This time eleven years ago, my life had some level of normality to it, but little did I know that was all about to go squealing out the window with the arrival of one adorable, handsome, dashing, debonair pink pig.
That I was to fall head over heels in love with Edgar was a given; animals had always shared my home, as well as my heart, but never before had I been provided the opportunity to get up close and so personal with a pig.
After exchanging all of the things that I thought had given my life meaning and purpose, I was soon to realise these things were only grooming me for where I was truly meant to be.
I have to say that I was as nervous as all get out, stepping out into the unknown, with no road map to guide me, heeding only the raucous grunts of my adoring pig. But that was all I needed.
Every day that I spent with Edgar nurtured an ancient wisdom that connecting with gentle creatures just like him can guide us to a more compassionate and just world. A world where kindness marks our every deed and where violence has no place.
Over the years, through the work of Edgar’s Mission, it has been amazing to watch so many others make the connection – how the power of stroking a gentle cow, cuddling an inquisitive little rescued battery hen or running with a cheeky goat can clear the mind and open one’s heart to an entire new way of living.
Packed away somewhere in the kindness of our minds is the knowledge that all animals want, need and deserve our compassion and tender mercy and that physical differences should never be the justification for the way one is treated. Sometimes all it takes is a tiny little piglet to reach inside and nudge that ‘On’ switch.
And never before has this been more apparent than following the arrival of dear little Leon Trotsky – a piglet who, but for a terrible accident, would never have been known to us.
Leon was born on a commercial pig farm and at just four days old his mother, herself suffering an injury, fell on her piglets. The accident saw the sow fatally crush two of her babies and inflict life threatening injuries upon Leon.
This accident would likely have seen Leon’s poor mother in great distress as pigs, given the opportunity, are incredibly maternal and will go to great lengths to care for their piglets and keep them safe from harm.
However, in a sad and ironic twist, this was probably the luckiest break Leon could ever have received as news of his plight hit the ears of a kindly neighbour, who determined that the hapless chap deserved a chance.
Just like Wilbur in Charlotte’s Web, Leon doesn’t understand why anyone would want to hurt him and, most importantly, Leon wants to live. And that is just what we have promised him we will help him do.
In the media flurry that has followed our posting of Leon’s story on our Facebook page, he and his little cart have trotted their way into hearts around the globe. His story has been picked up by TV media worldwide – Channel 7 news, Channel 10 news, The Project, Sunrise, ITN News (London) – we both did a Skype interview for that one! The Herald Sun, Metro (UK), Mail Online (UK), Huffington Post, Huffington Post UK, Colorado Newsday, Care 2, TIME, BuzzFeed, One Green Planet, Cute Overload, and many more have also featured news stories about our dear Leon and his wheels.
The feedback we have received has been, just like little Leon’s personality, phenomenal! We have learned that countless people have been so moved by the little guy they have pledged that never again shall pork grace their plate.
I guess the moral to this story is that in these troubled times, when so many news stories preach doom and gloom, of political improprieties, of natural disasters and catastrophic events, every now and then a story comes along that makes our hearts want to sing and gives us hope that things really can get better.
All it takes is one determined little pig who has overcome a crippling adversity, to make us realise that the key to a kinder world starts with us. And so what started with a pig, continues to be spurred on by an equally determined one. Roll on Leon Trotsky, roll on.