Hip-Hop Bob and the evolution of us
Hi, my name is Hip-Hop Bob, and this is my story.
Unlike so many pigs my mother gave birth to me in a huge pile of perfectly placed straw. My mum Eliza had spent many a painstaking hour getting it just right, moving a piece here, taking a mouthful there. You see mother pigs would naturally spend hours, even days on end making a nest out of grass, branches, sticks and twigs to give their piglets somewhere safe to live when they are first born. I remember popping out, blinking in the sunshine, breathing fresh air, sniffing all around, then I remembered I was a pig and… food…. where is the food? Us pigs looooooooooove food, and just being born is no excuse, so chow time. I just knew to crawl through the straw nest, over mum’s legs, around my siblings until I found one of Mum’s teats and claimed it mine. We each took our own teat and to this one we would return each feeding time.
Two days later, we watched Emma, Mum’s best friend start making her nest, and we knew that we would not be the only piglets in town anymore. We totalled 16.
Time went by, and as we started to grow so did our curiosity. My buddies and I used to go on adventures around the farm. The fences around here are really good, but us piglets were really smart and we just love exploring new things. Every day we would venture a little further to see what was around the corner, but any sight or sound of our human friends would send us scurrying back to the sanctity of our mothers and we would put on our very best ‘wasn’t me’ looks. One day we found out that there was a very convenient ‘cat’ door into the feed room. We snuck our way in, checking left and right to make sure no one spotted us. We did not know places like this existed. Bags upon bags of yummy delicious food were piled one upon another reaching skyward. But how to get these sealed bags open. Well we had strength in numbers, 8 on one side, 8 on the other and one, two, three… pull! We heard a rip, again, again, one, two, three and there it was 40kg of delicious oats poured out of the bag, eureka we all oinked. We rolled in it, slid in it, played in it, but then we heard it, the screeching of metal as the feed room door slowly inched open. Quick places everyone, you know the drill, if we stand here really really still maybe they will not notice 16 piglets dripping oats from their mouths. Alas you humans proved smarter than we thought! The gig was up, but we had another plan. Us pigs are also really really fast and one by one we ran through their legs, round the corner, under the fence and back to the safety of our house. Piglets 1, Humans 0.
This funny bald guy would conduct tours of the farm and always brought people in to meet us and he would teach them all about pigs. He explained how we love mud, not because we are dirty animals, far from it he would say. The reason we love mud, he would say in his funny South African accent, is because pigs cannot sweat, rolling about in the mud gives us pigs a wonderful mud pack he would explain. Adding that it acts as a natural sunscreen and insect repellent. That pigs are the cleanest of animals, choosing a toilet area and never going to the toilet close to where they sleep, is one of our hallmarks. Oh and pigs love to have their bellies rubbed and we are very smart, smarter than many dogs. Studies have shown we can even outperform chimpanzees at computer games and Professor Donald Broome reckons we are as smart as a 3 yr old child. Kyle, that’s the funny bald guy, taught us all to sit – the people on the tours just loved this. My buddies and I caught on pretty quickly, all we had to do was sit and they would feed us Wheet-Bix after Wheet-Bix after Wheet-Bix. Piglets 2, Humans 0.
I took a real shine to showing people how clever us pigs are so I decided to become an ambassador pig, travelling around Victoria as part of Edgar’s Mission Kindness Tour. I have made it my personal mission to show people that pigs really aren’t that much different from cats and dogs. Sure we may look different, but we each have a different personality, we love to play, we love to hang out with our friends and we don’t like being hurt. When I’m not out and about, I hang out with my buddies – Popcorn, Mikey, Polly and Rumpelstiltskin. That funny bald guy and the lady with the hat, take good care of us giving us fresh fruits and vegetables (watermelon is our favourite), they even installed swings for us to play on and a slide into our wallow.
Love, your friend, Hip-Hop Bob…Oh, by the way, my full name is Hip-Hop Bob’stein, like Einstein, because I’m so smart. You think a pig that can sit is clever? You should see what I can do now. So, I’m outta here… there goes Popcorn with a fruit bun… oink oink!
Tribute to Hip-Hop Bob:
It was a cortege of kindness, respect and the utmost of love that accompanied Hip-Hop Bob to her final resting place amongst the trees and piggy friends she loved so much in Piggy Paradise. As the cows solemnly watched on by the fenceline where they had gathered, Tippi let out several long, low and heart-wrenching moos as the tractor set to work to inter the body of our friend.
as it always will be, we are struggling to come to terms with the injustice of the last 24 hours. Rallying beyond belief against the spinal condition that had robbed this most resilient pig of the use of her back legs (but not of her or our determination to get her back on her feet), Hip-Hop daily inspired us with reasons for hope. Despite the occasional hiccup along the way, she had reached the point we felt that walking unaided was but a forthright trotter-step away. And then, over the last 24 hours, the curve balls came and came, as veterinary diagnostics struggled to find their sinister source. Yet one thing became soul-destroyingly clear—the prognosis was not good and all we could do was grant our sweet friend the kindest of mercies. As tears well in our eyes and a lump in our throat makes swallowing nigh impossible, we revisit the hauntingly beautiful image as Kyle and Hip-Hop shared that final moment. The look of love between the two, love in its purest of forms, the connection, the knowing, the heartache and finally the acceptance of what was to follow. Oh, how Kyle loved that little pig, and witnessing the two together, it was so poignantly clear that love was reciprocated tenfold.
The narrative of Hip-Hop Bob’s life was always one laced with kindness, love and cool things to do. Even her name told that she sat on the north side of fun. Sadly, things had not been fun for Hip Hop’s dear mum, a rescued and heavily pregnant sow whose fortunes changed the day she found salvation and a safe place to give birth to her final litter of piglets at Edgar’s Mission.
At first it was to be Kyle’s heart that she firmly planted both her trotter and snout on, however over the years, countless others were too to be draw gently in by her porcine charms and smarts. And yes, she was a smart pig, only too willing to share her bright and cheery nature with all she met, never a grumpy day in her life or fierce grunt to come from her sweet mouth—she was indeed a perfect pig. She was perfectly placed to remind us all that the birthplace of our humanity comes from our interactions with those most at our mercy, those least heard and so vulnerable. We humans so often stain the lives of animals with hardship, cruelty, indifference and premature death for our ends, yet all they offer us is kindness, forgiveness, joy and hope. It seemed most fitting then, yet unbeknown to us at the time, that the last movie Hip Hop was to watch on her much-loved and viewed iPad was a documentary (and yes, she loved documentaries the best, David Attenborough and whales her personal favorites) would be ‘The Evolution of Us’.
Thank you, dear Hip-Hop; although our hearts are now weeping, we know that this will pass, to be replaced as your lasting memory takes hold, wrapping us in happy thoughts of a cheerful little black piggy and her white trotter, emanating love, trust and honesty. You shaped our world with happiness, with ingenuity, with courage and snout marks on our trousers. You infused us with love, laughter and wonder. You will always remind us all to keep fighting the good fight for your kind, every day being a better, kinder, wiser version of ourselves, because it is through our interactions with, and treatment of animals just like you, that we find the greatest opportunity to be the best we can possibly ever be. And all of this will echo on the other side of history as the evolution of us.
RIP Hip-Hop Bob, a much-loved pig, 7 October 2010 – 17 November 2018
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