The Story of White Wilbur
Animal Stories from

From Dragonwood Pig Refuge
February 2009

One of the saddest of stories. Wilbur was five, bonded to his "mom" and she had to move and could not take him. They had been such close companions that, when brought here, Wilbur decided to just die. I had to force feed him, drag him in and out of the rain... make him live long enough to take an interest in a new life.  After 2 months he finally started coming out of it.  And his "mom" came to visit for a few days, which helped him realize his life had some continuity after all.  After she left he began to settle in and she made plans to visit as often as she could.

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Then she was diagnosed with cancer, a particularly bad one.  After her chemo was over and she could travel she came to see him again. They were so happy to see each other.  He ran in circles and she laughed and it was wonderful.  But she was still weak and got sick and had to leave.   White Wilbur lay in the driveway after she left, staring after her with despair in his eyes.  He lay there all night, refusing to go to his barn to sleep. Perhaps he sensed what I didn't. She wouldn't be back.

The Story of White Wilbur is very much a human story.  He loves. He becomes sad. He has a sense of loss.  He remembers.  He has joy. And, he mourns a loved one.  He has all the feelings and emotions that we have, including pain and suffering.  As the Bible tells us, He is also a living soul (Hebrew: neh-fesh khah-yaw) just as we are.  The only difference between us is that he cannot speak our language.  However, the real tragedy is that we, who consider ourselves so superior, seldom try to understand the language of the other creatures, and come to know them as our neighbors and fellow creatures of God.

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Some of us might counter and say, "I feel this way about my cat and dog.   I know how they feel and what they want and need."  That's good!   But then, I wonder, "Why don't they end up on this person's plate, as do so many other animals.  White Wilbur, or for that matter any other pig, is not bacon, or ham, or pork, or some other sanitized name we want to give him or her.  Pigs are our fellow beings who deserve to live their lives to the fullest, just as we desire to do.   They are not food for our table. The choice is ours. We can continue the pain and suffering and cruelty, or, we can make this a kinder and more compassionate world. (FLH)

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