Just ten short years ago something happened in my life, something that would change everything. That something was not so much a some thing as it was a some one. That someone was a gentle pig I came to love and adore and whom I named Edgar Alan Pig.
And while Edgar sadly passed away in 2010, just after his seventh birthday party, he was never meant to live a particularly long or even happy life – farm pigs never do. That he exceeded the six months his siblings only ever saw before they were slaughtered for human consumption was a milestone in itself.
That his life was rich and full, surrounded by love, piggy wallows and belly rubs was something most pigs could only ever dream of. But Edgar went on to create many milestones in the lives of others as he touched their hearts and changed their minds about farmed animals. Most importantly for me, he changed my life forever.
I gave up my fulltime paying job, I hung up the riding boots on my successful equestrian career, I was to bid farewell to my partner of ten years when he posed the ultimatum, ‘It’s me or the pig,’ and I said goodbye to ever having a ‘normal life’ as I clung to the leash of my much adored pig as he trotted me through fields I had never imagined.
But the one thing I never gave up on, the one thing I will never give up on, is hope. Hope that things can get better, my hope that the greatness of the human spirit will shine through, and the hope that we all can work together to make the world a better, kinder, safer place for all of its inhabitants.
I often think back to those tender moments I spent alone with Edgar in his stable as he courteously and diligently offered his earnest piggy grunts in response to my musings that would fuel the fire in my belly. What would have been had Edgar been a grumpy, unpersonable pig who never came to adore me as much as I did him, I do not know.
But I think life has a funny sense of humour and it does guide us to where we need to be; sending us circumstances and challenges that speak to our heart, always providing us with the opportunity to do better. We of course have the choice to ignore or to heed.
While I could well have been sent a handsome Prince Charming to sweep me off my feet and whisk me away to Never Never Land, I was instead sent a pig. And, I would have to say, I am pretty happy about that and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
And so, as we fast approach Edgar’s Mission’s tenth birthday celebration, it is true that memories and milestones shape our lives and the stories we tell around them provide us comfort as we walk the walk of our talk. As I continue to do all of this, I will never give up hope. For the love of Edgar, it has to be that way.