Gavin's Happy New Home
Animal Stories from All-Creatures.org

FROM

Sarah, Indraloka Sanctuary
July 2017

Gavin recognizes that he is safe now, and that he is loved. He is gentle and kind, and he is gracious for his meals and caregivers. Gavin represents the kind of spirit I wish more humans would strive to embody; one that is able to give and receive love, one that is able to forgive by letting go - even of the immediate past.

Gavin pig

On a warm, sunny, June afternoon we pulled up to a place that housed pigs- or rather- a place where pigs lived. We were on a rescue mission, and knew very few details beyond: “There is a pig in need, an we are here to help him.”

pig Gavin
Gavin being rescued from his original filthy pen...

It was very clear that Gavin was hungry, thirsty, and hot without shade, but when we gently lifted his ears he did welcome us with a glimmer of hope in his eyes, and a quiet grunt. Gavin was very willing to follow a bowl full of food and walk right into the truck where he would travel home with us. We were grateful for his cooperation and the trust he was already showing for his new human friends. Once he was into the truck with the air conditioning running, a bowl of cool water, and feed mixed in with a lush layer of hay to nap - I joined him while the other humans continued their work with other animals.

Once the initial excitement of comfort wore off, Gavin was very curious about his new surroundings- especially, the human in the front seat! Not knowing what to expect, I did a lot of singing and talking to Gavin, and he responded by gently nuzzling me, letting me know he was fully engaged and enjoying our time together, already. With each gentle nuzzle I lifted his huge ears to expose beautiful big brown eyes, and Gavin would make eye contact with me for long enough to let me know, “Oh good, it’s still you… keep singing, please.” It was around that time that another pig was squealing loudly outside of the truck. I could see and hear that pig, and I knew that Gavin could see and hear that pig too, and we both recognized that she was scared and unhappy. The harder she struggled outside of the truck, the more I sang, and the more I sang, the closer Gavin squirmed his body to me. He did stand a few times to look out the windows- and much to my surprise when I reached down to gently touch his belly in hopes of helping him relax- immediately he flopped to the ground grunting quietly letting me know, “Thank you, that feels so good.”

As I replay that moment in my head over, and over again- I continue to be astounded by his spirit. There we were, sitting in a strange truck, with a pig screaming outside of the vehicle with many human strangers moving quickly- the scent of fruit, grain, and other pig treats in the air- and yet not only did Gavin allow me to reach out and touch his belly, he rolled to the ground asking for more. The amount of bravery, faith, and trust that he displayed in that moment is something I hope to never forget. On the long drive home Gavin napped a lot, occasionally sniffed the humans in the front seats, and got his first taste of “sweet crunchies.” We told him they were apples, but I like his language, better. We promised Gavin that he would enjoy sweet crunchies and so much more in his new home, and that the hay he was basking in in the truck would be far more plentiful at the sanctuary.

After several hours of travel, with bumps, twists, and turns in the road, the doors opened to the sanctuary, rich with the sounds of nature and animals already in slumber. Gavin desperately wanted to explore his new space, but his weak body would not allow him the energy and momentum needed to leap from the truck. Showing no fear, Gavin slowly inched his tired limbs onto a pile of hay bales, and with some coaxing and gentle help, he rejoiced as he finally walked into his stall filled with soft hay, fresh water, sweet crunchies, and a meal to fill even the emptiest of bellies. Since that night Gavin has already started gaining weight, making friends with cats, and he is on the path to recovery from a host of illnesses.

His struggle is not over, but as he proved in the truck that night, Gavin recognizes that he is safe now, and that he is loved. He is gentle and kind, and he is gracious for his meals and caregivers. Gavin represents the kind of spirit I wish more humans would strive to embody; one that is able to give and receive love, one that is able to forgive by letting go- even of the immediate past, one that has faith and trust in the moment- without expectation, and of course- Gavin showed us that accepting a belly rub from a stranger is really no different than accepting a smile, a wink, or a kind word from a passerby on the street- and taking a moment of appreciation to let that connection soak in. Gavin has shown us that even when sweet crunchies are abundant, take time to savor every morsel- each drop of sweet nectar, because pleasure doesn’t have to be rushed. I have only known Gavin for a short time, but before our tires even hit the road as we left his past behind, he had already changed my life.


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