Promoting understanding
and compassion for animals

Jan

16

Pig whisperers and performers

Posted in: Di's diary1 Comment

I must admit at the end of last year I had grand plans of writing a thoughtful final entry that wrapped up an eventful year. That obviously didn’t happen but I have learned not to beat myself over the head over things which are outside my control. And writing, I am beginning to realise is something which is outside my control.

Then I had grand plans of writing some profound entry to start the year off and again that didn’t happen, so I am here writing a simple entry about something that happened to me during this time which did have a profound impact (on me anyway!)

It is a story about chance meetings, animal encounters and friendship.

I have had two special visits over the past month or so, both of them spontaneous and unannounced. Both times I had the opportunity to meet interesting people and they had the opportunity to meet our amazing animals. But most importantly both occasions reminded me of perhaps the most important purpose of Tallara Park – a place where people can meet and learn about the beauty and magic of animals and maybe leave a slightly different person to the one who entered through the gates.

The first was a couple, Mare and Nessie. They had driven past, seen the alpacas and parked on the side of the road. I had gone up to feed the animals and seen their car but didn’t take too much notice. However when I was walking back to the house I noticed that they were still there and started to feel a little unnerved. As I approached the driveway they did a U turn and drove in and introduced themselves. Mare explained that they were animal lovers (that was enough for me) and they wondered whether they could come in and take a few photos of the alpacas. I needed to leave in about half an hour to pick up Alana from Pre-school and then Kelsea and Kyle from school, so I didn’t have much time to spend with them but the time I had was amazing. They met the alpacas who were well behaved and didn’t spit on them (thank goodness) and then the pigs. We had a brief chat and I found out that they were ‘performers’.  I really can’t do their act justice by trying to describe it so please check out their amazing website (their URL is located at the end of the post). Lets just say that it involves fire, violins, balancing, stunts and danger. While I was captivated by their profession and eager to know more, I must admit most of our conversation revolved around the animals. I have always found it amazing how animal lovers connect on an invisible wavelength, and how much of what is said is already understood and appreciated. Often there is no real need for words which is lucky because often there are no words to describe the feelings and emotions that we feel. This is how it was for us.  Sadly before long I had to leave so I gave them instructions on where to find the other animals and an invitation to stay as long s they liked.  A few days later Mare wrote on the ‘Welcome and Introduce Yourself” section of this blog and mentioned that they had left the property more connected and at peace. I think this is a great description of how contact with animals can affect you if you are open to their influence and I was so glad to be able to help these lovely people experience it.

Then a few weeks later I had another surprise visit, this time about 7 o’clock at night. I was just getting the kids ready to shower when we heard someone pull up outside. Of course the kids bolted outside and I heard them chatting away. I ventured out to find a family of five – Mum, Dad and three kids standing in the car park. Dad (I can’t remember his name) explained that they had driven past numerous times and had seen the pigs and were wondering whether they could go and meet them. I said ‘yes ‘of course and before I knew it Dad had jumped the fence and was hugging Duncan. I think Duncan was as surprised as I was and before long Patch and Simon (who are normally reserved) had come around to see who this odd stranger was. Next thing I know the man was making pig huffing noises which had all three totally transfixed and clamouring around him for attention. After a few more hugs he sat down on the ground and Duncan parked his humungous butt next to him, leaning over backward to continue their conversation. At this point I decided that the man must be a pig whisperer for I had never seen someone so totally at ease with pigs. In awe I asked the woman what her husband did. She replied “He’s an engineer”. I was a little taken aback but still convinced that I was in the presence of someone with vast experience of pigs so I questioned her further. “So has he been around pigs before?” “No never“ she replied “but he just loves animals”.

Duncan and his new friend

Duncan and his new friend

Soon his three children joined him in the paddock, hugging and brushing the pigs then they continued on, meeting all of the animals – the alpacas, the cows, chickens and duck and finally the horses, all of who received a bear hug from the man. As the light was fading, they reluctantly made their way back to their car, stopping off for another pig hugging session before they went.  As he was leaving he thanked me and threw his arms up in the air and said “I just feel so GOOD!” ‘Good’ was probably an understatement but as I said, there really are no words to describe the feeling you get when you truly connect with an animal. I myself was feeling pretty ‘good’ too, just witnessing this rare and wondrous exchange left me on a high.

The smile says it all

The smile says it all

If I think back to my opening sentence about ‘Grand Plans” I realise that I have always had grand plans.  When the council rejected my DA to open Tallara Park to the public because of road safety concerns, they dashed my grand plans to educate people about farm animal sentience. But as I explained, I’ve learnt not to beat myself over the head about things that are outside my control. I have also learnt from these visitors that grand plans don’t really have to be that grand. Even if only a few people a year interact with the animals but their contact has a lasting and profound effect on them and their attitudes to animals then the outcome really is GRAND.  As Marian Wright Edelman wisely said “If you don’t like the way the world is, you change it. You have an obligation to change it. You just do it one step at a time”.

Mare and Nessie’s website – www.stringsonfire.com.au

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  1. Annarosa Berman said on 16/01/2012 at 10:59 pm

    What a lovely story; it made me feel good. And the picture of the man and the pig is just so heartwarming, especially since I’ve been reading Matthew Scully’s book, Dominion, in which the section on intensive pig farming just makes you want to tear your heart out.

    Thank you for sharing this; I hope many other people read it too.

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