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.

Friday, 25 October 2019

Another misleading hashtag: Farm24

This #farm24 seems to be the new idea of talking about the real life of a farmer. As always from the human perspective and trying to make a harming industry appear kind. Interestingly enough, tapping #farm24 into Google brings this article up as number one. It has a rather delightful picture of a cow, with twins and a farmer holding a ‘calf puller’ talking about how the farmer helped the cow calve her twins. The real story of farming from the victims’ point of view is not as heartwarming as the picture suggests. The cow wouldn’t need the help at all if she hadn’t been artificially inseminated in the first place. Carrying any baby, takes a huge toll on the mother, twins especially so. Any parent or person with a small iota of logic would also know that she would not want her children to then be cut into pieces and sold as ‘meat’. As is always the case, animal farmers like to be seen as the good guys, not the slave traffickers they actually are. I have used the words directly from Dairycarrie, a blog by a farmer,

"To top off all those reasons, after having twins a cow often has health issues. Having twins leads to more retained placentas and uterine infections. Carrying and growing two calves takes a toll on a cow."

This mother will be out to calf every year and her babies sold for meat. (obviously dairy cows suffer more) If one of these twins is male then the likelihood is high the other will be a freemartin. If you are unaware of what a freemartin is, Dairycarrie explains again,

 "When a set of twins is born and one is a bull calf and the other is a heifer calf, more than 90% of the time the female is infertile. The infertile female twin is called a freemartin. This happens because early in embryonic development it’s common for the separate embryos to fuse and share the same blood supply. The hormones that the male fetus produces can cross to the female fetus and causes reproductive tract abnormalities. A freemartin heifer will carry a Y chromosome instead of the typical XX chromosomes of a female. There are a few ways you can check to find out if a heifer is a freemartin, only one of them is something you can describe in public without people looking at you weird. Since a freemartin’s reproductive tract isn’t usually formed correctly, you can start with a physical exam.”

Thanks DarrieCarrie!  by physical exam, make no assumptions that the cow enjoys having a hand and arm put inside her vagina, for all the females out there, do you enjoy a smear test, and who looks forward to a prostate check, and that’s just a finger ?

Safe from harm - sanctuary cows

The more hashtags and heart warming stories the animal industries throw about the more ironic it seems that the general public buy into the rubbish. To wade through all this bumph, you as a human have to ask yourself one question. The only question that matters, “Would you find it acceptable and humane, if the same actions were taken against you, your partner, your family or your children?” If no, then it cannot be humane to do this to someone else for profit or product. If you answered no, then please look at;

Please do not contact Treway Farms, they were used as just an example because they came to the top of the search. They are by no means to my knowledge any different from any other farmer out there.

Friday, 18 October 2019

Introducing the latest member of the Big V family: Luna

This little lady needed our help urgently. We were phoned direct by the farmer for help, and to go and see her. This shows our message is getting out there! She has suffered an unknown traumatic event which has caused paralysis in a rear leg. The farmer wanted her to get better and have a life where she was cared for. He does not have the time to give to her and at this point in her life it is unclear if she will stand and, therefore, may not be a profitable enterprise. He did not want to put her to her death, and was very pleased to relinquish her to our Sanctuary. 

It is vitally important that we can help this little one, most obviously to save her life; but also to encourage the farming community here to contact us for help, to welcome us into their farms and hear our message about treating animals as sentient individuals. To understand we are knowledgeable and not city dwelling idealists with no idea of logistics, hands-on toil and animal husbandry, which is sadly how most of the farming community regard all vegans.

Little Luna arrived safely. While we were transporting her I could feel the weight of her in my back, pulling at the tow hitch. Her presence was a physical feeling, not just an emotional one. I wondered whether all those that take animals for slaughter can feel the weight of the beautiful lives pulling behind – a reminder of who they are taking and where? I found this sensation strangely overwhelming, made more poignant when we passed the slaughterhouse, which would have been her destination. As we passed, several trucks full of her kind were visible, with the ‘fresh flesh’ lorries loading at the other end. My heart was profoundly heavy, knowing she too could smell the stench in the air. We knew she would be scared, unsure and feeling vulnerable as it was her first trip away from the home she had known and her mum. Her first time on the road. We drove slowly, circumventing every pot hole, worrying around every bend so she was as comfortable as possible. We cared; I cried at the lost lives, the unnecessary suffering of other families, their losses and their grief.

As soon as we arrived home she was unloaded by carrying her into a deep fresh bed. Despite our best efforts she had started to cry. Not imagined tears, not the whimsical flights of fancy that those who eat cows believe we make up. Salty tears that dripped down her beautiful, ginger cheeks. I dried her face and washed her down, getting a feeling for what she had endured. We then took it in turns as a family to stay with her through the day and the night, waiting for the vet to arrive. Gwynnevere read to her for most of the afternoon. Through the night Alba and Morrigan snuggled up in the sweet straw with her. In the morning she was more at ease and calling to us if we walked by the barn, without saying hello.

As the days went by little Luna began to improve. In rehabilitating anyone who has suffered a catastrophic event, every small positive landmark is a victory to be celebrated in the long journey. After a few days, all the necrotic tissue that had been festering on this baby’s previously untreated pressures sores sloughed away! Using my tried-and-tested Miranda's Marvellous Moist Medicinal Unguent, tested on anyone that stands still, the alarming and considerably large sores are now all freshly bleeding, which for anyone not in the know is an extremely good thing! Her tail is no longer raw with maggots living inside the flesh, but has dried out and scabbed over.

In the scheme of her long road ahead, this is just a tiny shuffle forward, but it is forward! We have no idea on her prognosis at this stage, we have no idea if she will be able to weight bear, but we do know she is now comfortable and her skin is healing. She is eating and drinking well. She is kind and loving and accepts our administrations of care with a head rub and a sniff to our faces. Our beautiful little girl that needs us for all her needs, trusts in us to do the right thing. No different to the little human girl that admiringly gazes into her eyes. Two different species, both with the same trust and need to be cared for with kindness.

Our naming fundraiser on Facebook, revealed ‘Luna’ to be the calf’s name. Thank you to everyone that took part. This helped us to buy the straps needed to lift her and are now ordered. It also has bought some sweet straw for her bedding, enough for her through the months of October and November.

Our regret is that we were not able to intervene sooner and, thus, stand a better chance in helping her to walk. That we can't tell her mum, whom still loves her and misses her that we will do right by her and that she is cared for and safe.

If you would like to sponsor this little lady monthly, please get in touch, her needs will be considerable.

Friday, 11 October 2019

Introducing our very own Princess

The days draw long and sweet, the insects' buzz and birds flit and swoop into the pollen-covered lake. The grass is growing, the sun breaking through tumultuous clouds, I am living in safety. Why then do I sit and have this ache in my chest, a heaviness inside, a feeling that makes me draw my breath deep as I try to exhale this long-lived pain away? I know, but do you?

My guardian sits with me now, understanding and saying nothing, I know she understands as we talk in feelings. Her tears fall, as do mine, as she says sorry to me again for something she did not do. Do you know why we cry? She carries guilt and sorrow that is heavy and I carry heartbreak and longing that still overwhelms me now, as I sit. Humans tend to use long words to dissuade and discourage other humans from understanding our pain, from connecting with us, from seeing us as we are, like anthropomorphise, personification. Laughing and mocking others that try to connect with us. We are people, we have personalities, we have feelings; we may not express them in the same way, but that does not mean we are lacking. Any human that takes the time to sit quietly and think through our lives from our perspective can begin to understand us.

Is my grief less than a human mother's grief at the loss of her child? While you can shout and wail and call the police; do you not think I scream inside? that my wailing is not as passionate, just because you describe it as a moo? MY voice is complex, I have many words, is it my failing that you cannot understand me?

I have lost many children; I remember the sight and smell of every single one. Every life I felt kicking inside me, every small head I was able to nuzzle before they were taken. I still remember my lost children. The horror of being powerless to stop them being taken numbs me. When the farmer puts cows into the field, my heart shatters at the cries of the other mothers who are calling and mourning their stolen children, the memories of my little one's flood back.

You may look and think that I am just a cow, but you do not see me but you do not see me. You do not see the mother I was; you do not understand the pain you have caused. As I sit in my sanctuary now, I would give my life, again and again, to have saved my children, as would you. Do not judge me to be unfeeling, just because you feel nothing for me and do not understand.
So, we sit together, her hand on my neck, two mothers, one with two legs and one with four. Our love is no different, just how we express it, she understands, when will you?

Friday, 4 October 2019

Update: Azra’s got wheels

Azra is mobile again! Thank you for your faith in us to know the right thing to do for Azra to be able to live her life as she wanted to. After her sudden decline with cancer and then her recovery following a complete mastectomy, we watched Azra’s will of iron to get better but her frustration at her weak back legs caused by degenerative myelopathy. She has a fantastic chair now that will support her more and more as the disease progresses. You have no idea the joy it was for her and for us to be able to walk down the lane again in the sunshine. The joy it brings to all to have our snaggle toothed, grey haired girl out for walks cannot be overstated. On her first try out in her chair, once the wheels were in place, she was offfffff, doing all the normal doggy things she loved to do. To see someone you love mobile again is overwhelming. She is our super trooper.

To walk next to our golden friend is an honour. To hear her familiar floppy walk as her large feet hit the ground is a comfort, like a warm blanket on a chilly evening. To turn and see her black-eyed gaze looking back at me with her soul searching look is nothing short of a miracle. She has been through so much in her life, this is just another chapter. Her floppy-footed walk is now accompanied by the rumble of wheels. It is overwhelming the strength of her will to get better, to be part of the pack, to be with her family. I hope her story gives other people courage to trust the animals in their lives. To give them the same chances as they would a human in the same position. To not prejudge and cut their lives short because it makes the human life easier. It is not our role to judge what their quality of life is by our parameters but to allow them to guide us with their wants and desires. To listen closely to their language, to trust in them to know their own capabilities. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring but today was an adventure. Whatever is on the horizon, she can trust in us to be by her side.

Never give up. The non-human animal in your life has an ability to heal that is as strong as your own and a will to live. So often as humans we underestimate a non-human animal’s capabilities. So many people contacted me saying I should have had Azra euthanised when she was post-operative after her mastectomy. So many felt it was their duty to judge a situation over the internet by their own standards. To say that she was suffering in some way. She was never in pain, she may have been uncomfortable at times, and she may have been frustrated. But it was her frustration and will to move that has propelled her forward. Azra is happy to be alive and we are over the moon. Too many humans take the easy road for themselves rather than being an honest guardian and allowing the animal in their care to set the pace.

Just over a week of using her chair, from doubly incontinent, fighting cancer, unable to walk, to walking down the road with her friend. She uses her chair for walks over ten minutes three times a day, but to potter down the road for five minutes she can cope very well now without. These chairs are fabulous, I cannot recommend them highly enough. We thought Azra would be reliant on this chair until she passed away; instead, it has helped us to rehabilitate her and she is able to have independent moments. Thank you again to all those that helped.

As you can see in the photo, this evening walk with Azra was beautiful. She and I rumbled along as the sun slowly dipped his head to bed. The air has taken on the smell of autumn, a hint of frost, as if it is hiding around the bend. After the recent rain, the boggy notes of fungi are a pleasant undertone; hinting at mushroom suppers not far ahead.

She travels well now in her chair. For over 45 minutes she was plodding along, nose down to the ground, with an occasional glance around. We stopped at the viewpoint for a little rest, before heading home as the darkness dripped its lacy wings on the trees and the shadows lengthened to become clotted pools that stopped me seeing ahead, but still the rumble was beside me. The plopping sound of large, hairy pads striking their rhythm on the moist pavement.

By the time we arrived at the last hill to home I could smell roasting garlic and chilli. Knowing our dinner was on the way, Azra picked up her pace, knocking the wheels on the front gate in her haste to get home to supper. My old girl and I had a wonderful rumble through the darkness and now off to sup the homemade courgette rum, just to test if it needs a few more twists of ginger, in the name of science.

Friday, 27 September 2019

Thoughts on the personal vegan journey towards activism

If you haven't twigged yet, I follow a compassionate vegan lifestyle. I go into horrible places and situations, see horrible things and reach out my hand to care. As a family, we then support all the folk we get out of a corrupt and abusive system. In everything I do I try to ask for kindness, by being kind myself. I do not expect everyone to be kind and to stop eating other folk, there will always be those that want to consume bodies, however weird and distasteful that seems. But the hatred and spite directed at us seems to indicate clearly that eating bodies affects the mind and judgement in a lot of humans very badly. It has often been noted that eating certain foods clouds the mind, in as much the same way as alcohol. From personal experience as a misguided vegetarian for many years, I thought of myself as compassionate and aware, until it was I gave up dairy. Then the shackles were released and I could feel even more deeply, empathise with more clarity, became more compassionate, became logical without dissociation. I firmly believe from my experiences and from talking extensively to others, that consuming non human animals and their milk and eggs creates a barrier in the mind. It makes being unkind easier, if you will. If you consider for a moment the amount of hatred and violence that is directed at us, just because we opt out of a cruel system, then the extent that the general population have been brainwashed is staggering. To harm others just because they are being kind is not evolved or humane but is decidedly human.

Becoming plant based is a lovely start to a compassionate lifestyle. Veganism is another imperative step, a lifestyle that chooses not to wear, eat or use animals. However, if we stop at this point then exploitation will never end. The personal journey needs progression, for our actions and choices are not limited to personal consequences when they have such a huge , detrimental effect on others within this world.

As the demands of this worldwide movement increase and the products we need likewise, without activism from all, then the exploiters will change their products but not their mindsets. If a farmer can sell his coconuts for oil/milk/cream/ cosmetics to a growing market, he will be happy. If he/she knows that the growing market stop thinking and caring about how that product is collected, it will become inevitable that animals will continue to be used in a slave-like existence to enhance profit margins, or once ethical companies will move backwards in the goal of higher profits. Not to count the devastation caused from deforestation, the lists of animals destroyed is unimaginable, orangutans, owls, tigers, monkeys, birds, insects, reptiles.... That a biscuit considered vegan by some, (oreo) is responsible for huge swathes of tropical forest destruction.

The only way forward is to still push for an end to animal exploitation. Just following a diet, or a lifestyle with no activism, will promote continued exploitation just with usable products that can carry a vegan label. We need to question at every opportunity, where has this product been made? How was it farmed? How was it harvested? We need to let the big commercial enterprises know that a ‘vegan label’ is not enough, that we will continue to ask for higher standards, for no exploitation, for fair trade, for a kinder world. That we are not egocentric and focused on ourselves, that we care and understand that to survive, we must all walk gently. That our buying power cannot be corrupted or cajoled into looking the other way in the name of profit. Do we not want a world where we are all free? Is not the goal to be sustainable, mindful and nurture the world on whom we depend?

Friday, 20 September 2019

Clyde the peacock considers kindness

Our little haven for animals, our little torch of compassion in a cruel human system. While the outside around us keep force breeding and pushing for slaughter. Our little space in this corner fights with gentle compassion for a kinder now, for the hope of a gentle future or the hope of A future. While the farmers’ cows moo and call out their needs, our cows sit in peace knowing they have all they need. Knowing their humans will never hurt or exploit them. Knowing their humans will fight for them with everything they possess. Our peacocks regard us with an indigo gaze, do they know our hearts are true?

The storm clouds gather, the thunder rumbling in the distance like a prehistoric dinosaur. The colours darken, the air becomes thick with the taste of ozone. How long can we hope for rain to fall, for water to be available? It is not guaranteed anymore. We are all aware, you and I, that the cost to our earth is great, the cost of the choices we make. But so many still don't care, haven't made the connection, refuse to listen, refuse to change. How much do the other earthlings have to pay for humankind’s wilfull ignorance? How much do we have to pay for it? Those of us that talk every day, trying to help our fellow humans connect the dots. Trying so hard, in so many ways to reach out, to break other minds free; that sadly seem to just want to find excuses not to think, not to be responsible, to blame and fingerpoint others for the mess they are in.

We the people can make the difference, we can vote right now what is acceptable and what is not, we choose what we buy, what we condone, what and whom we follow. We are all free thinkers, we can all choose not to be unkind from the moment we wake in the morning to the moment we sleep. From the first words we use, to the first meal we cook, to whether we wear another earth animals skin, to whether we let other humans hurt and kill on our behalf, if we choose to turn a blind eye to someone else's pain, if we reach out our hand, if we give what we can, or if we keep for ourselves.

Change comes from one person, joining another and another, you are all significant in the process. You can all make the difference between getting better, being kinder, healing our world or continuing with traditions, cultures and beliefs that have led us to the point of wars, collapse, extinction.. you are the change. The rest of the natural world is waiting for humans to change, some of them just clinging on to survival, the whole world is watching us, are you taking note? Thousands of species have died in my lifetime, I don't want to part of this problem, do you? As they die in their billions, their voices clamouring to be heard, can you hear yet? Can you change to be kinder? We have such an amazing, beautiful, achingly exquisite planet to call home, why insist on destroying what we need to survive?

So we sit and we ponder, Clyde and I, how best to reach the chained hearts and grey minds. As the storm clouds roll in, I wish they could wash away the heinous choices my fellow humans continue to make, people that have the ability to be kind - just choose not to be about what they eat. We are all of this world, we all pay for the choices you make. 

Friday, 13 September 2019

Blossom and her pig friends

Pigs love company, they love cuddles and interactions. They prefer to be clean and have clean beds. They defecate in one area and only wallow in mud when the sun is hot and bothersome. They talk continually to each other and anyone else that will listen. They are all individual, with unique likes and dislikes. A better place to relax, a welcome conversation, a certain place to be scratched, a favourite gate to control. The best ball to play with, their preferred human or other earthling friend. When you look and begin to see pigs for who they are, there is no hilarity to be found in the ‘bacon comments’. These folk have all learned quicker than dogs, they are cleaner, they play and talk just as much. They are loyal and trusting. There is no need to treat them with such cruelty. They understand death, they have fears, they understand meaning. There is no farrowing crate, tail mutilation or tooth removal that is done with any pigs best interest at heart within farming. Farming sees these wonderful folk as a profit and needs them to get fat quick in a small space with the least loss.

Pigs make wonderful, caring and protective parents, the boars playing a unique and fundamental role in the family structure. Protector and babysitter in one, and so observant and gentle. To say otherwise is to spread propaganda just treat pigs badly for profit. When is it ok to gas someone alive? to boil their lungs? Well it’s ok as long as you say it’s humane and people continue to pay for it to happen. Please choose kindly and wisely, there is no need for this to happen.

Blossom is our lovely pink lady. Her hair is so soft and she is so sweet, always ready for a cuddle. Always kind and gentle. If she hadn't found her way to our sanctuary, she would have been killed by thumping her head on a concrete floor at two weeks old. Her crime? To not have been strong enough to suckle properly as she couldn’t reach her mum in her prison of a farrowing crate. There is no kindness given to pigs within farming. No acknowledgement of their intelligence and character. Just horrible fake news to try and justify the mutilation and abuse. Blossom was riddled with ulcers and abscesses, she couldn't walk due to the deformities these caused on her limbs. She was unable to heal as she was given no care and treatment and kept in "standard approved" conditions. Lying in her own filth and that of her mum and siblings. Infected and weak she came to us, lost and grief stricken without her mummy. Her mum and siblings will already be human faeces now, without a thought the lives stolen. Blossom is our family now, precious and loved. Please stop eating other folk, it really isn't a nice way to behave.

We have many pigs here looking for sponsors, please get in touch. Help a pig to enjoy their life rather than paying for someone to be gassed.

Sunday, 8 September 2019

Update: Azra needs wheels!

A few weeks ago, we posted the story of Azra our beautiful, golden girl, white muzzled with a gaze clouded by time. She had just undergone major surgery and was back at home, under the watchful caring eye of Wynnie. Her journey back to health finds her at last sitting on the sandy shores of the lake. She can potter about in her wobbly way, but time has caught up with her and decided her wandering days are over. Following her huge operation she now only manages about six meters at a time. Putting her into the car with her going out bag of bowl, chews and teddy, she sat up proudly –  maybe memories of yesterdays flooding back – when vehicle rides meant action and adventure. We wonder when we sit quietly with her as she sleeps, her feet running in her dreams, is she chasing someone from her service days? running along streets away from dog catchers? or running with our pack through the sunlit countryside? she has had so many different episodes in her life. Does she still wonder why she was thrown onto the streets? Does she still remember the days of no food or shelter? Or, is a dog’s memory as patchwork as my own, brief snapshots in time, overlapped with recent memories.

So here she sits, damp from her paddle in the lake, gazing out at the children playing, sandy paws and remembered dreams. Gwynnevere runs to her often, playing sandcastles with her old doggy, both staring out across the water together in a shared stillness that seems timeless. Azra is her guardian, once so powerful and strong, yet still with a heart full of gentleness and courage. Wynnie is her guardian in return, young body, yet still with so much to learn, they compliment each other in their different strengths and love. A friendship without barriers, timeless. One that many of us yearn for; that remains elusive in its rarity. At the end of the evening Azra was lifted into the strong arms of Jerome and carried back into the car. All of us sandy, having shared moments of happiness together and sandy sandwiches. Once home, she dozed on her bed next to the fire, a younger version of herself running in her dreams while her old grey feet jump across her bed.

Azra needs wheels!

And now, Azra is needing everyone’s help. She needs some wheels to help with her mobility and enable her to enjoy many more days at the lake, playing with her friends. Despite our best efforts at changing, modifying and making do, Azra just can’t use the thirdhand, old and used-to-bits wheelchairs we have, they are both so broken and too small. You can see in the photo that she is uncomfortable and it is totally unsuitable. Despite two days of trying to modify the frame, she remains squashed in and her back isn’t straight. The wheels are not repairable and the harness clips are hanging on with tie wraps and two broke just while she was standing still, let alone moving.

After lengthy discussions with Becky at Wheels for Dogs we have come up with a solution that suits her ability now and will support her in her unrelenting slowing. Our aim is that she remains as mobile and as comfortable as she can for the time she has left to share with us. We are using any second-hand harnesses Becky has that she feels are suitable and she is also giving us a 15% discount. This outlay of the wheelchair is extraordinarily massive, until it is put into mind that this will allow our golden girl to be mobile with the pack again. The large frame can also be used for three of our other large dogs who are progressing towards their golden years, as and when the need arises.

Azra needs a walking wheels large frame quad wheelchair costing £540, two rear lift walking harnesses, which will allow one to be in the wash and drying as she is doubly incontinent, £60 each, a walking frame belly support £30, two bootie splints at around £90 plus the delivery cost. Unless there is someone who wants to visit us here and volunteer for a few days and bring the wheelchair with them? :) So we are at a minimum estimate of £830 for the total without delivery and without final costing.

So friends, we are turning to the outside world. We make do and mend wherever possible, but for this chair, we have tried and failed and need your help to get her supported. Azra has fought to recover after her total mastectomy and she is courageous and determined. Can you help us to get her back on her feet for long strolls in the countryside? She can potter about now, but it is only for very short distances, so need her wheels as soon as possible. 

If you are able to help, please send payments via PayPal marked Azzies chair to bigvsanctuary@outlook.com

Azra only has two monthly supporters, so if you would prefer to help with her ongoing needs every month please shout. Alternatively, she needs incontinence pads and treats, which are on our Amazon wishlist x

Friday, 6 September 2019

Meet the Big V Sanctuary family

Here we are, Jerome and I, with three of our cherished ones, Gwynnevere, Louis and Blossom. Having a sanctuary is life consuming, our moments are shared continuously with our extended family. There is not one conversation or thought or action that does not involve someone else, their needs, their story, their day, their feelings. In the quiet moments when everyone is settled I try to focus on nobody, but we have so many faces here that jump into the mind, that it proves impossible. Did we do this or that? how can we make this better, make it more comfortable, make it safer? When I do the night rounds to check the fences and gates have not been vandalized my thoughts turn to those that are waiting to find sanctuary within our walls; or those that have passed me in the trucks that are out of my reach of compassion.

There is no greater purpose than to be kind and compassionate, to share safety and sanctuary to those in need. To reach out and protect folk that are scared and injured. To continue to walk the path against the tide of cruelty and be a light and voice for those that are hurting to turn towards. To be courageous in the path of violence and stand firm against oppressive behaviour. My dream is to extend our walls and our arms to enfold more into safety. To continue to spread our message of kindness and compassion into the darkness of the human minds that hurt others and pay for their deaths. We are a little human family, with a huge non-human family, but we are part of a network of kindness that is growing. Live how you would want to be remembered, stand up to injustice lest you be the one in need. Mirror the actions of others that are kind until it becomes your nature. Listen to the voices of those close to you and shun ignorant and cruel statements, do not remain quiet to keep the status quo. We are all powerful to promote change, we can all be kinder. Surround yourself with those that want kindness and love with abandon those that are in need.

Friday, 30 August 2019

The sad facts about sanctuary life

Sadly, we have some neighbours who feel very threatened by the fact we can breathe without consuming other animals. They make it their life’s mission to try and rattle and poke us every day. When we don’t receive out and out vandalism and racial abuse, they are shifty and underhand. The local gendarmes must feel sick when these people go to complain and mention our names. From trying to lodge complaints to make the gendarmes ‘force us to eat meat’, to complaining about where we park. Apparently, our flowers go too far into the road, our property is a mess, we spread rubbish and we block the roads. We have the audacity to unload our car with food into our barn and stockroom, and we have children that play on their pushbikes in the village.

The day after our recent Open Day, which we applied for and permission had been granted, our sanctuary signs were destroyed. Signs erected with the go ahead and stamp of approval from the mayor of our commune. Beautiful, handcrafted on wood, natural and in keeping with the countryside. Hours of work; signs to point the way to our safe haven, our sanctuary. A place promoting kindness and compassion. The sanctuary faces weekly abuse and vandalism, because of the relentless nature of these attacks, it has almost become normal. To be sworn at, verbally abused, fences pulled down, water taps left open to drain water sources, gates opened, flowers pulled out... it's all part of the charm of living in the French countryside. But this, seems particularly vile. These signs were for other humans that were interested in kindness and compassion. Who wanted to join us for lovely food and help support the sanctuary. So not only are we abused, but now it seems that other humans don't have the right to find us and support us. We are weary of living within this spiteful mindset. We are so weary. We do not interfere with anyone else's property or life. But just our being here quietly caring for other earthlings that humans have abused and used, is enough.

You may have thought the sanctuary signs being smashed and stolen was a one-off, a flash in the pan. Since then we have had our cafĂ© sign thrown across the road - twice, flowers continually pulled and tossed from our front garden. Someone aimed for Alba as she was walking behind me crossing the road. We had a visit from the SPA (French RSPCA), after an anonymous coward complained about the state of the animals here. The inspector arrived, said how clean everything was and how well all the animals looked. She said how ‘grim’ the mindset was around here and told us to carry on with everything we are doing. So thank you, to the person with double standards, for letting the SPA see how well we keep all of the garden folk, and giving us a ‘pat on the back’ despite your best efforts.

Then, we awoke to find two tyres slashed or more accurately poked with a screwdriver, and a failed attempt on a third. We have only just managed to get the vehicles back on the road, and these two tyres were the last ones replaced. So yet again we face a bill of 160plus euros. I understand that humans do not want to take responsibility for their own unkindness. This is how the people around here react when they have to think about whether the choices in their life are the right ones. Whether who they are eating or shooting at is the right thing to do. Far easier for them to turn on us than to face the truth of their own choices, their own cruelty. The more they continue, the clearer the picture becomes for anyone sitting on the fence about whether they should adopt a compassionate lifestyle.

Are we deserving of this spite, just because we are compassionate and kind? Are those carrying out the crimes showing a humane mindset, to turn on their own species just because they want to kill with guns and dogs and eat bodies, or rear sentient animals to then have them killed? Who would you want to be sharing your space with really? Who would you want caring for you when you are vulnerable? We are trying to fund a comprehensive CCTV system. It is unclear if the gendarmes will give a damn, but it may dissuade a few of the hobgoblins from shuffling around at night and drooling over their latest schemes. We know who the main ones are, but it would be nice to have their faces on film. If you would like to help with this, please send anything (except horrible messages) to bigvsanctuary@outlook.com via paypal. 

Friday, 23 August 2019

Azra's story

The road has been long for Azra. First bred to be used by the forces in Serbia, to put her life on the line, to protect her handler. After seven years’ full service to then be thrown onto the streets. She has three old microchips in from previous owners, who then threw her back outside. Not one of them were held accountable for their actions. Over three years surviving on the streets, an old girl, half blind, completely deaf through neglect and trauma, missing nearly all her teeth, found her way to the public shelter, where she came to our attention.

She arrived at our sanctuary three years ago. Bald from skin mites, severely underweight and exhausted. We thought she would be with us in the hospice for a few months of TLC before she passed away. How time has flown by with darling Azra. Mostly sleeping, but loving and gentle. Never aggressive to any human or animal and she has seen many come and go. She has been licked by Jack the calf, sat on by Blake pigeon, had Pip and Silver hares fall asleep on her. Lilly lamb ran to her for protection, nestled up with Phoebe pig and played nanny to orphaned chicks. She is the heart of our sanctuary and encompasses all we believe in. Nurture with care, pause for thought, love with abandon and protect all that is dear.

But, our friend is slowing down. We walk beside her each step along her final journey. We cherish each moment and breath she shares with us, our dear snaggle-toothed friend. Wynnie crept down the first night Azra was home, we found her snuggled against her warm belly in the morning, they have been dear companions ever since. She knows Azzie is nearing the end of her journey; she slips further along her silvery road. We watch her closely now to see if she is still breathing when she sleeps. We hold her close and let her know she is loved and cherished, our only regret, we didn’t meet her sooner and have more time. We take it in turns now to sleep with her through the night, as we do for all the garden folk, if their time is nearing. It matters not to us if the outside world considers them farm animals or companions, for they all look for us at the end. They all want comfort and company, they all need their family and friends, they all need to feel safe. Treat others as you would wish to be treated, I would not wish to die alone.

At Azra’s appointment with the vet it is as I feared, during the niggling dark hours. Her fast spiral downwards has been accompanied by cancer. The hidden shadow, that made her age so quickly in one week, that took her off her feet. A small patch of hairless skin on her belly, that I have been watching with fear, turned into a swelling. I didn’t want to say or write anything out loud, hoping in my silly way not to encourage anyone to think of it, not to add any energy to the growing shadow. Sitting in the clinic, smelling the stomach churning mix of weak disinfectant and illness, I listened to lots of French words that didn’t really join up into anything. All I concentrated on was Azra and Wynnie, watching how they breathed together, watching how they loved. Letting the words tumble over me like a shawl made of ice. My mind focused on the vile word ‘metastasis’, while my eyes lingered on the friends on the floor. I knew a decision had to be made, but I wanted to hide and be small. My wonderful nan, had this shadow, I felt the loss of her again, acutely intertwined with the moment.

If it has moved into her lungs then we say goodbye was my mantra while waiting for her Xray results. I know what to do, I know who she needs me to be. Wynnie sat on my lap, fat tears rolling down her soft cheeks. “I don't want Azzie to go, but I know how to be a good friend”, she said, while putting her earmuffs on straight. Her earmuffs that are not weather dependent, but mood associated. If she feels sad, or unwell, or if the humans around her have talked about eating her friends. She is Azra’s friend, today was definitely an earmuff day. There were 27 bottles on the top shelf in the cupboard, 3 different hand washes, 95 tiles on the floor that I could see... The wait seemed to stretch before me like a living thing, capricious yet unfeeling. I could hear the click of Azzie’s nails on the unforgiving floor. Had the wait been long because her lungs were riddled? Or long because they were double checking? The games we play in our minds are all the same.

The vet appears, I try to decipher what her smile was saying, looking into her eyes, is it bad news or really bad news?.... her smile watery, “her lungs are clear”. The tightrope between actions pings harder, the consequences, the responsibility, the weight. Knowing a tumour such as this may return in two months or in two years after removal. Knowing she is an old doggy and may not survive the operation. Knowing that age shouldn’t matter. I have elderly friends and family, would they be denied the chance for another year of life? No. So that is how we chose. She is pain free, if she passes under anaesthetic then that is peaceful. If she has extra moments and the will to reach out with her ginger hand and want to touch Wynnie then that’s as it should be. The vet has said she may regain her normal movement once the lump is removed. She will not know until she tries.

We have had vets in the past that told us Duchess our cow was meat on legs, to send her off, she would never walk. But we persevered, Duchess persevered, she walked. We have had the same said about Brynn sheep, Blossom pig.. They all move around now. We already have a wheelchair ready for Azra, if she wants it. Her operation was booked for Monday 9 am. I think Azra voted when she tried to run out of vets. The weekend was long, we had no way of knowing if she would make it to Monday. But if she didn't, then that’s as it should be. Whatever she decides to try, we will give her the option and when she doesn’t want to try, then I will step forward again instead of walking at her side. Are we making the right choice? Well that changes moment by moment, while she breathes rhythmically and her heart pounds, while she studies me with her inky dark eyes, and laps her water and snoozes in the sun, then that is as it should be. I will never let her suffer, but it’s up to her how she wants her life to be. Her quality of life has always been sleeping, eating and cuddles, so if she comes through the operation, then that won't change ...

Our old girl had her operation on a rather long and probably bizarre day for her. She came home on most painkillers the vet could throw at her. The lump removed has made the wound very tight due to lack of skin. She chomped through her last Wymsie and two marmite and tomato sandwiches. Wynnie has given her magical teddy that does the rounds to all that are poorly. Azra has drooled quite a lot on him, so he is sticking in place quite well. We turned her every two hours and bathed her operation site in silver every time we turn her. She was drinking well, but she only fancied her chia bones. Wynnie sleeps with her every night, and will not be tempted away for someone else to take a turn.

When those you love are hurting, it is always important to give unconditional love. To listen with an open heart, to give time. Gwynnevere has slept beside Azra now for four nights, she doesn’t care about anything apart from giving her friend support. I wish that I could bottle up her kindness and sprinkle it around the world like fairy dust. I look to her for guidance as she is just; she is logic wrapped in love. She follows me when she feels mummy is sad, she sits and holds my hand. We can talk about feelings with a laugh and with reverence. So gentle, so kind. We try to shield the children from the intolerance directed at us, but they seem wise beyond their years. Tiny humans raised to be compassionate to all. Their love, vulnerability, and strength shine in a glistening bubble. How to protect them in this human, inhumane world?

She has spent an hour reading and singing to Azra. She said “I know she's deaf, but she can feel my heart”. I hope one day all will feel hearts and wrap their thoughts in love. Then nobody will die alone or afraid. No distinction will be made between pets and farmed animals, for farming souls will be considered incorrect. Numbering folk that are different and treating them as things, will be frowned upon and no longer tolerated. I hope that Azra will make it through her operation and have joy again. The funds have been raised by generous donors, who hold our hands from afar. We are infinitely grateful for your kindness. We wrap you in our love and sprinkle you with Wynnie dust so that when you face challenges, you know you too are loved from afar.

If you would like to donate to help BigV Care for Azra, or any other residents, please visit our donations page or use our PayPal link bigvsanctuary@outlook.com