May you find the softest soil, Odi. It was an honor and a joy to know you.
Rest in peace my friend. Here are a few notes from his human family:
" Odi was our first little piglet. Three years ago we jokingly decided to get a pig and just like that, on a beautiful August morning, he was on his merry way to our home, riding front-seat in an old car. As mentioned before, the entire ordeal was more of a joke than something done out of purpose or reason. We had absolutely no idea what kind of effect, what kind of change he was going to bring to our lives.
We named him Odi – a derivative of the Slovenian word for baby pig; odojek. But I called him “little ugly” and sincerely laughed at this alien-like creature sporting a giant snout and enormous ears that gave the impression that he just might become the word’s first flying pig.
He loved to eat apples, always begged for more pancakes and used his snout to fight his way onto my lap. In less than 24 hours, before I even realized what was happening, he fought his way into more than just my lap, he fought his way into my heart. He filled it with love, but not only for himself, but also for his kin; a species I hadn’t even acknowledged to be worthy of consideration until that point.
In the process he also filled up all the space on the couch as well. Learned to play fetch with a stick, and then trade it in for more pancakes. Pancakes – clearly the best thing in the world! It wasn’t long until we gave in to his wishes and built him a little fenced pasture outdoors. From that moment on, he dug through the seasons, be it sunny, be it rainy, he dug. And let me tell you, you haven’t seen happiness until you’ve seen a pig enjoy the outdoors. It wasn’t long before he forged a mighty alliance with the chickens and together they explored what the soil had to offer.
December came; and with the passing of autumn, so too did pass any doubt from our hearts and minds. It was evident to everyone that he is now a family member and it isn’t possible to cherish his life to a greater extent than we already did. He took naps covered in blankets, stole pillows from the children when they were watching cartoons, and for a moment of bliss, we were the happiest family on the planet.
Then it happened.
Odi almost instantaneously (overnight) became paraplegic (lost feeling in his back legs). The world of every family member shattered. But most of all... my world. Anyone who has ever selflessly loved will know exactly what I’m talking about. The weeks and months went by, and it took me a long time to understand that there are things in life that you simply cannot change and need to accept. Odi is never going to walk again. Blaming myself for feeding him one too many pancakes, when I could’ve given him vitamin rich foods isn’t going to change anything. Asking myself why I didn’t go straight to him that morning instead of the computer isn’t going to change anything. I needed to look forward.
With that realization, it didn’t take very long at all to get used to this new unfortunate situation and start accepting his new way of life. A way of life even more tightly knit together with ours than before. He now resided in the hallway, moaning loudly whenever he needed to go number one or number two. We spent hours by his side as he sat and sometimes enjoyed some light instrumental music, other times got grumpy at the cats for using him as a trampoline (all in good fun though, they fell asleep together every night, they were the very best of friends).
It wasn’t uncommon for us to be gathered around him, reading or playing. I moved my office just to be by his side. And it was in that very area where the stories of our little farm sanctuary started making their way in the world, and changing the lives of other animals as well.
When snow fell, we brought winter to him; we brought snowballs inside and apparently he thought they were pancakes - he attempted to eat quite a few. Who needs legs, when in your mind, you’re capable of flight! Come spring, we dug up some roots, shoveled in some dirt, planted a few plants – and once again, the outdoors came to him. The summer sun caressed his body through the window.
For two years our daily rhythms were intimately entwined, he met many friends in fur & feather, as they passed in and out of our home. He was always there for me (as I cried tears of joy on a good day, when lives were saved – and tears of sorrow on another, when many didn’t make it), and I was always there for him.
During his last few months, things weren’t looking so good. He had trouble sitting, as his front feet could no longer support his girth. Despite his carefully planned diet, his body is simply too genetically modified (he has the animal agriculture industry to thank for that) and weight gain was inevitable.
They say no one leaves this world without first fulfilling the mission he was sent here for. In the three years I had the pleasure of knowing him, he showed me the deepest depths of his soul – a privilege I dare say I will never have the pleasure of experiencing again. With any animal or human.
He also brought about a deepened understanding of other pigs. Without even knowing it, I started helping pigs everywhere, and as if sensing it, they somehow found refuge with me. First came Dora, then came Pumpa, and after him, Stella. Next was Teo. Day after day, all things pig related started buzzing around me; everything from phone calls seeking advice to random encounters. Pigs became my world.
Yesterday it happened. It was a weird and sad day.
I was attending a pig rescue, a pig called Coki, that refused to leave her little concrete barn space, which was reminiscent of nothing but a concentration camp. When we were trying to get her out, three baby piglets (not hers, hers were sent to the slaughterhouse a long time ago) were trying to fend us off. Little did they know that they themselves will never be so lucky to experience life outside that prison.
With too much hope in my eyes, I decided to go and talk to the farm owner. I don’t know what I was expecting, but whatever the case may be, I was expecting far too much. On arrival, a river of blood on the floor, streaming along the concrete floor. Those little snouts will never seen the sun. They’ll never see the gates open. Their lives will inevitably end with the trickle of red fluid. Some people, against all reason, against all logic, against all common sense and compassion, simply refuse to change. I cannot offer whatever it is that these people want. They don’t want anything from me, I’m not the person they want. These are all things I attempted to convey to Coki that evening, as she demanded more apples from me instead of tears.
In the very next moment, my boy Teo comes barging in and tells me to quickly run to Odi, “daddy says Odi is dying”, he exclaimed. I barely managed to catch him in time, just long enough to say goodbye. His heart, at long last, gave out. But ours will always beat for him and his kind. Every pig is Odi. No... every animal is Odi. they all carry the gift of life, worth so much more than we’re even capable of comprehending. And today, Odi gave us his very last gift – a lesson of what it is to lose someone close to you. Only a void remains... emptiness. Time heals, they say. I can’t say if that’s true or not, but one thing is for certain.
One thing and one thing only... is for certain. And that is that I will never stop fighting for the oppressed, for those forgotten, for the poor souls cramped behind cold concrete and steel, for those without a voice, for those whom so many don’t even want to listen to or look at. For those who gaze at us with nothing but hope, and wait for the sun to come."
May you find the softest soil, Odi.
-Ksenija & family
Farm Animal Rescue Slovenia