Change is inevitable. It happens, sometimes precisely as we’ve designed. More often, though, it simply comes about on its own and without invitation. We’re obsessed with it, change, and have been for a very long time. Heraclitus, who died in 480 BC, said, “Nothing endures but change.” Well, what he actually would have said was, “τὰ πάντα ῥεῖ καὶ οὐδὲν μένει,” which, more accurately translated, reads, ”Everything flows and nothing remains still.” But all things change, even quotes from ancient philosophers. So, what it boils down to, then, is how we approach change. There’s an old adage that, particularly recently for us here at The Quarry Farm, defines how we cope with all of that, how we accept this inevitability: when a door closes, a window opens.
Three weeks ago tomorrow, Gertie, the first pig to come and live here, died. She had uterine cancer and, tough as she was, it was time (if you missed her eulogy, such as it is, scroll back a couple of posts and you’ll find it). Three days later, The Quarry Farm received two new admissions: potbellied pigs from the Humane Society of Allen County. And it was only fitting that Bob Barker and Alphonse should come from there, since the HSoAC brought Gertie to us, as well.
Bob and Alphonse were among nearly fifty animals seized from a single site by the HSoAC on the coldest day of this past brutal winter. The conditions in which they were living were minimal at best. The pig we have come to call Alphonse was free of any pen, but still trapped within a maze of three-foot deep gullies he had worn in the accumulated snow. Of the pigs, Bob knew the worst of it. His only shelter was a fifty-gallon blue plastic barrel that was all but drifted shut. Megan McCoy, a friend and key member of the HSoAC staff, estimated that he’d been trapped in the barrel for days without food or water and was mired in his own excrement. He was terrified and starving and rather than force him to leave what little sanctuary he had come to know, deputies of the Allen County Sheriff’s Department and HSoAC staff members pulled Bob free from the drifting snow, barrel and all. It was only later, when they’d managed to transport him back to the HSoAC building, that Megan was able to encourage Bob to leave the barrel and take up temporary residence in one of the organization’s cleaning rooms. Weeks later, once the case had worked its way through the courts and the HSoAC had acquired legal custody of the animals, Bob and Alphonse were moved here.
Alphonse is a bit ticklish about company, less inclined to share space. He has his own fenced-in area, along with a shelter house and an igloo, adjacent to The Quarry Farm’s goose pen. The fence is there to keep others out, not Alphonse in; pigs, we have learned, are found of a space they can call their own. In fact, insofar as Alphonse is concerned, the fence may as well not even exist. He comes and goes as he pleases, slipping through a small space in one corner when he has an itch to explore and root and generally run rampant. Then, when it’s time to eat or sleep or simply get away from the other residents here, he reverses course and slips back in.
Bob, on the other hand, while still somewhat gruff, prefers his digs a bit cushier. There are several mounds of blankets and pillows within our home that Bob calls his bed: in a hallway, in the sun by our kitchen door and, his favorite, in Rowan’s room. He’s also not shy about borrowing the beds of his housemates, should the mood take him. The one exception to his marauding ways is with anything that belongs to Beatrice. Though we fondly call her Little Pig, she’s anything but, and Bob made the mistake of strutting in and presenting himself as the macho male. While that worked for him initially, Little Pig quickly let him know all about women’s suffrage and the proper way to treat a lady. The two now grudgingly share space, though it’s best if there’s a fence between them.
There we have it, then. Change, best put in this case, though it is still painful to think of it, by: The King is dead, long live the King. Or kings.
Postscript: The two other pigs seized at the same time as Bob and Alphonse haven’t been abandoned. Friends of The Quarry Farm (and Anne’s cousins), Bruce and Beth and their daughter Erin, have agreed to take them in. The pigs’ names are Greta and Grits and we expect to make a day trip down to their forever home sometime this month. Eight chickens were transferred here shortly after their rescue. One, a large white rooster, died within a week of his arrival. The other seven are living large as part of the free-ranging Quarry Farm flock. The ducks all found homes on property where they had access to ponds, while the horses and ponies were welcomed in by equestrian families. As for the dogs, they’re all in residence at the HSoAC. For more information, visit their website: http://www.hsoac.org/ While you’re visiting, please consider supporting their efforts. The work they do is important, necessary and under-appreciated.