When was the last time you saw a pig chase a horse? I don't mean on TV or in a movie but in real life? Imagine if you will a small pig with an attitude the size of the Quest Building deciding that he was going to win a race with a horse and his rider. I would not have believed such a thing were possible if I had not seen it with my own eyes. I am sure the cowboy riding the horse was just as stunned as I was, to see Lucas tearing after his horse galloping down the road, certain that he would be able to catch them before they got to I-70. Sometimes I think he just might have.
Or when was the last time you were chased into a camper shell in mock fear of your life by an irate Rooster? I personally have experienced this particular situation and lived to tell about it. Sure you may laugh but if a Rooster has never chased you, well lets just say you are really missing out. Oh and in case Dagwood has internet access and reads this I want him to know that I understand that the entire property belongs to him and no one else (not even you, Chris and Michele). More seriously I also wanted to thank my new pals, Lucas and Dagwood, for taking time to demonstrate to me something that I never would have seen without them (Ok Dagwood doesn't really consider me a pal but I am sure Lucas does.).
You might be asking what such silly stories could teach any of us. Sure you might all find the mental picture of s pig running down a horse amusing and the site of a grown man running away from a Rooster even more so, but nothing important exists in these tales. On the contrary, these stories are examples of an important lesson about these animals and one about each of us as well that are important to share.
The lesson to be taken from the animals, which is confirmed with each visit to PPS, is that each of these creatures, like each of us, is unique unto itself. Coming from the environment I grew up in (both culturally and geographically) I never learned to see animals as individuals. Rather like most people I saw them as undifferentiated beings, to be used as I saw fit when I saw fit. Not worthy of my respect as a "superior" being. I could not have been more wrong.
During my time at PPS I have come to know that each Pig, Sheep Goat, and, yes, Rooster has his or her own story to tell. The have unique personalities, they experience joy and pain, sorrow and loss. They have likes and dislikes, (Dagwood's dislike list starts with me) but most important each of them is the subject of a life with its own special purpose, unknown to anyone but them.
The lesson to be learned by each of us, is the continuing value of humility to the human spirit. What my time at the Sanctuary has confirmed in me is that we humans are far to small a species (both in number and in principles) to decide for any other how they should live or when they should die. Learning to see each animal as the individual and unique being it is caused me to reflect on just how small my place in this world is, and just how numerous are the other creatures who have as much right to it as we think we do. To my friends at the sanctuary I cannot thank you enough for reminding me just how humble I need to be to become a better human being.
All that was required to change my life for the better was a short drive out of town. How many life-changing experiences are that easy to access? How many afternoons can you really say made your life richer? Do yourself a favor and make a plan to spend sometime out at PPS with the animals and see what they can teach you in an afternoon. Just remember to pay Dagwood the proper amount of respect and everything will be ok.