated her for all the parasites and infections she had. Compare her early attitude to her current curiosity and comfort and happiness, and it makes me want to cry a little, in that happy way. I can’t help it, the change is just that beautiful.

She came from a farm in Virginia, we know that from the tag that was in her ear when she was first rescued. How she went from a farm in Virginia, where she bears the evidence of numerous babies, to wandering the streets of DC will always be a mystery. The basics are clear – she was likely a nanny goat, and her purpose was to bear babies who would be killed. For meat, or for other purposes, we don’t know. She’s not of the typical dairy goat breed, but at the small farms there are less distinctions, and any animal will be used for any purpose. She was likely sent to auction once she was “spent”, whatever that meant to the people who were profiting from her.

Once in a while, animals like her get lucky, and get to live out their lives at a sanctuary. I think Hannah knows just how lucky she is.

Wilbur is not only standing up on his own now and walking around with ease, if also with wobbles, he’s in the big pig yard now during the day. He isn’t completely happy about that – he was spoiled rotten when he was in the infirmary area and he would prefer that treatment continue indefinitely – but it is good for him. He’s walking more, and further, and that’s what he needs to continue to build up his strength. This is still amazing to me – he’s standing up on his own, he’s walking, and he’s strong enough to be in the big pig yard. To think that 2 months ago, we weren’t sure he’d live, or walk again.

Penelope is an older pig, one of those rescued 10 or so years ago from a truck on its way to slaughter that broke down in DC in the middle of a heat wave. The trucker abandoned the truck, the local animal activists saved the pigs who hadn’t already perished. They’re aging now, only about a quarter of them are still with us, and those who are deal with varying degrees of arthritis. Penelope was moved permanently to the infirmary area somewhere between 6 months and a year ago. I can’t remember exactly when it was, but she was moved there because her arthritis was getting bad enough that the big pig yard was no longer the place for her. She hadn’t stepped outside the infirmary area since being moved in there…until Saturday.

Saturday she walked outside and found herself a mud puddle that Parker (in the infirmary area recovering from an infection on his foot) and Wilbur and Jolene have been working on for a while. She laid down in it, and I swear she was smiling.

I scratched her back and muddy belly with my rake, and she grunted her happiness. After that when she’d see me near the pig barn, she’d grunt, as if she was saying “hey, you, over here! Back scratches appreciated!”

Smart pig. Who could resist? It worked every time.

It is so easy to take that common sentiment, caring for animals, and to become consistent with it. We need only think of others. Does it hurt them? Is it what they’d want? Is it what we’d want for ourselves?

It isn’t a logical maze. It is beautifully simple.

Go vegan.

9 responses to “Happy milestones at the sanctuary

  1. nothoney August 23, 2009 at 9:44 pm

    Fantastic post! Hannah is a cutie. I hope to be out there next weekend, if Mina’s feeling well. She’s had a rough chemo week.

    They’re all so adorable. I never seem to have time to spend with them when I’m there, but maybe someday.


  2. MarjiB August 24, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    Happy pigs are happy; love to see them all lying there all pink and perfect. 🙂

  3. kelly g. August 24, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    Awesome! Maybe it’s because my emotions are already raw today, but the tears are seriously flowing. More happy stories, please! 🙂

  4. Deb August 24, 2009 at 8:42 pm

    @nothoney – hope Mina starts to feel better! Just another couple weeks with the chemo, isn’t it? Poor girl.

    @MarjiB – there is something about pigs, when they are peaceful, they’re the ultimate in peace and tranquility. I love it when they’re half asleep, but roll over more to give better belly-rub access anyway. Not that they’re spoiled or anything! 😉

    @kelly g – glad to share the happy tears! Sometimes I wonder what I’m accomplishing with these posts, since I’m pretty sure I’m just talking to other vegans (nothing like preaching to the choir!) but then again, it seems to be motivating and uplifting for us, which is something we definitely need, as a group…so yes, there will be more happy stories! 🙂

  5. Miss Kathy August 26, 2009 at 11:06 am

    Oh this makes me feel so happy! I wish all farm animals could live this life! That is my wish and dream come true!! 🙂

    Go Vegan!

  6. Deb August 28, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    Miss Kathy, well said! 🙂

  7. Pingback: V for Vegan: » Blog Archive » The easyVegan Weekend Activist, No. 18

  8. dottie September 7, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    This is an amazing blog you have here! I loved reading about Hannah. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for goats, ever since reading that book in elementary school about the goat that ate all the trash at the dump. It’s weird the information that stays with us to adulthood!

  9. Deb September 8, 2009 at 8:43 pm

    Thanks dottie! There’s something about goats, I swear they have a direct line to our hearts! 🙂

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