Tuesday 24 December 2019

Twas The Night

‘Twas the night before, the night before Christmas,
at silly o'clock in the morning.
All the humans are sleeping; except the blasted mice!
The stockings are hung all over the floor;
I have the washing piled behind the old door.
The children are sleeping all snug in their beds;
With visions of Gary and grapes dancing round in their heads,
Me in my wellies and Jerome in his bed,
Thoughts of the night shift, swirling around in my head.
When out in the garden there arose such a din
I sprang through the door, whacking my chin;
Away down the garden I flew like a demon,
Drooling and wobbling, luckily nobody could see me.
The moon adding lustre to the puddles and mud;
My face aching with the just received thud,
When, what to my watering eyes should arrive;
But a huge black Phoebe and Dick just behind.
I couldn't move fast, I am not so lively or quick,
But I knew in a moment it must be a trick.
More rapid than dinner time, Phoebe did run,
With Dick in pursuit, trying to head butt her bum;
A huge flapping sheet, gripped in her strong jaws,
No doubt ripped from her shed or the floor.
"Oi, you little git, What have you done?"
As I slipped and slid and started to run;
Wheeling about the garden, in the dead of the night;
Fighting to remain upright with all my might,
Trying to snatch the tarpaulin from a maniac pig;
With a calf in pursuit, almost doing a jig,
All the others then came at a run;
Obviously not wanting to miss any fun.
"Oi, Blossom! Oi, Rupert! Oi, Bean! and Teddy!
Move, Gonzo! Move, Dick! Move Gretchin and Phoebe!"
To the top of the garden, then round the old tree;
Face first in the mud, then cracking my knee,
I wasn't impressed or filled with holiday laughter;
Phoebe was squealing and Dick still chased after.
"Now piss off! get away! go to bed all!
This really isn't very funny at all!"
The geese starting to gaggle, in the field the cry started,
"I suppose everyone's up now, may as well get the day started,"
With a glance at my cry, Phoebe flew to her bed;
Leaving the sheet wrapped around Dick's confused head,
And then, in a flash the rain started to pour;
I made a mad dash for the kitchen back door,
Forgetting alas, the blasted fairy lights;
That I hadn't had time to put at the right height,
Strangling myself at a lolloping run;
Still, drooling, half limping and now wheezing along,
I collapsed in a heap on the stone kitchen floor;
Hearing the garden folk, laughing I'm sure!
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the stone stairs Azra did bound,
Running to the back door to gain her relief;
She let out a pee in a squirly motif.
The mice continued to scuttle and lightly dance;
The humans all snored and dreamed of the chance;
To be free of all horror, oppression and pain,
While I listened to the earthlings all settle again.
I picked up the toys and fed the fire a log;
Switched off the lights and kissed the old dog,
Climbing the stairs, I stifled a yawn,
Sending a wish to all those new born,
To know justice, kindness, compassion and love,
For at this time of year many do suffer;
So spread around heartfelt peace and compassion.
I climb up to bed and I bid you adieu,
To all my friends and enemies too


*Ideas taken from: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore

Friday 6 December 2019

Something Dark Glitters

The world is full of richness and colour,
No sister animal should be without her counterpart brother,
There can be no action without consequence,
Whether delivered swiftly or in recompense.
As the waves crash into the oceans,
The tides pulled by the moon with sweet devotion,
The sirens of the sea weep with sorrow,
As the deep is ravaged by the undertow.
As the petals on a flower clasp one another,
One bee's flight pronounced as nectar gathered,
The forests and hedgerows that should be voluptuous,
Have cankered growth, but birdsong rapturous.
As the sun scorches the raindrops from the bows,
The wildlife scuttles and hides within shadows,
Amidst what should be peaceful, something gathers,
Age-old darkness that chatters and staggers.
Hidden within this bounty in plain, lurid, sight,
Is a troublesome child that acts like a blight,
A form of animal that cannot be stopped,
It knows no bounds and has soon to be dropped.
Nature is happy to find her bountiful balance,
As the leaves continue to fall in glorious radiance,
This child of hers will learn to change,
Or be wiped forever from Nature's range.
So while the spiders continue to spin and weave,
The crabs continue to scuttle from the sea,
The dewy grass collects crystal beads,
This child of destruction sows black, rotten seeds.
It cannot be long until Nature's song,
Decides enough is enough, man should be gone,
But until that time is due to pass,
Enjoy the smoke on the wind and the scorched grass.

~ Miranda Elliott

Friday 29 November 2019

Peacefully defiant against the system

While all about us seems in turmoil, we continue to remain peaceful. While there are those that need us to be strong, we will remain peacefully defiant against the system. Quietly defiant against the bullies and the vandals. Courageous in the face of violence without sinking to the same levels of depravity and small mindedness. Our garden folk will be protected with every ounce of strength we possess, both emotional and physical. We will stand with our arms stretched wide to encompass them all, and stand between whichever foe tries to pull down our walls and our charges.

We are guardians of our folk, we are educators of our lifestyle, we will not kneel or bow our heads to those that wish to beat us down with violence and depraved acts. The more resistance we face, the more our message is being heard. Live kindly, live peaceably, harm as little as you can. Tread softly, tread gently, compassion is not a weakness but something to aspire to. Live every moment as fully and deeply as you can, surround yourself with gentleness and passion for life. We are good people, with clear hearts and minds wide open, we will not be shrouded by your darkness or tainted by your limited dreams. This is our planet too and we want it to heal, we want to do better, we will not be dragged down.

Friday 22 November 2019

Bramble’s story

Since her arrival at the Sanctuary Bramble has grown in stature and in confidence. She scoots around the garden in her own wonderful way and is independent of mummy Saffron now. She is utterly adorable and loves to be adored. If anyone is in the garden sitting on the hay under the shelter tree she will come over for love. Craning her neck forward, her yellowy, hazel eyes large and enquiring. Waiting to receive what she believes to be her rightful amount of love and affection. She smells like warm dandelions and mud and calls with a rather stringent voice if ignored. We are waiting for her to reach her adult size and then we will get her fitted to see if a prosthetic will help her to lessen the strain on her back from being a little lopsided.

She is the first to the food bucket and has learnt to ignore the pigs, except for Phoebe pig, whom she cuddles up with to sleep. Phoebe may not like many humans and is bossy to all the garden animals, but to those that are a bit wobbly like Brynn and Bramble she is kind and gentle and she has all the time in the world for Gerty Goose. So Bramble has chosen wisely in her dream guardian Phoebe.

Bramble was taken from a filthy barn floor, kept in the darkened gloom of this fetid space with eight other lambs. All destined to be slaughtered for someone’s table. Bramble suffered from neglect and in the process came to harm. She hurt deeply, from infected wounds, inflamed joints and acute abscesses. Pouring in pus, covered in excrement this little poppet was surrendered to our sanctuary. There was no profit to be made from her, she didn’t have enough healthy legs to put on weight for the table. Due to luck, timing or perhaps our charm, we were able to get mum Saffron out, too.

When she arrived, Bramble had only one leg unaffected by the neglect from the farmer, her exploiter. Initially she had seven abscesses, which we drained and dressed daily. We massaged the leg she preferred not to use, every three hours day and night, keeping the tendons stretched and promoting movement. She also had  arthritis injections costing €15.60 a time every four days, long-term anti-inflammatories and antibiotics with local anaesthetic for the wounds, calcium and traumasedyl solutions to drink, and Bach rescue remedy.

It was a long and lengthy journey back to health. Jerome and I took turns sleeping in the barn so as to be on hand if needed. Gwynnevere gave Bramble her best teddy. The one that was next to her the moment she entered the world, the one that she cannot sleep without. She said that Bramble needed lots of love and comfort and she trusted Teddy to do that. I asked her how she would sleep without Teddy, “I will be OK, as Teddy is looking after someone very special for me”, she replied. Bramble certainly took Teddy in her arms and snuggled up close. Perhaps because he smelt of Gwynnevere or perhaps because he was passing on his magic that he had given our human child for six years.

Eventually, Bramble was declared infection free due to her guardians. Not just us, but those that follow her story, those that sent her love and kept her in their minds. Those that sent her bandages, ointments and little jumpers, that we lovingly applied every day and changed. We may have been the ones physically wading through those dark, horrible places and we may have been the ones giving the care. But you, our supporters, care for us and her, you care for them ALL.

Life for Bramble is now blessed, as she is with her mummy, her home is safe, her belly is full and she is surrounded by humans that care and respect her. She is one of very few sheep to know this level of peace. The time will soon be upon us again where these little folk will be coming into the world again just to be used for a festive meal. They are more than food, they are individuals who think and feel. They are not stupid, they are bright, funny, inquisitive and gentle. They are only afraid and act in a fearful way when they are scared. So please stop paying for them to be scared. Thank you.

Friday 15 November 2019

Some days don't go as well as they could ...

There are days that just don't go as well as they could. When a series of events fall like badly laid dominoes with hitches in the patterns. When the outside world seems a little too cruel to contend with, or the locals have made one comment to much. A lorry went past today, a cattle lorry that is used to take them to slaughter. We see them all the time when we are out and about , three or four on every journey we take. I try not to look, but my eyes are inevitably drawn to the faces in the gaps. The reason I try not to look is that it cuts my soul to shreds. I feel bereft in my uselessness to stop the conveyor belt of carnage. The lorry today was going past the sanctuary. I was minding my own business, cleaning out some flower pots when the stench hit me. There is nothing quite as awful as blood and excrement mixed with fear sweat. I held my flower pot close to me for comfort, rocking it as if it were a baby. Shaking with the futility of my situation.
As these lorries roll on by with soft noses pressed to the gaps, or with necks strained so that the people inside can see the outside. I feel crushed. It is heartbreak, horror, anger and a deep melancholy all rolled together. A feeling so pronounced that it clings around my oesophagus like a serpent. There is nothing more I can do to try and stop this from happening.
I walked into the garden with no energy even to cry. A feeling of being a husk blown on the dusty breeze, my body following my feet. All I wanted was to see my family, those that I had managed to swipe away from those blasted lorries. All the pigs and sheep ran to say hello, head leans and kisses shared. Yet still I felt empty as I wandered down to the shelter tree and sat on the fresh Timothy hay. Little Bean and Bess came swiftly to lay on me. Lilly was different. She approached and standing over me cast her yellow gaze. She then leaned her head with all her strength onto my forehead, it was a little uncomfortable, then stared at me again and repeated the process, pushing me down. So I finally listened and layed down, to be honest I didn't have the energy to resist. She then pushed her head onto my breast plate, it hurt and I asked her to stop. I didn't need to be hurt. I tried to push her away, but she looked her look and then started again. It became very painful and I started to cry. As soon as my first tear fell, Lilly stopped and turned, her little hairy chin resting on my head. My crying turned into full blown sobs as the images of the truck hit home. Lilly put her soft cheek next to mine and then turned and sat. Pushing me towards Little Bean with her chest. My sobs squashed between a pig and a sheep person. They stayed with me like that, the three of us under the shelter tree. My face covered in Timothy hay and dried tears, nestled into the comforting warmth of Lily, while she rested her head on me. The contented snores of Little Bean behind me and her warmth at my back. Lilly knew I needed to cry, even if I didn't. There is no doubt in my mind , as the pain she created acted as a catalyst for the pain that was suffocating me inside.
If only every human could listen and hear them when they talk to us, the other folk. If only every human could feel their love and their compassion. They give it freely if we care to listen and take time to hear them. They communicate so profoundly at times, I am left speechless at the depth of human ignorance. Why are we so quick to judge them as "lesser" than us, just because we do not have the capacity to understand them? We are so arrogant that we miss the beauty of the world in which we live. As we stomp and use everything and everyone in our path. Please stop and listen, please stop those trucks filling with beautiful, sentient individuals. They all would take time to reach out and try and make us understand if we were to just give them a chance.

Friday 8 November 2019

A Glorious Pig Named Phoebe

Taken away from my mum and dad, taken out of a mud and faeces filled pit of despair; where my mum’s chest was rubbed raw and she found it painful to feed me. Taken away from the threat of seeing my family killed and then cut into pieces.

I was brought into this world just to be chopped into pieces, because I look different to humans and speak differently. Strange that humans don’t devour themselves as we taste so similar and our organs are used to replace human organs. Our skin in tattooed, burnt and injected to test things on. We are used in lots of horrible human ways.

I arrived here scared and unsure of who I was allowed to be. Over the first few weeks, I realised I was allowed to be me. They didn’t mind that I look and speak differently, they just like me for me, which is handy really as I can’t be any different.

I missed my mum and dad; I hurt for them and cried. My humans cuddled me, held me close so I could sleep. Then, one glorious day my mum and dad arrived at the sanctuary as my humans had never given up on getting them out of that terrifying place. I could hear mum and dad arguing in the garden. I felt happy, I showed this clearly to my humans by wagging my tail (humans can be a bit slow sometimes). I also called to them and they called back.

I live my days out here now, with my huge extended family. Sometimes I’m happy, sometimes I’m pee’d off, sometimes excited, sometimes grumpy. Depends on what’s happening, who’s said what and behaved in a certain way around me. I’m the same as everyone else here really, aware of who I am. Aware of my surroundings, aware of how I feel, aware of what I want. It is always a surprise to me that I am not understood clearly by visitors that come here, as my humans at the sanctuary understand me very well. It is the difference between wanting to understand me and remaining wilfully ignorant, that I am just a pig to be eaten and not capable of anything else. Makes it easier to eat me I guess, if you think I am lesser than I am. It’s sad when you think about it, because they miss out on so much joy. I am me; I am Phoebe.

Friday 1 November 2019

An update on little Luna's progress

Luna is slowly recovering from an unspecified traumatic injury on the farm, which left her immobile for several months, left on the ground to develop pressure ulcers and other complications. The process of healing is very long, if she is able to walk again. We are exploring all the paths of care to achieve this and we will accompany her in all stages of her journey, as with all our residents, who often arrive seriously injured and neglected. Luna is getting all the attention she lacked in her previous home, surrounded by friends that want her to thrive and be safe. We hope that one day she can return to the fields.

Following a wonderful fundraising effort from our supporters, we have been very busy building and constructing. Luna now has a very strong beam and electric hoist. This was the first time we have tried hoisting a cow, so it was a swift and steep learning process. Her pressure sores are all healthy and we hope to apply pressure relieving dressings once we can get her up for a significant amount of time to do them. After a few adaptations and a bit of welding, Luna was up on her feet for the first time in months. For the first five minutes she couldn’t manage to move and looked like a young baby just trying to stand, which is exactly what she is, except she has to learn to stand with the weight of a six month old body. She has made such an effort. She has movement in three legs although all three are not used to being used. This should have been a happy day, but as always when dealing with cases of neglect it is a double-edged sword. We can see clearly the fight and incredibly long journey she has to regain partial movement in her limbs, let alone being able to walk.

The vet came last week and was pleasantly surprised by Luna’s progress. He found, as we have, that she is moving her back legs a surprising amount. Mainly as she tries to escape the hoist! Her front legs are starting to take a little more weight and she is able to pull her left foreleg underneath her. Her right foreleg remains a little bent from lack of use so we massage her twice a day. She can tolerate being in her hoist for 45 minutes twice a day, although she looks forward to her little treat afterwards of a brush and some apples and carrots more! Luna's daily massage can be a little difficult and time consuming. It isn’t the leg exercises that prove too difficult, she is getting used to everything being bent and moved. What becomes really challenging is the amount of cuddles she wants, especially when trying to do her forelegs. A big fluffy head will arrive for sniffs, rubs and kisses, and I can't say no!

Luna is a such happy person. She enjoys her apples and carrots and particularly likes a little molasses on her oats and cereals. Luna is in need of sponsors, as she is going to need a great deal of medical interventions so we ask anyone that can help to get in touch with a monthly contribution or a little one-off donation towards her costs. For example, the dressings alone cost 20 euros, her bedding 10 euros and her feed 10 euros. We hope to change her bedding to something more absorbent to wick away all faeces and urine, as despite cleaning her bed five times a day and with a complete change of straw every two days, where she moves about even the clean straw is sticking into her wounds, if this has any excrement on it this will enter the wounds. It is absolutely imperative her sores remain clean, the major one on her hip is impossible to bandage due to position. So we are looking at an absorbent and dust-free bedding called aubiose usually used for equine stables. It draws all urine to the base of bedding away from the body.

We rely on all our supporters to follow Luna’s story and spread the word far and wide – that there are kinder choices we can all take as humans. That every earthling has a right to live without abuse, neglect and exploitation. Please share her story and support us if you are able. She will need all our help.