Our Echo
Title, story type, location, year, person or writer
Add a Post
View Posts
Popular Posts
Hall of Fame

Willow and Carmelita

Story ID:2311
Written by:Suzana Margaret Megles (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Stanwood Washington USA
Person:Judy Woods
View Comments (0)   |   Add a Comment Add a Comment   |   Print Print   |     |   Visitors
Willow and Carmelita

I'm sure we have all been blessed with meeting people who are very special. I almost forgot how I "met" Marcia until I got this old brain of
mind working. Through the years I have accumulated many, many magazines which I should have parted with long ago but could not just
throw them away. If worse comes to worse now, I'm so glad that I can recycle them. But before I do that, I will try to find new "homes" for
as many of them as I can. I believe they deserve a second read -hopefully maybe even a third and a fourth. I soon found a church friend who told me that she enjoys the "ladies"
magazines like Family Circle and Ladies Home Journal. (I think men would enjoy them too). My sister, like everyone I know, loves the
Guideposts --the inspiration of Norman Vincent Peale who started them many years ago. I can place the Catholic Digests in the back racks of the church, but somehow I'm amazed that people don't jump at my invitation to give them the Reader's Digest which I find just so full of good reading material from the informational to the inspirational. However, as they say - to each his own.

Now that left an abundance of Vegetarian Times and various Animal Rights magazines-- the latter especially meaningful for me. However, sadly
I find that few people REALLY care about animals as I do or who have adopted a vegetarian lifestyle. But one day - an idea on how to unload them flashed through my mind. I would write to Animal People (a bi-monthly animal
newspaper) and ask them to publish my quest for people interested in old Vegetarian Times and Animal Rights magazines.

And they graciously printed my letter and I received a few bites. One of them was from MARCIA who lived in Washington clear across the country from me in Ohio. Luckily, as re mailing bounded materials, distance didn't seem to be a factor and I could mail a 10 pound box for $6 or $7!

She wrote me back her thanx after my sending her a box and I was amazed at the way she got so many messages across - utilizing every bit
of paper from top to bottom and on both sides. Plus her cards were full of interesting happenings in her life with her animal concerns and again she used up every white space with her wonderful writing. When I think of how we waste paper in our schools and businesses, I am deeply
saddened by the destruction of so many precious trees used to make paper. (In the 50's I remember telling my students to use both sides of the paper.) Thankfully, today we can recycle and I hope the schools and businesses have recycling programs!

I just received one of Marcia's few "gems" in the mail and this time she included a booklet on the workings of her friend's Pig Sanctuary. In this Chinese year of the Pig (2007) I was very glad to receive it. And Judy who runs it is to be congratulated. If many of us complain about how full and stress-filled our days are, please let me 'take' you into Judy's pig sanctuary
and marvel at this woman's dedication to the animals so many of us might dismiss with feelings of "who would want to take care of pigs?"

Judy herself begins a letter to friends of the Pigs Peace Sanctuary:
"Today started as a typical day in the life of running a sanctuary, from the daily tasks of providing meals to the animals, doing the required medical treatments, returning the many phone calls, cleaning and refilling water
dishes, to picking up the weekly ton of pig food at the mill and, of course, the never ending chore of scooping and cleaning." (Satisfied that your tension-filled days are at least a "bit" easier than hers?)

For Judy most days are quite the same except for the arrival of new pigs or other animals needing sanctuary. But today is different as she marvels that accompanying her on her rounds is one small young female pig called Carmelita.
She came to the sanctuary months ago as a troubled and disturbed pig. Judy said she was a "crocodile in a pig's body" because she would viciously attack everyone and everything she encountered. But finally, this extremely dangerous pig has blossomed into a gentle being after what took hundreds of hours of contact to gain her trust and friendship. Today Carmelita knows peace, friendship and love. Why had Carmelita been so aggressive and vicious? Judy doesn't say but the implications at least to me are that she was mistreated and began to hate man.

Now Judy introduces us to the story of Willow. (I love the names she gives her pigs!) Willow, named ater the trees growing abundantly where she was found, had probably lived wild in the woods, always hungry, always in search of food for probably as long as two years.

Obviously fearful and leery of all human contact, it took 8 skilled people hours of work in knee-deep mud putting up fencing and barriers. Poor Willow -she did not know that they were there to help and would not cooperate. When finally captured, Judy wrote:
"Wed.-rescued. Pacing the fence, looking for a way (out) for hours. Bolts out of bed to get away, runs away fast. Sleeps & sleeps, physically exhausted. Will eat only if I stand at least 10 feet away. She is caked in mud.
Thurs.-Watchful-fearful. Interested in the smell of warm spaghetti. Ate a bowl of spaghetti while I was two feet away. She paced the fence for a way out but with less urgency than yesterday. Continues sleeping the day away-continues to be physically exhausted. I continue with short, frequent contacts with a soft voice, slow movement and offers of tasty treats.
Fri. -No fence pacing, no desire to escape. Watchful-cautious-brave and terrified
at the same time. Responded with curiousity to my offer of spaghetti for breakfast and followed me to eating area but was afraid to walk on cement and ran away. Five minites later I came out with new offer of food, and with gradual bites Willow ate and came onto the cement. Thanks to frequent contact with offers of treats -by nightfall Willow responds to her name being called and comes out in curiosity.
Sat. -In the morning she bolts out of her bed at the call of her name and comes running to me!! Still shy and timid. This is a joyful day! This is the day I say 'she wakes up.' She doesn't sleep the day away. She is up all day doing what the average sanctuary pig does, active, grazing or rooting, occasional nap, interaction with others. This is the first day she is curious about the other pigs."

Judy chronicles two more days and then ends it with "A few days later I go out in the morning and see Willow at the gate waiting for me. Ater years of desperation Willow smiles because she now has a home for life."

Somehow I feel that God is smiling too - because I am certain that He expects us to be kind and compassionate to His animal creation. We want kindness and compassion for ourselves, but sadly ignore the very same desires of the animals.
So many of them are being raised for food in the most deplorable and cruel situations. Happily, now at least some of the big agri-corporations say that they are finally going to phase out the cruel gestation crates where female pigs were
continuously impregnated while incarcerated and living on metal slats - unable to move around or interact with other pigs. I believe that once their piglets were weened they were taken away. What mother would not feel anxious about this
happening? Why do we think animals don't have feelings?

Thank you Judy for chonicling the slow process of bringing feelings of safety to pigs who are not always sweet-looking and small as "Babe" but who have the same feelings of needing to be loved and cared for as we all do.

I felt very bad when Judy mentioned during the heat spell of perhaps last summer that in the midst of filling the pigs' pond the hose went dry and there was NO WATER! Over 200 animals and it's hot-hot-HOT! Pigs must have water to cool off because they have no sweat glands. Repairs were made to the pump but they knew it must
be replaced. They found a new well -one fourth mile into the woods. Now if they can hopefully raise $15,000 - an astronomical amount but needed to drill a new well. Well, dear, dear Judy. I can only send $25 because I am trying to save for a new furnace, but I promise to pray that somehow miraculously the money will be forthcoming. My prayer list keeps on getting bigger and bigger but God doesn't mind. In fact I am sure He is pleased when we come to Him with our needs. So please God, help Judy et al and her 200 animals get a new well! Thank you.

For those who are interested in Judy's story, her web site is www.pigspeace.org. You will find a picture of Willow and Judy as well as
some interesting links. I just had to peruse the one about Chester. On a wintry day Ester the pony was running at full speed chasing
Chester the pig into the pasture. After Chester found a safe place, he slowly paraded in front of Ester and the chase began anew. I laughed heartily at a story so wonderfully real between a pony and a pig named Chester.

** The picture shows Marcia and her two girls
vacationing in Hawaii in 1999. From left to
right are her daughters Karaena and Tahira. All three are in front of Paia's Vegan Restaurant which Marcia claims has amazing food.