Posted December 03 2012

In 2003, a creature came into my life and he tugged both on my heart strings and on his lead like no other. I would take him for walks in the park, I would spend endless hours tickling his tummy and we would watch TV together. He had personality to boot; he was clever, clean, friendly and fun loving. All who came to know him were touched. I named him Edgar Alan Pig.

Whilst the collision of our lives proved most fortuitous for Edgar (he would have been made into bacon), it was to prove life changing for me. I gave up my fulltime paying job, shelved my successful equestrian career and dedicated my life to the protection of animals like Edgar.

You see for ‘farmed’ animals like Edgar, there was nowhere to provide a forever home when they became unwanted, neglected, abused or lost. Numerous organisations exist to offer sanctuary for domestic pets and even for wildlife, but sadly ‘farmed’ animals are the forgotten ones; forgotten from our thoughts and from our animal protection legislation. But I will never forget them. I have created their somewhere.

A different life

Now almost ten years down the track the sanctuary has grown and grown way beyond the property’s perimeter as our special message of kindness resonates far and wide through our outreach work. Originally occupying 30 acres with only a handful of animals, it was quickly determined that more land was needed. A deal was struck with the bank and the adjoining 30 acres too became a sanctuary for rescued ‘farmed’ animals.

In providing well over 2,000 (and counting) forgotten souls with a different life; one truly worth living, one where they would be valued and celebrated for the individuals they are, not for the products they can produce nor where their lives will be cut short because their productivity has declined or because someone wants to eat their flesh, hope is given that things can get better. And in so doing we humans can fulfil our greatest destiny to be merciful, kind and good.

My memories of people’s reactions to meeting Edgar on our parkland sojourns will always remain vivid and poignant. His raucously enthusiastic and open mouthed belly grunts elicited titanic smiles as people opened their hearts and minds to his piggy charms. It became abundantly clear to me from these interactions, where people came to see Edgar as so much more than the before of a piece of pork, that the best ambassadors for changing the way people view ‘farmed’ animals are the animals themselves.

Conquering fears and getting by with a little help from my friends

I have two great fears in life. The first is public speaking. I recall my school days when I would shrink in my seat any time a question was asked, lest I be the one called on for a reply. In my later years I was to don a baseball cap under which I could hide and yes it still remains there today (albeit the logo has changed and I do wash it regularly).

But there exists a loathing far greater than the daunting prospect of standing before a crowd and baring my soul and that is what is happening right here, right now on our watch to animals like my Edgar. And so my fear now takes a back seat to my animal advocacy work as I ignore my subconscious self-doubts and speak out to spread our message of kindness with the masses.

My second great fear is asking for help. When I first started Edgar’s Mission all of the sanctuary tasks, from feeding animals, school visits, conducting outreach, administration, answering calls, ferrying animals to vets and carrying out rescues was conducted principally by me. But thanks to the kindness of so many of you reading this now Edgar’s Mission flourished through your amazing donations, tireless hours of selfless volunteering and touching words of support.

There is no doubt that without the support of so many people who believe in me and the vision of Edgar’s Mission, together we would not have been able to have achieved so much. But now with my own personal savings almost exhausted and my allotted 24 hours in the day jam packed, I now need even more than a bit of a hand if Edgar’s Mission is to continue its life-saving and life changing work.

Support new leases on life at Edgar’s Mission

If you are new to the work of Edgar’s Mission or are a past supporter, I respectfully ask you to please dig deep (but be sure not to leave yourself short) and pledge to become a regular monthly donor to help animals like Boots and all of his buddies – right now there are over 300 of them here at the Mission!

Your gift of kindness will not only ensure that we can keep on keeping on for animals, it will give me some peace of mind that we can continue to meet our enormous and ever growing monthly expenses, ensuring the rescued residents truly have a life worth living and that our outreach campaigns can continue expanding people’s circle of compassion to include all animals. The last financial year saw our average monthly expenditure top $18,000.

Never say never

When I settled here in Willowmavin over 20 years ago I truly believed it would be my forever home and that I would never ever leave. Establishing Edgar’s Mission seemed to seal the deal. You may recall a recent decision by our local Shire Council to significantly expand the operations of a nearby field and game shotgun simulated target range that elicited outrage from me and supporters of Edgar’s Mission.

While I take great sadness in this decision due to the impact it will have upon the tranquil, beautiful and peaceful community of Willowmavin, it has brought me to a question I would never have otherwise considered. Do we stay or do we go? I would have to say I have been through all the stages of dying on this one, denial that it could even be happening, outrage, tears and now acceptance.

Sometimes life really does deal you a curve ball, but if you can catch it and toss it right back you will be more than fine. And so I have taken this as a challenge, considered all of the possibilities and have come to the realisation that if I am to carry on my dear Edgar’s mission of kindness, I need to find that special somewhere; a place as beautiful as it is grand, of rolling hills and forested plots, of lakes and water aplenty, of dams for pigs to wallow in and vast paddocks for sheep and cattle to roam. A tall order I know, but in the animal protection movement facing odds that seem insurmountable is nothing new.

And so, in seeking this special somewhere I will make secure the needs of our residents and be well positioned to fully cater for the many more animals that seek sanctuary through our farm gates. Whilst I am still looking for that new somewhere, I know it is out there just waiting for me to find it. More acreage in a different shire offers so many more possibilities as the journey continues and I sincerely hope and trust you will be a part of this as I continue to honour my pledge to my beloved Edgar – I will tell your story. Batter up!

Yours in kindness

Pam Ahern