Dezember 03, 2017
As my friend Miriam, her dog Isa, and I sped along the scenic backroads in her tiny car, I could feel my excitement growing. I had heard so much about Nancy, and now I was finally going to meet her! The drive had been a short one, but my anticipation got the better of me as I asked Miriam to drive just a little faster. (It’s good she didn’t; Winter is starting to settle in here in Switzerland and the roads can be quite narrow and slippery!)
Nancy’s story had touched me from the moment I first heard it. She’d had a very stressful and traumatic life, especially early on. She was taken away from her mother when she was very young, and like her mother, got pregnant at a very early age. Then the tragic story repeated itself, and Nancy's children were taken away from her. I’m not a mother myself, but I still felt waves of horror and despair coursing through my body when I heard this. It’s hard to imagine anything worse than having your own children ripped away from you.
Fortunately, Nancy connected with some friends of ours who helped her break this cycle of grief. These kind-hearted people were able to get her out of the abusive space she’d been living in, and relocate her to a safe, loving environment. There, she and her two children, who would turn out to be her last, were able to live together in peace. She got the support she needed, finally felt safe, and her new home was like a little slice of heaven.
Our friends had told me that, once she was settled in, Nancy began to blossom. She arrived tense and unhealthy but soon transformed into a super beauty, full of life and happiness. Everyone who knew her was amazed by her transformation and I couldn’t wait to see it myself.
Safe at last
Finally, we arrived at Nancy’s new place, and our excitement overtook us! We jumped out of the car, said a quick hello to our mutual friends who’d rescued Nancy, then hurried over to the spot where she and her children, Momo and Luna, were living. Miriam had met Nancy before, so she introduced us herself. I felt instantly welcomed by Nancy’s eager look and sparkling, friendly eyes.
Then Nancy led me into her big, cozy room which was full of straw and wonderfully spacious. It was set up so she could do some rooting even indoors, which was perfect since it had started getting cold outside and pigs don’t have the thickest fur. She seemed downright joyful as she sniffed me, and although her children hang back at first, they were soon investigating me, too.
As we sat together and I ran my hands over the wiry hairs on their strong backs, I tried to remember how many times I’d actually met pigs in person. I’m pretty sure I could count them on one hand. Even when driving through the countryside that’s dotted with farms, you rarely see pigs out in the open.
Which is because they are hidden away in horrible “facilities” or animal factory farms like the one where Nancy and her children used to live. These places force animals to live in tiny enclosures where they can barely stand or turn around. The enclosures are overly crowded, and being packed so tight causes the animals discomfort and dismay. Anyone and anything that is dear to them is taken away and they may never see the sunshine in their whole lives. (You can learn more about how pigs live in Switzerland by reading this report, but be aware that the images and information are very upsetting.)
Nancy was very fortunate that while she was still stuck in this hellish place, a young woman took a job there and her compassion kicked in. After just a few days’ work, it became hard for her to witness all the deprivation and stress the animals were experiencing. She felt sorry for all of the pigs, but she absolutely fell in love with Nancy. Even under terrible circumstances, Nancy’s friendly, outgoing personality shone through. And since her tongue was always hanging out just a little bit, she was irresistibly cute.
This girl decided to save Nancy and her two youngest children, and that is how they came to live at the animal sanctuary farm “ Lebenshof Tiermensch ” along with owners Ann Bachmann and Markus Zaugg and about 25 other rescued animals.
All of these animals are safe from being slaughtered and can live out their days in peace, free of fear and constant anxiety.
How you can help
Christmas is almost here, and many of us are scratching our heads wondering what to buy for our loved ones. Luckily, I’ve got some great ideas to share! Instead of getting your friends and family half-funny joke gifts, or pretty objects they don’t truly need, consider supporting Lebenshof Tiermensch.
Ann and Markus host a variety of activities at the farm:
Gifts like this are meaningful and have a lasting impact on both the recipient and the animals! And if you live far from Lebenshof Tiermensch, there are more animal sanctuary farms in Switzerland and in other countries all over Europe. Connect with one near you, and ask how you can best support their life-changing work.
Nancy and I both wish you a warm and happy holiday season!
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