This is Part One of Three in a series of stories about a Pig Rescue.
My cell phone rang and as I looked at the name on the screen, I braced myself. JUDY. Judy was a friend, a fellow animal lover and a rescuer. When she called me, it was usually a request for help and it generally included some element of animal rescue drama that put me outside of my comfort zone. In the years since we met, I assisted her with many horse rescues and fostered a feral dog about ready to have puppies. I was involved with a number of her risky ‘missions’ that involved animal neglect or out an out abuse. Judy rarely called unless it was a desperate plea for help on behalf of an animal. Despite my hesitations, I found it nearly impossible to say no when she asked.
I made myself wait to pick up the call until I imagined the word NO, blinking in neon somewhere behind my forehead.
This time she started the conversation with a story, not a request for help.
“You have to come see my latest rescue. It is a pig. He’s adorable. I heard about him and drove 3 hours down off the mountain to purchase him. The owner was planning to have him put down.”
Judy had talked about getting a pig for years, she was so excited that I couldn’t get a word in. I sat down with my coffee at the kitchen table and listened to her tell me about this adorable pig. The story came out like a long run on sentence.
“She was a pig breeder, breeding those little tea cup pigs and she was planning to keep him to be a “stud” pig because of his coloring. Wait till you see him, he is pink and white and black.
Anyway, the breeder took him away from mama pig and kept him separate from the others and bottle fed him in a cage. Poor thing, he was all alone with no mama and no holding. Then something happened and his back legs got all crossed. The breeder got worried that the leg issue might be hereditary, so as soon as he was able to eat, she put him in the pen with some other pigs. Big pigs. So, there he was, legs crossed, less than half the size of every other pig, fending for himself. When I got down there he was covered in bite marks, his butt backed in the corner so he could defend himself.”
“That is awful!” I managed to squeeze in while she took a breath and sip of whatever she was drinking.
“Poor thing, he was so tormented, I could barely touch him. You know those little pigs are supposed to be handled, bottle fed and treated like a baby. That is how they are turned into pets. He didn’t have any of that, so first I had to win his trust with food. And slowly, I have been getting him to the stage that he lets me hold him, and bathe him. Lee, he is just like a baby now. I took him to a chiropractor in town to see about his legs and he fixed him. No more crossed legs! All his bite marks are healed and he has hair, he didn’t have any when I first got him. And the sounds he makes, I swear he coos when you rock him. And he is already litter trained.”
I was already in love with the little guy and I realized I didn’t know his name.
“What is his name?” I asked.
“Mr. Pickles” she answered. “Everybody thinks it is Piggles … but it is Pickles like the things you eat!” she laughed.
“How big is he?” I asked trying to picture him.
“Only 10 pounds”
I tried to imagine a 10 pound pig only 2 pounds heavier than Chi Chi our chihuahua.
“I am still trying to get him trained to walk on a leash. Lee, I am spending 2 hours a day on this pig. He really needs a lot of TLC.” Pleading start to creep into her voice.
“How jealous is Jim?” I was half joking. Jim was her husband and worshiped her. He was in construction and I pictured that he was already remodeling their house to include the perfect place for Mr. Pickles.
“It is killing Jim. I have never seen a grown man so jealous in my life! We had a huge argument about it last night…” she paused. She sounded mad and a bit scared.
I didn’t know quite what to say. All I could think of was the parade of rescued dogs and cats that she had fostered in the few years since we met and how patient Al had seemed about it all.
“This morning he gave me an ultimatum, it is either him or the pig!?!” Her words were wrapped in sad desperation.
I was stunned.
“I am calling to see if you will take Mr. Pickles.” Now she was crying.
My hard and fast NO, became ‘Yes, of course.’
And that is how Apple Hill Farm, became the next home of Mr. Pickles, the pig.
This story, is Part One of Three, and will be continued in the next blog post.
9 thoughts on “A Pig Rescue Story”
I need help,I have a pig that I just can’t keep anymore, she is very sweet, n gentle, if you can help me please call for more info about the situation, thank you. (336) 963-6615
My name is Susan Smith,I just don’t know what to do I feel bad for her
My name is malinda aldridge I have a pot belly pig I got her as a baby she is now 1an weighs bout 200 pd she is a sweet girl but due to recent health problems I need her to have a new home of you could please help her find a new home i would be so grateful
We are so sorry to hear that! We will keep our eyes open for anything!
I hope you can help me or at least point me in the right direction. I have a one year old mini pig that I need to re-home. His name is Remy and he is such a sweet boy. He belonged to my daughter who can no longer care for him now that she is back in school and he has proven to be to much for me to handle. I don’t want him to just go to anyone, I need to know that he will be loved and we’ll cared for. Can you help me?
We are so sorry to hear that you need to rehome your pig. We do not have any room at our farm for additional pigs at this time.
You may have success with using the Pig Placement Network to find him a home: http://www.pigplacementnetwork.org/
These links may also help:
I have a 5 month old male potbelly that I rescued a month ago, I didn’t know that he was not fixed, I can’t afford the 250, do you know if any places that may give vouchers for this?
These links may help:
Im interested in rescuing a pig but he must stay outdoors. We have a 20 acre fenced pasture for it with cows. Do they need companionship and can they stay outdoors during the winter ( I do have a large shed for shelter) ALso do they root up the ground?
Hey Ronda! Pigs, like all animals, do enjoy having friends. We did previously have a solo pig who made friends with a cat, and they can make friends with other animals. They should never be left alone with dogs, for safety reasons, but can get along well with them. Our pigs live outdoors 24/7. They do have a very nice indoor barn stall that we close them in when it is cold, but there is no heat source for them and they do well. Pigs LOVE rooting, so they will root up some. The amount they root up varies across individuals.
We suggest checking the Pig Placement Network to rescue pigs. There is also a Facebook group called Preloved Pigs you can check out.