When animals adopt other animals of a different species, like Edgar Alan Pig and his lamb, Arnie, it's called interspecies adoption.
Celebrating the amazing miracle of interspecies adoption, One Big Happy Family: Heartwarming Stories of Animal Caring for One Another (Thomas Dunne Books, 2013) highlights over 50 stories of animals that have reached out to save the lives of babies from other species and raised them as their own. From a bulldog and her baby squirrels to a cat and her ducklings, One Big Happy Family, by Lisa Rogak, contains the cutest and most surprising matriarch mixes. The following excerpt is from the section “The Pig and His Lamb.”
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Edgar Alan Pig is the namesake of Edgar’s Mission Farm Sancutary, a sixty-acre animal sanctuary in Victoria, Australia, with a unique specialty: Founder Pam Ahern concentrates on rescuing animals that would otherwise be headed for a dinner plate.
It all started with Edgar, a pig that Ahern bought from a piggery when actor James Cromwell — who played the farmer in the movie Babe — came to Victoria in 2003 and wanted to have a picture of himself taken with a pig to help alert people to the plight of farm animals, particularly pigs in factory farms. Ahern found a pig at a local farm, Cromwell posed with the pig, and Ahern planned the next day to find a sanctuary where Edgar — already named — could live out his natural life.
But when the next morning came, Ahern could no more send Edgar off to a sanctuary than she could send him back to the farm. And so she decided to start a rescue of her own devoted to taking in farm animals.
Since then Edgar helped foster and serve as a surrogate father to a variety of different animals countless times in the seven years since he first arrived into Ahern’s life. Plus, he became famous throughout Australia serving as a four-legged ambassador to draw attention to the issue; after all, it was the first time for many Australians that they had witnessed a pig walk on a leash, as Ahern gently led the pig out in public.
Edgar also served as a welcoming committee for the hundreds of orphaned and abandoned lambs, chickens, goats, and other barnyard animals that showed up at the sanctuary on a regular basis; around 250 live there at any one time. He had a particularly special relationship with a one-week-old lamb named Arnie, who he instantly took under his wing when Arnie first showed up at Edgar’s Mission.
Edgar has proven that pigs do make great surrogate fathers — and mothers. And though Edgar passed away in 2010, his legacy still resonates in Australia and all over the world.
Family Fact: Pigs can be trained to sniff out truffles, an edible delicacy found in forests, as well as bombs and mines.
To see another cute example of interspecies adoption from One Big Happy Family: Read The Boxer Dog and His Kid Goat.
Reprinted with permission from One Big Happy Family: Heartwarming Stories of Animals Caring for One Another by Lisa Rogak. Copyright © 2013 by Lisa Rogak and reprinted by permission of Thomas Dunne Books. Buy this book from our bookstore: One Big Happy Family.