In 1950, an elderly woman lived in Hermitage, Tennessee, who was known to everyone around simply as Aunt Tess. The old lady lived alone with only her cat and a canary named Bibs. Aunt Tess’s niece and her husband lived a few hundred yards away from her house, and they were concerned lest something happen to the aging woman without anyone knowing.
One night they were awakened by what seemed like a tapping on the window. It wasn’t loud, and they tried to ignore it, but the tapping continued.
Finally, the niece got out of bed and went to the window to investigate. She drew back the curtains, and there, to her amazement, beating frantically against the window pane, was Aunt Tess’s canary, Bibs. The little bird had never before been outside the aunt’s house, but she had somehow managed not only to get out, but then to find her way several hundred yards to the niece’s window. The task took all the little bird had, however. Before the niece’s eyes, Bibs literally dropped dead from exhaustion on the windowsill. The niece and her husband immediately rushed over to Aunt Tess’s house and there found the old lady lying unconscious and bleeding on the floor. She had suffered a bad fall, and may well have died had not help arrived when it did. The canary had given its own life to save that of Aunt Tess.
The more I have learned about animals, the more I have realized how conditioned I have been in my attitudes towards them. I never would have imagined a bird capable of this kind of thing. Nor would I have thought a pig likely to be a lifesaver. But I would have been wrong.
A couple of years ago United Press International carried a photograph and story that was picked up and printed in many of the country’s major newspapers. The photo was of Carol Burk, her 11-year-old son Anthony Melton, and a pig. What made the story newsworthy was that mother and son had gone swimming in a Houston lake. The boy had inadvertently strayed too far from shore, panicked, and began to sink. The boy’s pet pig, Priscilla, evidently felt his distress because she rushed into the water and began to swim towards him. While Anthony’s anguished mother watched helplessly, the boy managed to stay afloat until the pig reached him. Then he caught hold of her leash. Anthony’s mother watched awe-struck as Priscilla the pig proceeded to tow her son safely to shore.
Story is from “Diet for A New America”, an inspiring book by author John Robbins, promoting a cruelty free way of life for the physical, environmental, social and spiritual well being of Mother Earth and all of her children. Visit www.earthsave.org for more on the work of John Robbins