I get tagged on Facebook whenever a pig ends up in an area animal shelter. Usually, it’s friends saying, “you have room for one more, right?”
Recently, I was tagged in a post about five piglets dumped at the Humane Society. Knowing I can’t foster or adopt and more pigs, (city regulations) I called to see what I could do. I wanted to offer supplies, knowledge and support.
Sure enough, they were more than happy to accept my help. I went to the store for some fruit and veggies, goat’s milk (the piglets were drinking whatever donated milk they had) and collected a bunch of blankets and sheets.
I went to visit that same day and met with the woman who was caring for the pigs. She was very sweet but admitted she knew nothing about pigs.
It turned out the piglets had mange. Pax had it, too, when I got him. And the piglets were housed in a cage near all the barking dogs. They were huddled in a corner, shaking from fear.
My heart broke.
All I could offer was my knowledge and experience. I gave the woman all my contact information and told her if she needed anything, even had simple questions, to please contact me.
Then she told me about Tulip.
Tulip was in a different room. She was 300 pounds and had been there for eight months.
My heart broke again.
The woman told me Tulip loved to be sprayed with the hose, was great at getting away from everyone but was very friendly and sweet, and was known for eating her beds. I will say, they were doing a good job of giving Tulip outside time to root and play.
The next day, I offered to bring more blankets and food. Luckily, the shelter gets produce donated from Walmart (yay!) every Wednesday, so they didn’t need anything. The woman had a few questions about enrichment for Tulip. One of my favorite things is hiding Cheerios in a large braid made from an old T-shirt. The woman loved the idea.
I couldn’t stop thinking about all those homeless pigs.
It happens a lot, people adopt or buy pigs without realizing what they’re getting into. Then the pigs are dumped, let free to fend for themselves (likely what happened to Tulip) or sold at auctions — for slaughter.
I told a columnist about Tulip at the newspaper I work for.
He loved the story and went to go see Tulip. He wrote a column about the influx of “exotic” pets at animal shelters. The shelter also had two special-needs roosters.
The story got a lot of attention.
She’s living with a local family on 50 acres and now has two pig brothers.
Both roosters found a home and so did two of the piglets.
This story has a mostly happy ending.
But please, PLEASE, do your research before adopting or buying (adopt, don’t shop!) a pig or any animal.
Animals are living, breathing things. They have emotions. They have favorites foods and toys. Like all of us, they just want to be safe and feel loved.
Try to remember that 😊