BAT PIGS AND ETHICS

The living room is always a littered disarray of animals living their best lives. There are cats on the laundry pile, pigs next to the couch, and two squirrel sisters in the clinic room. The bed has a giant dog. Two middle-aged box turtles are preparing for torpor in the kitchen. I’m sure there’s a mouse in a wall somewhere.

We started Odd Man Inn because of a desire to help animals in need. We’ve never strayed from that purpose. We envision a world where animal lives aren’t given a value because of how they measure up to our limited human understanding of communication and social structure, but simply because that life is their own; not ours. Though we work towards a world where exploitation of other species ceases to exist, we fully realize we won’t live to see the end. That doesn’t stop us. It empowers us to work harder.

THE BRASS RING

We adopted out a pig today to a home where he will live as an ambassador for his kind. He will know only the best of everything. He has a house far nicer than most people. He has a staff to care for him. He has animal friends, fresh air, a forest to explore, and peace. It’s the brass ring of our work. JackJack had the terrible fortune of being born in a body that’s seen not only as laughable, but as a commodity to be put on sale at the local grocery store. He’s described as all sorts of horrible things that simply are not true. He doesn’t sweat. He doesn’t stink. He’s neat as a pin. And he’s one of the most intelligent creatures we’ve ever had the luxury of coexisting beside. He’s a pig no different than any pig we’ve ever met. It doesn’t matter if they’re big or small. They’re all worthy of our humanity.

When Jack came to us, he was scared and overweight. He needed basic grooming and medical care, along with a little time to grieve the loss of his pig friend and his home. That’s what we do. We give them space and time and necessities while they heal from past lives. Then, we help them find new lives and new families. There’s no magic. It’s just hard work and dedication to the mission. We have a crew of helpers here who work beside us as committed members of Odd Man Inn. We are grateful to have them. Jack is grateful for them.

WHAT’S YOUR SECRET?

There are so many different ways to do animal rescue and so many different ways to describe it. There are a lot of opinions and best practices depending on who you consult. There are also a lot of egos and personalities that make the work a struggle sometimes. Think it’s a bother when pigs bite? Try dealing with humans. Sheesh. We navigate the path as best we can here. We seek advice. We employ professionals. We are humble when we don’t know, and we are advocates for the right thing when we do know. We have zero tolerance for lying, cheating, stealing. There is no room for bullying, harassment, or discrimination of any kind. We don’t engage in petty arguments. We don’t lose sight of the mission. Sounds easy, right?

Tomorrow is a new day. We still have thirty-five pigs to feed and love. We answer emails. We educate. We network. We work to support the animals and find them homes. I answered a questionnaire yesterday that asked, “What’s the secret to your time management?” I thought about it for a minute, as I don’t feel like my time management or organization skills are all that boast-worthy. The secret here is work ethic, plain and simple. We wake up every morning and work until we go to sleep. That’s it. Every day until our last. JackJack and his friends are counting on us.

Pro photo at the top by Zahne Calzada

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