“Studying cows, pigs, and chickens can help an actor develop his character. There are a lot of things I learned from animals. One was that they couldn’t hiss or boo me.” (James Dean)
One of the most useful online sources I employ for planning our independent travel itineraries has been “Atlas Obscura.” Each weekday, I check their daily update online to read captivating stories about unique places to visit around the world. A recent entry describing an animal rescue farm titled “Where Pigs Fly”, thus caught my attention as we followed our current road trip itinerary through the backwoods of Central Missouri. Deciding that the one hour diversion from our currently route would be worth our time, we then decided to book a mid morning appointment time to this farm for the next day. Billed as the world’s largest pig museum in the country, in fact these intriguing grounds thrilled us with so much more. For beyond the front gate of the farm lay a fascinating menagerie of over 500 rescued animals including horses, donkeys, pigs, hogs, sheep, goats, fowl, dogs, cats, llamas, emus, and a large camel.
During the course of our two hour farm visit to “Where Pigs Fly Farm”, several memorable encounters in close interaction with these animals vividly come to mind.
(1) A blind donkey stubbornly refused to move out of our way and blocked the main road to the facility. How amusing that this mule seemed utterly afraid of our moving vehicle at the time.
(2) A playful St. Bernard dog ran up to me as I left the car and curiously sniffed at my shoes. He then laid down on his back and proceeded to whine as I rubbed its belly.
(3) A hungry emu stalked me as I made my way to the ticket office and aggressively pecked at a grain block that I was holding in my hand. Yet he allowed to me to pet him while he chewed each morsel.
(4) A lazy hog oinked in sedentary contentment as I plunged my fingers into its filthy stomach.
(5) A billy goat found my shirt more appetizing to munch on than the crackers I held in my hand.
(6) A white cockatoo quietly perched on the door of his open cage allowed me to gently stroke his feathers as he flashed me a loving eye.
The previous examples show that I experienced a definite sensory “high” from interacting in close proximity with these animals at “Where Pigs Fly” Farm. For I undoubtedly had savored such affectionate contact with farm animals to counteract my emotional blues of social isolation that persists for me in these pandemic times. So if these rescued animals can project such love and kindness in spite of their abandonment, abuse, or physical handicaps, why can’t humans experiencing chronic Corona stress today do the same? Enjoy the photographs below.