How many times have you heard, "look, it's bacon or ham"?? Original, yeah, right. What other things have you heard???? Maybe some of these statements below?
Q: My favorite question is "I want a pig! Can you get me one of those?!"
A: My response always depends on the person asking. Something along the lines of, "Yep, but first I need you to fill out this 6 page adoption application, then we'll do a phone interview that lasts about 30 minutes and message back and forth for a couple of weeks. Finally, I'll call and grill your vet and probably require you to find a new one for me to interview, then I'll come check out your home and most likely require you to put in $400 worth of fencing. You ready to start the process??
Q: Do you take that "thing" to the vet? And pay money for vet care, for a pig?
A: What is wrong with you, do you not take your obligations seriously??
Q: She’s big, why didn’t you get one of the micro ones?
A: That one always makes me laugh. I didn't get a little one because ALL pigs grow.
Q: Do you feed them pork? Can they eat bacon?
A: Seriously? Did you feed your child a human foot this morning?
Q: OMG, you have a pig living IN your house? They smell or they are dirty.
A: I also let my other children sleep in the house. They're dirty too, plus full of germs after leaving YOUR house.
Q: They eat everything and anything right?
A: Yeah, including ignorant people like you. Obviously pigs can and often do eat anything that they can fit into their mouths, but is it good for them? Uh, no.
Q: Can I hunt him?
A: Can I shoot you with a 12 gauge, in the face?
Statement: You must be fattening that pig up for the oven?!?
Response: Actually, YOU would taste much better than my pig....jerk.
There are so many who stereotype pigs into an inaccurate category of animals that are gross and disgusting....obviously we know better, help educate people by showing them what great animals pigs are....but make sure they know the truths about pigs. They make great companion animals for the RIGHT and educated family.
In an effort to promote pig summer safety, here are some simple steps to help pig parents keep their porcine friends cool. Insurance company claims data shows that heat stroke, dehydration and hyperthermia are common summer health risks for pets. When these hazards send pigs to the vet, they can cause a deep dive into pig parents’ pockets with treatment costs averaging $2,500.00 for heat stroke, $400.00 for dehydration and $900.00 for hyperthermia. (Based on quotes from vet office) Remember, pigs do not sweat, so they literally require an area to cool down. You have to check up on pigs that are outside. They do not know they need to leave their outside enclosure and will sometimes literally sit inside and eventually become too lethargic to get outside.
It can be dangerous when pigs’ body temperatures get just a few degrees above normal. Fortunately, with a little planning and preparation, keeping our hooved friends safe in warm weather can be a breeze. Here are eight easy ways pig parents can help their pigs beat the heat:
Most vets will also stress that pet resting areas should be kept cool, indoors and out. For pigs seeking relief from the hot weather, provide outdoor areas of shade with open-air tents, awnings and umbrellas. Indoor resting places can be kept cool with air conditioners or fans, and by keeping the curtains closed so there is no direct sunlight. Also, bare floors in the house are great spots for pets to lie down and cool off.
If a pig gets overheated, it’s best to aim for a gradual cool down rather than an abrupt immersion in ice or cold water. Try using the hose, a gentle shower or wet towels first. If a pig shows signs of hyperthermia like excessive drooling, a very red tongue or gums, panting, weakness, dizziness or vomiting, take cooling measures immediately and get your pig to the vet ASAP. Have icepacks wrapped in small towels in bed for the pig to lay on if it wants to. (Or a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel). Put rubbing alcohol on its feet for evaporative cooling. Use cool, but not cold cloths on head, neck and abdomen. Avoid bathing your pig at this time. If the animal's temperature is over 105 degrees, moisten the pet's hair coat with cool (not COLD) water and pay particular attention to the ears and feet, which are sites of heat exchange. Direct a fan on the moistened areas.
Heat stroke can be fatal within 15 minutes, and even when it isn’t deadly, brain and organ damage can result from exposure to extreme heat.
There has been more than one time when someone shares a picture from an animal shelter and the poor pig is being fed dog food or laying on a concrete floor. How can you reach out to so many animal shelters and tell them how to appropriately care for a pig? It was almost impossible to call each vet and verify that they saw pigs, i couldn't imagine having to call each animal shelter to ask if they know how to appropriately care for one. What people don't realize or maybe take for granted is that these animal shelter workers see discarded animals everyday. They see families bring in their cat, just because they don't want him anymore and drop him off and leave. Maybe the cat ripped the couch, or peed on the floor instead of the litterbox; nonetheless, cats are a lot easier to place than a pig anyways.
Introducing the Mini Pig Info....Shelter Guide. This can be found on the same page as the pig rescues for anyone wishing to download it and send it to their animal control. In order to keep it at a reasonable length, I chose to focus more on placing pigs rather than caring for them although that is also discussed. If you have any ideas on improving it, let us know.
It has been uploaded as a file (above) or a document (below). A preview of the document will show if you're on a desktop computer, but not on a mobile device/phone.
Pigs are great. So great that people will do anything to save one from an otherwise unknown fate....that speaks volumes about any species. Pigs are very special, they have human-like feelings and will cry if their feelings are hurt much like a person would. Pigs don't make the greatest indoor pets though. We all see them glamorized everyday and celebrities getting these little pigs and people excited to get their piglet or waiting anxiously at the airport for their arrival....I often wonder, do they know what they're getting themselves into? Sometimes yes, sometimes (and more often) no. That's sad that people do more research to pick out a television than they do before they get a pet to add to their family. If my tv wasn't everything it was said to be, would I get rid of it? Would I ask someone else to pay for my tv because I no longer had time to watch it? Or would I just let it sit there collecting dust and be obsolete the next time I used it? Well for me personally, I take my obligations seriously, at least now I do. I was once one of those people who ran out and got a pig on a whim with absolutely no research, there was no FB at the time and I knew nothing about pig rescue or how to spot a shady breeder, all I wanted to do was fill the selfish want and did it. I got my pig. It was a disaster from day 1.
I looked online for local people with pigs for sale and found one, about 45 minutes away from me. Stopped by the bank, grabbed some money and was off to buy my piglet. I was told to give him sweet feed and was handed a baggy full of that. He was around a month old and was no longer nursing from his mama. I watched as she "caught" this scared little baby as he ran around a small outside pen, ultimately I was heartbroken watching him fear for his life, but again, my selfish side had to had him. I wrap him up like a baby and drive home holding him in my lap. I get home and he runs away from me....well, he obviously likes to run, he did the same thing at the breeders house. Luckily for me, he won't get any bigger than 45lbs....not nearly as big as this little tiny pigs mama who I saw....she was skinny but a much bigger pig than what I paid for. He has all kinds of open areas, scratching himself on anything he possibly can and as soon as I walk close to him, he takes off. I wonder what I am doing wrong?
Day 2....the baby, we playfully named Porkchop, wouldn't eat dinner last night and now he won't eat breakfast either. I called the breeder who told me sometimes they just take a few days and he will be fine. Don't worry about the open sores, he must've been cut up in his outside enclosure trying to escape. This little baby loves belly rubs, so I am now a self proclaimed expert at making him tip over. My kids have met him, he will now come to me, especially if I have human food....guess it's true, the way to any mans heart is food.
Day 3....what have I gotten myself into? This dang pig is peeing everywhere, he finds a spot and just pees, he doesn't go in a litterbox like I was told and my carpet is starting to smell like someone may have died in my house. (I did invest in a carpet cleaning machine by day 3) still no eating....refuses to eat this mixture of stuff that was given to me. So I made him some human food. Oatmeal to be exact, and I added in some vanilla yogurt just to be sure he was getting enough to eat. Yay! He loves it and is eating that mixture twice a day. (I go out and buy all the instant oatmeal I can find)
Day 4....he is still scratching himself on anything he can find and now I am all itchy....my kids are complaining that their arms are itchy occasionally too....he loves the food, so finally we've done something right....whew. He's warming up a little to us now. He will now willingly come to me, usually it's because I'm eating something and he wants a bite. He does this really cute thing where he picks up my feet as I'm making his food....like telling me to hurry up. We video it and laugh and laugh showing all our friends and neighbors our cute little porkchop.
Day 5....nothing eventful, he's still a playful little fella, stinky urine, but now we've closed in a spot in our back yard so we can take him out. We have to carry him because the area we made a makeshift pen isn't right outside the back door. Luckily our neighbor has a dog and can keep an eye on little porkchop. We never leave him out though alone, scared someone would come steal him. Everyone just loves him and loves to come over and watch him pee on the carpet while completely ignoring our calls for him to come to us.
Day 6....this is where it starts to get interesting. Porkchop is still playful and still has a lot of open sores, so I call a vet and the sweet man on the phone says they'll actually come to my house if I need them to....porkchop is small enough, so I make an appointment for later that afternoon and take him in. Well, good and bad news. Good news is that his sores are due to the fact he has mites....better news is that there is medicine that can treat that and he won't have them anymore. Bad news is now I have to go to my MD and let him know that I have a pet pig and he was diagnosed with mites and now me and my family need to be treated for scabies....SCABIES! I was humiliated to call and make an appointment. I am in the medical field, so I know whatever treatment you get is now a part of your permanent medical record and now I will look like some dirty person with nasty kids who has a dirty house and doesn't keep things clean....luckily for me, my primary care physicians first degree was actually animal science....he was a vet before he transitioned to human medicine. Not only did he understand and sympathize with my situation, but now he wants me to bring porkchop to the office to meet him and his staff. How fun is that? (After we've all recovered from our "illness" of course) Later on I do find out that these mites won't actually live on people, but can cause some itchiness for a few days, as i said it was later, like 5 years later I found this out, but nonetheless, lesson learned. (Me or my family never had scabies, but, scabies are a mite, just not the same mite that pigs get. We would've gotten better with or without treatment because they wouldn't have been able to reproduce and would die off, we sorta jumped the gun as far as going to the doctor was concerned.)
Let's fast forward to around day 14....now porkchop is acting right, he's eating his oatmeal and yogurt, every single bite of it and has been for a couple of weeks now, but now he isn't walking right, he's falling down and unable to get up. Immediately called my vet. He rushes over to my house and spends the next 3 hours educating me on pigs. When I say I knew nothing, I literally mean nothing. I've had a pet pig for 2 weeks now and have no idea what I've gotten myself into. Well after he consults with a vet from another state, he believes he now knows what is wrong with my baby. He is basically malnourished. He isn't getting the vitamins he needs from oatmeal and yogurt. Duh. He needs pig food. He doesn't know exactly where I can get it, but I should check online. So I do. And I find a little mom and pop shop about 40 minutes away and they have a bag of pig feed. Thank God! After he gets done with the question/answer seminar he had no idea he was entering, I rush out and buy pig food.
Day 18....I am doing everything short of cramming this pig feed down this pigs mouth to get him to eat it. He is not a fan, but I found that wetting it and mixing it in with his oatmeal and yogurt seems to do the trick. I am feeding him as much as he will eat. I can see his strength is getting better and his endurance is also improving. Awesome.
Day 21....porkchop is running! I have tears in my eyes as I watch my baby run through the yard, making an odd barking noise, I take a video and send it to everyone who has been texting me to check and see if he's doing any better. Looks like we are finally on the right track....
Skipping to day 45....porkchop is a hog for real. His weight exploded as he's been eating so much....it's cute how he begs for food while we eat. He used to be able to fit under the dining room chairs, but now he's way to big to do that. He loves playing with our chihuahuas though, they run and chase after eachother....the dogs don't like it when porkchop tries to eat their food though, but otherwise, porkchop isn't much different than them. He's not the friendliest animal we've ever had, but if he wants a belly rub, he will literally fall down beside you so he's in a better spot for you to be able to accommodate him. Needless to say, what was cute at 20lbs was no longer cute at his size now. He was able to bully us into giving him food, he would bite if you didn't comply with what he wanted. He would turn chairs over and move furniture routinely. We started calling this poltergeisting....(definition of poltergeisting: when your furniture moves around "on its' own" when it is close to meal time for pigs.)
Moving on to about the 3rd month, his urine is really stinky. My vet suggested that I have him neutered and that will help not only with the awful smelling urine, but also with the humping. This pig will mount anything he can jump up on. The kids, chairs, my bedspread that fell on the floor, his favorite was a stuffed animal dolphin. Guess he's not that selective. LOL. Because I am in the medical field, I know how hormones work. I know diferent hormones are secreted and perform different functions in the body...so I know having him neutered will help with that. I will say, this pig is nothing like the cute baby we first got, he is nothing like a dog, he LOVES to eat and that's about it. He's not very loving, but he loves to be outside.....the makeshift pen we originally made him is useless now, he just lifts up the cheap fencing we put down and wanders around the back yard. (We have a moderately good sized yard, a couple of acres, only a small part has been cleared and we lived on a fairly busy road, directly behind us is the interstate, and a major one at that, interstate 64) so he enjoys feasting on his finds in the backyard, mostly acorns and crab apples that have fallen from the tree....and mounting anything that doesn't move out of his way. But overall, we love him very much and will make whatever changes are necessary to make it work. His neuter appointment is approaching fast, but he needs some vaccinations and a routine check up beforehand, so he has an appointment to be checked out later this week.
A couple of days later.....we arrive at the vet. Porkchop is now too big to ride shotgun and is limited to the back seat of my BMW. Naturally he poops everywhere and the seats are heated and cooled, so now there is the overwhelming poop smell whenever I open the doors. Ugh gross. The vet is preparing for porkchops neuter next week and gives him a tetnus shot, rabies (although used off label) and a couple of other shots to prevent common illnesses in pigs. My vet is a doctor of animal medicine, so I trust him, he knows what he's doing. The following morning the blood work came back and porkchop has a problem with his liver. Worse news ever. Neuter is on hold until we can figure out what is wrong with him. He's eating good, gained about 60lbs over the last couple of months, has the cutest fattest cheeks you've ever seen. Walking fine, everything else looks good. Only now his urine not only stinks, but it's also kind of a brown color. The vet is coming to my house tomorrow, so he will check him out then.
The next day, the vet comes back to my house to draw some additional blood work. Porkchop isn't what you would call a pig that's interested in what you want to do, porkchop is more like the king of the house. So the vet didn't really have a lot of luck holding him down and trying to draw blood. Porkchop was a bit of a biter too. He hated water, wouldn't let you near his mouth or eyes. So he always looked dirty, but again, we loved this pig so much, we didn't care. While the vet was there, he watched Porkchop is his own surroundings and watched him go through the XXXL dog door we had installed for him and right out to the oak trees....them the vet called his consultant friend and came back to me and said, he can't eat acorns. Acorns will make him fat and sick. When eaten in limitless amounts like he's doing, they can be bad on the liver. so, elevated liver enzymes combined with the brown colored urine is all a result of him eating acorns? Really??
Fast forward to the weekend....I had a fence building party with my friends. I bought all the supplies and had some of my friends come over and help me build a fence...a fenced in area that didn't include the area where the acorns were. They were about ankle deep at this point, one big giant acorn tree was to the left of the property, so we were going to try our best at sectioning off a part of the yard that still gave him room to play and run, while keeping him out of the acorns.
By the next weekend, we had it done. Took much longer than we thought and it costed a lot more money than I had anticipated too. Another two weeks go by and his urine is now clear again, still stinks but clear. The vet feels like it is safe to neuter now and draws one more set of blood work. Liver tests come back ok, the liver enzymes have decreased and are back within a normal range. Woohoo! We are around 5 months now and Porkchop is finally being neutered.
On the day of his neuter, the vet tech wasn't available, so my vet asked me if I wanted to scrub in. SUPER EXCITING!! I had scrubbed in many surgeries and was very familiar with sterility and how general surgeries went. I really didn't assist in much, they had a wooden box they made for pigs that they used for neuters that put them in an anatomically correct position for the neuter. Porkchop was fat and didn't fit in it like others would, so I held his head (which got very heavy near that end) and handed instruments to the surgeon....By this point, we had built a litterbox that was as long as him, in the front we had a section for his food and water because I've noticed that he pees when he's drinking. At one point, it was funny....it's not funny anymore. The carpet in his room has to be ripped up and replaced with tile. It was our laundry room, but a good sized room, actually bigger than my daughters bedroom to be honest.
Porkchop was the talk of the town. We are the ONLY ones who have a pig around my area. He's still not very friendly and will bite you if you try to remove the crust from his eyes, he's had a couple of baths, but as soon as I try to clean his face, he bites and his teeth are sharp and it hurts. I'm slightly scared of him and I think he knows it.
6 months after getting Porkchop....the mounting of objects has stopped. He still pees whenever he wants, but he is only allowed in the main house when we are home or can watch him. He's a destructive guy, he's eaten part of the wall in his room, he's broken the baby gate that separates his room from the kitchen. He's learned that cabinets contain food, so now all the cabinets have childproof locks. I remodeled my kitchen (and by remodel, I mean that I gutted it down to the 2x4's and completely redid it, new everything, cabinets, appliances, even new Sheetrock.) Now my brand new stainless steel refrigerator that I haven't even finished paying for has holes drilled in it because this A-hole pig keeps breaking into it and eating everything in site. We mainly laugh at it and try our best to control it.
6 months and a couple of days....our house was broken into not long before we got Porkchop, so I had an alarm installed. We were close to the city, but considered agriculturally zoned, why someone would want to break into my house was beyond me, but I wanted to make sure we were safe. One day while I was working, the alarm people called and the house alarm was going off. Here we go again, my main thought was praying Porkchop was ok. The kids were at school and I didn't have anything anyone would want, but my house was accessible while hidden from the main road, so it was an easy target. My job requires I travel a lot locally, so I was there before the police. Thank God I had an alarm and the house alarm started blasting and I could only imagine that poor Porkchop was scared to death or worse, gone. I am one of those people who believe in the right to carry a firearm and having a concealed weapons permit allows me to carry a gun in my vehicle, so I grabbed my gun and proceeded to go inside the house. I called the police back and let them know I went ahead inside even though they told me not to, but honestly, I was more concerned with my pig and his well-being than anything else. What if they hurt him, what if someone broke in to steal him (they would've brought him back I'm sure) but a million things were racing through my head. Embarrassingly enough, Porkchop was the one who set off the alarm and the police were in route. When I walked in, all I saw was a mess. Even more embarrassing was letting the police come in to verify that yes, there really was a pig there that triggered the alarm and see the HUGE mess he made. When they called dispatch to clear the call, they stated there was a pig in the house, the dispatch chuckled and said we know you're there and they proceeded to laugh and explain they meant a "real pig".... now everyone wanted a picture with big ole Porkchop and luckily, he was full from everything he had eaten and just laid there and allowed them all to touch all over him and take pictures laying beside him. Good times. We cleaned until almost midnight that night, that dang pig had literally pulled everything out of the cabinets, breaking one in the process, tore all the labels from all the cans, so I had no idea what was in any of the cans...we later used that as a game of what are we having with dinner tonight? Could be peaches, could be peas....
8 months...we've settled in with Porkchop and he really is the boss of us all. He loves one of our chihuahuas and they sleep beside eachother every night. They tolerate eachother well, (although it is extremely dangerous to put dogs and pigs together and I don't recommend anyone try their luck at that) Porkchop is well over 100lbs at this point and still growing. But all in all, were doing good. The vet has become number one on my speed dial. If Porkchop has a runny nose, I called the vet, if Porkchop wasn't acting right, I called the vet. He's visited my house so much, that now he knows where the hidden key is, the alarm password and doesn't even mandate that I be home for him to come see Porkchop. He is very familiar with him and doesn't usually need to actually lay eyes on him now. I will share a couple of things I called the urgently on and now I feel foolish, but all in all, it made me the person I am today. Once I called them because he had holes in his legs....both front legs. I couldn't believe it, he must have some parasite or gotten into something and now has a flesh eating bacteria. The vet looked it over and agreed he had multiple abscesses and gave me an antibiotic spray and suggested that I clean them daily and keep the ointment and spray on the actual wounds until they've healed. (This was one of the other vets in the practice, not my usual vet who was away on vacation) needless to say, when he returned and saw I had been in the clinic and saw that my pig was diagnosed with some mysterious flesh eating infection, he made a call to his pig vet friend and found the holes in both front legs are simply scent glands and they're not abscesses and no treatment is needed at all...matter of fact, he suggested that I leave them alone period. Another time I called them. Porkchop was squealing and seemed to be in excruciating pain, he wasn't able to walk without falling down and I just knew there was a serious problem, my vet came out and said I don't think we're equipped to deal with this, you may need to take him to a specialist. The specialist was about 5 hours away, in another state. So again, he called his friend who was a pig vet and she suggested that it may be dippity pig syndrome...what?!? Now my pig has have rare genetic disorder, I've already spent an enormous amount of money on vet bills, I don't know what I'm going to do now. So he and I look up that disorder and are relieved to know it's short lived, not life threatening and Porkchop will make a full recovery. And again, she was right....he did experience this several more times throughout his short little life, but now, I felt like the dippity pig expert. By this point in me and my vets relationship, I had done extensive research about pigs and was no longer leaning on them for every little thing, he knew if I called, there was truly an emergency. He actually started having other people that were interested in getting a pet pig call me first so they would know what to expect. I was no expert, and although I hadn't been a pig mama for long, I had a lot to offer.
9 months....this pig is huge! 125lbs now and only 9 months old. Wow. And he wasn't supposed to be any bigger than a beagle. Hahaha. Biggest joke ever. Anyways, moving along, Porkchop was having some difficulty urinating. Again, because I am in the medical field, I notice subtle things. I have noticed that he hasn't peed in the last 8 hours....gave him more water, perhaps he's dehydrated....no pee. I call my vet, he is alittle concerned about a possible bladder rupture, porkchops belly is rigid and not soft and squishy like it usually is. Now, to add insult to injury, he is hunching over and trying to poop and nothing. Nothing is coming out, he acts fine though, doesn't seem like there's an obstruction, he doesn't seem to be in pain and the vet is already on his way. Well, he was on his way and had another emergency that trumped mine, so since Porkchop wasn't in a life threatening situation, he will come by later. I watch this poor pig try and try to poop and pee and nothing ever comes out. I put on some gloves and use Vaseline to make sure he's not impacted, I get a few balls of poop out, but clearly his bowels aren't functioning correctly, it's just not coming out for whatever reason. The vet arrives and I can see he is really concerned. He walks back to his truck and calls his friend and tells me, well, we are definitely not equipped to deal with this. We don't have the surgical equipment needed, we don't have the right anesthesia or monitoring equipment for Porkchop. I can send you to a specialist or I can euthanize him. He explained that some people didn't want to waste their money on their pigs, some people just didn't have it to spend and some people felt like that was the most humane thing to do....I explained that he knew me better than to ever suggest euthanizing Porkchop and that I would get a second mortgage on my house before I would let anything happen to my baby. This was around 1pm that day. He gave me the address and name of a clinic one state over in North Carolina. They were potbelly pig specialists and would be able to help him. That's all I wanted, for him to have a place to go to get better or have surgery, whatever was necessary to make him better. Porkchop hadn't been in the car very much since he was a baby, and the times he was put in the car, he was given shots or had blood drawn or lost his manhood, so, my little BMW was not a place he wanted to be. An hour later after chasing him around the yard, I finally muster up all the strength I have left, wipe my tears and stop at my mamas house to grab her GPS and we are in the way to the specialist. They close at 5 and its a 5 hour trip. I call my work and tell them I've had an emergency and won't be in the next day or and would be taking off the rest of that day. Everyone knows how much I love this pig and I tell them the truth, Porkchop is sick and I'm having to take him to a pig specialist in NC.
Well I can hardly drive because I'm so scared and upset. I don't know what's going on, I don't know how I am going to pay for it, I don't even know how much money is available on my credit cards, I am overwhelmed, I'm super emotional, I call my mom to get the kids off the bus and make sure they were ok and I would keep them updated. Fast forward to 8pm, calls back and forth to the vets office we were headed to, the stupid GPS was apparently set to avoid highways, therefore it took almost 7 hours to get there on all back roads, everyone is calling asking how he's doing, he's still slumped over trying to poop in my backseat, I am still crying and with each turn this stupid GPS is making me do, I can see him getting sicker, causing me to panic even more and by the time we get there, I am an emotional wreck. I have mascara running down my cheeks and I am just a mess. Luckily he has his harness on, but it's going to be a challenge getting him inside the office. They have some men there who are willing to brave the A-hole pig I have and risk being bit and get him out of the car. He willingly walks into the office, much to my surprise. The vet will keep him, they're expecting him to be there for the week. They want 1000.00 up front. On my way to the vet, I called my credit card company and had my limits raised. Thank God I have good credit. They brought him back immediately and started their workup. I was more in the way than I was helpful. I explained what was going on and as much as it broke my heart to leave him there, I had kids I needed to tend to. I paid them, gave my tearful goodbye to Porkchop and made her promise me she would do whatever was necessary to make him well. 5 days later I get the call, let me add, I spoke to the vet at least 4x a day and the vet techs multiple times to check on him, it wasn't feasible for me to stay in a hotel 5 hours away, I have to work and I have kids who need their mama....but, we get the call that Porkchop is ready to go home!!! BEST NEWS EVER! I take off of work, borrow my brother’s SUV, keep the kids home from school and we make the drive back to pick him up. Longest drive ever. Haha.
We were excited, it was 3 days before Halloween and the radio was playing the monster mash and thriller back to back...I still have a hard time when I hear those songs even though this all happened many years ago, but at the time, we were singing and dancing and super excited to see him. It's been 9 months since we've had a hoof free house and we missed the messes, missed the loud squealing to let us know it was time to eat, we even missed the head swipes when he was a jerk. Most of all, I missed laying on the floor and having 125lbs of pig slide down to lay right beside me making sure something of his was always touching me. He was a jerk, but he was our jerk. We pull up to the vets office, I eagerly run in and expect to see him waiting for us, but he's not. They point me in he direction of the stalls that are outside, now I'm more pissed than anything else. It's October, it's cold outside and you've kept my pig outside? Seriously!? I was irritated when the vet was explaining things to me and focused in on the fact that my indoor pig was kept outside for 5 nights...but I heard the magic words, he's all better and he's peeing and pooping. I don't know how they knew that because the stall was nothing but a giant litterbox, full of wood shavings and straw, but they were the experts. He was so happy to see us, grunted with excitement and more vocal than I've ever heard him be. He was running around the horse stall and running up to me letting me pet him and running away and running back. He was acting like a little piglet again. I expressed some concern over his belly still feeling rigid and not soft and squishy like it usually was, but she assured me that he was fine.
So, we started on the looooong trip home. We stop about half way to use the bathroom, he stood the entire trip, wouldn't lay down or even sit. By the time we pulled up in our driveway. He was vomiting, poor thing must be carsick, but luckily we are home and he's here with us....I am so tired and emotionally drained and it's obvious that he is exhausted as well, we laid right on the floor in his room and fell asleep. I woke up 2 hours later and Porkchop woke up soon afterwards and my baby was literally struggling to breathe. I don't know what happened, but he can't catch his breath. I called my vet and he rushed over. I called my mom and asked her to come get the kids because they didn't need to see this. I knew we were in big trouble. They're crying, I'm crying, I'm panicked, Porkchop was getting worse by the minute. He is struggling for every single breath.
My vet arrives and it's not good. Porkchop is in full blown heart failure. He grew so big so quick, his little heart wasn't able to keep up with the demands and his belly was full of fluid. My vet called the pig specialist and cussed her out, I heard the entire conversation although he was a true professional and stepped outside to speak to her. I heard him say, you had no business sending this pig home in this condition, now this pig can't be saved. So, 3800.00 later and a borrowed car, several days off work, kids missing school, all the worrying and heartache came to a close when I heard that statement. He couldn't survive the trip back to NC to the specialist, and I wouldn't have EVER took him back there anyways, but he couldn't even survive the 30 minute drive to my vets office for an emergency paracenthesis. Porkchop was suffering, drowning in the fluid that has been accumulating in his belly and there was literally nothing that could be done to save his life at that point. I've never been more heartbroken over anything in my entire life. I've lost family members that didn't hit me as hard as losing that pig. Porkchop was my world and now I had to say goodbye to my best friend. That was literally the hardest thing I have ever had to do up until now. This pig was a part of our family, a sibling to the kids and one of my children. I had to know why!?
We did a necropsy there on the floor in my laundry room because I had to know what happened. His belly was so full of fluid that I am surprised he didn't just pop. He hadn't gone to the bathroom, all the fluids he had for a few days had collected there, eventually the fluids reached his lungs and caused flash pulmonary edema and there was no recovering from that, only to stop the suffering. The pressure on the lungs ability to expand was compromised due to the fluid accumulation. That was enough to cause breathing difficulties, but with the fluid filling up in his lungs, he couldn't breathe. Part of the untimely death was a result of a congenital heart defect, but part of this was my fault too, had I educated myself to begin with, I would've known the proper diet and known acorns were bad, I would've know about scent glands and dippity pig syndrome, I would've known about mites and appropriate treatments. I would've had a vet that was equipped to deal with an emergency close to home with operating capabilities, I would have had a vet that was familiar with pigs and didn't need to constantly call his friend to consult. And I would've known better than to let someone ignore my gut instinct that something was wrong. I am a much wiser person because of this experience, I've rescued since then and fostered and socialized pig until they found permanent homes, but it was a long time before we were ready to open our hearts to another pet pig. We now have Buttercup, she is our world much like Porkchop was....I write all of this to share an experience, share what I learned from it....please do your research, please make sure you have a vet that knows pigs, please have an emergency plan....prepare for the worse and hope you never have to access those plans, but make sure you're prepared. There weren't FB groups then, there weren't any vets that would advise me online how to treat something, there were no group files, there wasn't even anyone else I knew who had a pig, so we literally learned as we went. My vet was great, although not a pig vet, they were willing to learn with me and put up with my constant calls and questions and because of my situation and Porkchop, they too, learned a great deal about pigs and how to care for them.
Since then, I've been fortunate enough to have met some great people in the pig world, I've met some less than stellar people too, but overall, my experience has been a positive one. I am a proud pig mama and eager to learn every chance I get. I look for opportunities to learn and I also look for opportunities to educate. I don't ever want anyone to feel as alone and helpless as I did during that time....nowadays, there is an audience for pretty much anything you want to say and that's awesome, I wish these kinds of pages and groups would've been around back then that are available now on Facebook and other forums, maybe things would've been different, maybe not. I'll never know. But I do know Porkchop is waiting for me with some of the other pigs that were taken too soon and I'll see him again, in the meantime, I will move forward and try to educate as many as I can and I will continue to research and learn. There are so many smart people out there and I am grateful for each and every person who has encouraged me or supported my stance or views on things and those who didn't, I admire them too, they made me think outside the box and see things from different angles, all in all, this made me the person I am today and a true pig advocate.
This situation encouraged me to learn more about pigs, caused me to research EVERYTHING and although my experience as a human nurse has absolutely helped me in pig world, it does not make me an expert or a veterinarian or even part of the animal science field. What it does do is make me way more proactive at telling people what happened to me and ultimately my pig because of MY ignorance. It has made me a better person, a much better piggy mama and also the reason this website was created. (With the help of friends, of course)
I told my story because I think it's important, I don't want sympathy, I also don't want rude comments, I know the mistakes I made, I'm sharing because there may be someone else out there experiencing exactly the same scenario and maybe this would be helpful to them, maybe not, but sharing stories and experiences is how we all learn. Nobody can tell me anything that I haven't already told myself, no one can make me feel worse than I felt that day. I will rehash the events and try to figure out if I had done this or done that, would his life had been spared- until the day I die. Porkchop took his last breath on 10/28/08. It was the end of his life and the beginning of my mission to learn, research, educate and advocate for pigs. This is one of the situations that I refer to as "life-altering" and one that taught me a huge life lesson, one of those experiences that will remain with you until the end of time. Rest assured that I am not the only person to ever get a pig that made mistakes, and I won't be the last either. They say experience is the best teacher, I hate what happened, but openly chose to make it publicly known what had happened so others could learn from my mistakes. Our dog, Tico passed away shortly after he did, I presume from a broken heart (they really were the very best of friends, I know dogs and pigs aren't ideal or even recommended, but again, this was before I knew all of that)....Rest in paradise sweet boys.
Written by Brittany Sawyer
Press Release from Ranger's Refuge at Gallastar regarding the pig killed by SPCA staff and her boyfriend
A recent news story was brought to our attention and naturally outraged many in the pig community. A pig was found wandering in a neighborhood and a group helped the local animal control catch this pig. The unnamed pig (he has since been named Profit by those who care in the pig community) was taken to the local SPCA in Albemarle County Virginia where he was stolen, tortured and killed by one of their staff members and her boyfriend. There are no excuses that can take that back. There is nothing that can be said to bring that unfortunate pig back to life, but what this can do is remind us how unsafe pigs are at shelters. We don't have to agree with the reasons people are looking to rehome their pig. More times than not, we are not happy with the "reason" because had appropriate screening been done or research, there may be one less homeless pig. So, with that being said, these two thieves stole a PET PIG and killed him for a holiday BBQ. The lack of respect for life stands alone, but the lack of respect for someone else'e pet? It is ok to receive an animal and take it home and kill it? What kind of sociopaths are working at these animal shelters? How often does this actually happen? These people got caught. They're not remorseful, they're upset that they were caught and she was fired. How many pigs have suffered this same fate and it didn't make the news? Probably more than any of us want to know about. Lorelei Pulliam wrote a press release about the situation and we have added our commentary as well as a picture to demonstrate how unsafe pigs are at shelters. If someone is looking for a home for their pig, please don't shame them. Don't comment or share their post. Obviously taking pigs to shelters isn't safe, so help find appropriate homes for these precious pigs. Rescues are full, private homes have already taken on more pigs, NOBODY has room! Keep your promises to your pig like you keep your promise to your children. These pigs are our children, so when you act like you don't care about them and their life is meaningless to you, expect outrage from the rest of us. Trust me, that is exactly what you will get.
The original news story http://www.newsplex.com/content/news/two-people-arrested-for-allegedly-killing-pig, and here is a follow up story with the accused responses to the charges. (Yeah, reading their logic may may you sick to your stomach) How do morally bankrupt individuals justify their actions? ~http://www.newsplex.com/content/news/People-accused-of-stealing-pig-speak-out-
"Aymarie Sutter and Lee Oakes, Jr. are charged with theft, animal cruelty and killing livestock, but they claim they didn't do anything wrong." (quote from their response story)
Although heavily edited, a pig rescue in Virginia did have an opportunity to speak to the news about this situation. http://www.newsplex.com/content/news/local-sanctuary-speaks-out-about-the-torture-and-killing-of-a-pig-at-CASPCA.
Be the voice for these animals that cannot speak for themselves! This is NOT ok.
Members of the Virginia Alliance of Mini Pig Rescuers in the Charlottesville Albemarle area remain committed to assisting localities in the growing problem of miniature pigs. For the past 15 years, these local rescues have been able to assist with the rescue and placement of pet pigs that were stray or unwanted by their owners. Hundreds of pigs have been rescued, spayed/neutered, vaccinated, microchipped and carefully placed in appropriate homes after careful screening and a guarantee that they could be returned to the rescuer if the new owner was not able to care for them. One of our members has been asked to present to different groups on the capture and transport of miniature pigs. We have responded to calls from animal control to assist in seizures involving miniature pigs in King George, Prince William, and Halifax Counties. We have also taken pigs out of many animal control shelters throughout the Commonwealth on every occasion requested. Interestingly, none of us have ever been contacted by the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA or Albemarle County Animal Control. Nelson County Animal Control did for the first time asked for help with several pig situations this past month but has yet to follow up on any of the cases discussed.
Although it was once possible for the local rescues to keep up with the influx of miniature pigs needing help, the need has now far exceeded the resources available. Sanctuaries throughout the US and Virginia are full. Pigs turned loose are going feral and breeding at alarming rates and disastrous consequences. A quick Google search will reveal the extent of the problem right here in Virginia. Pigs being dumped by owners is one of the leading causes.
The sales of “teacup” pigs and other misleading marketing techniques have created a huge number of pigs in need of homes. It is rare to go to the local Craigslist and not find mini pigs being sold for large sums as piglets or given away as adults. As rescuers we know that there is no market for adult mini pigs. They simply do not make the good pets they are advertised to be. Although these animals can make wonderful companions for a few folks, they are NOT good pets for the majority of people. They are farm animals that require lots of outdoor time and as herd animals, need the company of other pigs to be happy.
Advertised as “house pets” and described as sweet tempered, intelligent and not exceeding 20 to 50 pounds, they sound ideal to those who have not actually gone to a sanctuary and met these grown pigs that average over 100 lbs when mature at age five. These animals breed at 52 days for males and 3 months for females. They easily have two litters a year and make easy bucks for those with even a little spare space to keep them. The truth is that many do not stay sweet tempered in confined areas. They need lots of area to be happy. If confined in a house, they can literally destroy it. Pigs need to root and stay active. If not provided with that opportunity, they will uproot carpet, eat drywall, tear up floors and destroy furniture. Their rooting behavior also destroys the family lawn.
Because of inherent difficulties in restraining and treating mini pigs, few vets will even see them. Many pet pigs die or suffer from very treatable problems. The cost of the absolutely necessary spaying and neutering is very expensive and there are no spay/neuter clinics for pigs! Many pigs develop severe behavioral issues because they are forced to live in unnatural environments and can become very aggressive. Many owners are not aware that dogs and pigs do not mix well and tragedy ensues.
It is no wonder that so many pigs end up needing homes. Small animal rescues typically won’t take them because they consider them livestock and farm animal sanctuaries won’t take them because they consider them pets and not food animals. Many are just passed along from one bad situation to another. It is not unusual for sanctuaries to get pigs that have been through five or more homes. Some of these unwanted pigs are referred to the local rescues who are now forced to reserve a precious few spaces for life and death cases. We help network these would be owner surrender pigs but many people simply give them away. These poor creatures are often used for dog baiting, target practice, or taken to livestock auctions for slaughter as pet food. Some are left to live a life of lonely neglect forgotten in a tiny pen. Many are blind and deaf from being overweight and cannot walk due to overgrown hooves because no one can be found to trim them. Some have tusks grown into their faces. It is a horrible fate for a very sensitive and social creature whose intelligence is now known to be close to dolphins and the great apes. The reality is that they are far more intelligent than dogs, cats or horses.
It is a tragedy that so many pet pigs are simply discarded into the woods where they are often shot on sight or killed by predators. Some wander hungry, thirsty and frightened into a yard looking for help. This was the case of the pig found off of Profit road that has been the subject of so much attention. Sadly, there had been rescuers looking for him and in contact with us the night before. Dina Brigish alerted the authorities in Albemarle County that she stood ready to take in any pigs needing help. Yet, no attempt to reach rescuers was made for this pig.
It is absolutely certain that the pig killed in the CASPCA was a miniature pig that had been raised as a pet. A mini pig who is not well socialized would have been impossible to catch and corral in a neighborhood. The people charged with killing him would never have been able to do any of the things described in their own interview. He was not a farm or feral pig and his trust in humans was most certainly betrayed.
As we have previously stated in an unanswered letter to the CASPCA, we very much want to meet and work with everyone involved to create a safety net for the growing number of homeless pigs in our area. We have worked with sanctuaries around the country and are familiar with what has proven to work in these situations. There are several proposals we would like to discuss at the earliest possible convenience of the parties involved. All of us are very concerned about what will happen to the next pig that needs help in our area. We also wonder what has happened to all of those who must have come through in previous years.
It is with great pride that we live in an area where so many people care about and support animals. We are very proud that our community has a such a fabulous No Kill facility. The CASPCA is an organization and facility that we have always supported. Let us turn this tragic event into an opportunity to improve on a situation that needed to be brought to the forefront. We have to work together to do better for the homeless pigs in our community and assure that all animals receive the protection that they deserve. If the localities are going to allow pigs to be kept in our community as companion animals, it seems a moral obligation to provide the services and compassion that other companion animals are provided. It is our strong belief that if the animal loving community is aware of the situation, they too will support this effort to create a safe place for these animals to stay until reunited with owners or new homes found.
~Lorelei Pulliam, Ranger's Refuge Pig Rescue, Va.
Seriously, that is all I ever talk about.
When you get a friend request on Facebook?
Pig poop discussions are HAPPY occasions!
You are probably the landlord for the local pig wallow (with ZERO chance of filling it in anytime soon)
You incorporate pigs in everyday conversations that have NOTHING to do with pigs, at work, grocery stores, PTA meetings, etc.
If this isn't already on your car, you're waiting for it to arrive.
This is a real conversation you have with someone via text.
You have at least one pig themed item in your house. (But the odds are, you have way more than one.)
When your friends celebrate "Snout Sunday" too.
You realize that you are likely late with a meal when your dining room has been "poltergeised". (That is what we call the mysterious movement of chairs at my house)
Muddy hoof prints are normal.
You buy throw rugs a "few" at a time because they all end up looking like this.
You have that one special place you go for answers.... (lol)
This is your idea of a dream vacation....more pig stuff that you want to see!
You totally want to take a ride on this....
You have the natural ability to see a pig in just about everything. (You're not crazy, this does look like a pig!!)
You take off work because your pig is sick.
Your phone has more pictures of pigs than anything else. Yeah, they're not even your pigs....
You do have the pajamas, socks, shirts, flip flops, underwear, shorts and bedsheets that all feature a pig on them.
Yes, your pig does have birthday parties..and yes other pigs are invited and do attend the festivities!
But guess what?!? YOU are definitely NOT alone! There are plenty of crazy pig people out there! Be proud to be a responsible pig parent. That is not something that should be mocked, but instead it should be admired.
Chris Harrison has been a member of the pig community for quite some time and had a tragic situation occur last year, and since people are vacationing and looking for pig sitters, I felt it was important to share Milton's story with y'all.
Chris often shared stories of Milton's adventures. Milton was a great pig, and he was cherished by his family and often lovingly referred to as "big pig". As they journeyed down the path of pig parenthood, their family showed the rest of us how much he meant to them on a daily basis. EVERYTHING revolved around Milton. Milton felt the same way about his family as they did for him. There was a special love between them. Friends of Chris's were given the privilege of getting a glimpse of their family, as if you were part of it, because he posted pictures and stories of Milton all the time and we all came to know and love Milton in our pig group too. There wasn't a doubt in anyone's mind that Milton was a lucky pig that had a family that loved him very much. He was "one of the kids".
They were in the process of moving, Milton was about to be a super lucky pig because they were moving close to the beach and he would have a whole ocean as his playground. They found a "friend" (and I use the term friend loosely) to watch him while they completed their big move. This "friend" also had pigs, so she understood the complicated dynamics of introducing a pig to her pigs and it was decided to keep them separate since this would only be for a day, in order to be "pig-distraction free" so they could get everything moved into their new home. ONE DAY!
Unfortunately, this didn't go as planned. I remember it like it was yesterday, Chris posted a tribute to his BFF Milton on Facebook. I thought to myself, WHAT?!? He later explained what happened.
"Thanks to everyone for your prayers and support. My poor baby Milton had stayed overnight with a lady who was going to watch him while we moved. She had other piggies there along with various other animals. She was supposed to have kept Milton separate from the other pigs because of the territory issue. But, she did not. Two of her piggies attacked Milton. He suffered some injuries that were not able to be fixed. I caution everyone to not make the same mistake I did and absolutely know, without a doubt, someone will treat your piggy the way they should be treated before leaving them with others. My mistake has left me sad beyond belief and I am so overcome with guilt that I don't know how to handle it. These animals are the greatest things on earth. Love them and cherish them."
Milton passed away 02/01/2015 from pure ignorance. Whose fault was it? It certainly wasn't Milton's fault. It definitely wasn't Chris's fault. That leaves the 3rd party who accepted the responsibility to care for Milton and keep him safe. Milton paid for her mistake with his life. That wasn't fair. She made a promise to Chris and his family to watch over him and knew not to allow other pigs out around him, but she failed them and he was attacked. His injuries were so severe that there was no hope of recovery. They didn't just lose a pig, they lost a best friend and a family member. Chris decided that Milton's death would NOT be in vain, so he posted the story everywhere so people could, at the very least, learn from this situation. It wouldn't bring Milton back, but sharing it has prompted people to screen pig sitters better and has likely saved other pigs lives. No one will ever treat your pig like you do, it is like putting a newborn baby in the hands of strangers. Make sure you KNOW this person, you KNOW they're fully informed about pigs, they KNOW how introductions work, you KNOW that they have a safe place for your pig, secure and away from any others. This is NOT to say that no one can be trusted with your pig, this is meant to serve as a reminder to do diligence. Ask the questions you need to ask and make sure it is a good fit. But there are some amazing people and boarding facilities out there.
Milton was taken from this earth way too soon. A senseless death that was completely preventable. I know Milton is looking down on Chris and his family and proud that they were finally able to open their hearts and home to another pig, but no pig will EVER take Milton's place. He will always have a special place in their hearts as well as mine. Rest in paradise sweet baby, keep the others who were also taken too soon, company until it's time for all of us to meet again!
Milton lives on through memories and he will never be forgotten. His family has a special place in their home to honor Milton. Everything you "think" you know about pigs can change at the drop of a hat. Do not ever assume your pig will be ok. Never assume someone else knows better. Always ask questions. Know who you are dealing with. If you don't know someone on a personal level, get to know them before leaving your pig at their home. Accidents happen, but this was carelessness in addition to an accident. That shouldn't have happened. As I see people making posts asking if anyone knows of someone else who can watch their pig while they vacation, I think back to this story and will usually comment to please be selective over who watches their pig and remind them that not everyone will be as attentive as you are. We have a very small section with questions you can ask a potential boarding facility or person who may be up for the challenge. Now that you have read this, you will probably think of even more. That list also includes those who reached out to us and informed us that they'd be willing to piggy sit. We do not know the people who offered their information or services, but you can click here to see that page. Thanks to Chris Harrison and his family for sharing their story with us, their never ending love for Milton is still present and even though this was a tough lesson to learn, it was the love for Milton that taught the greatest lesson of all....One I will never forget and that is no matter where your pig is, that pig will forever remain in your heart and soul.
An entry from a pigs diary
I walk up to the house from my mud pit and see my family crying. I don't understand what's wrong, but I go to my 8 year old sister to see if I can comfort her. The tears she was crying hit my back like bullets. I do not know what I did wrong. I didn't know I wasn't allowed to dig. I wasn't aware that the bag of apples on the floor weren't for me. Nobody told me that I can't take dirty clothes and put them in my area, I just love my family so much that I want them around me all the time and that pile of clothes gives me at least their scent when they can't be at my side.
It's impossible for me to build my life when there's so much chaos. The reason I run away is because I do not like to be put in a crate for 12 hours, that section of your fence is perfect for me to move so I can taste the green grass on the other side and those kids who chased me are the reason why I ran so far. I couldn't find my way back home.
The dogs food tastes better than mine, but I can stop eating it if y'all will stop crying! I promise I will be a better pig. I swear that I will stop eating so much so I can lose weight, I know I'm big and fat, and you thought I would stay much smaller, but I do love those treats you're always throwing outside for me. I only try to bite your hand because I want more of them, but I am so so sorry I did that.
I dump my water because the ground is hot and I'm trying to get some out of my bowl, but the bowl burns my neck as I try to drink it out of the bowl.
I apologize for standing up on my back legs and taking the sandwich you had on your plate, I hope I didn't get you in trouble. I would tell them I made that mess, if I could talk. I did run away when dad was yelling about the peanut butter smeared all over the floor because I was frightened. But, I am pretty sure he knew I made that mess.
I only squeal at night now when nobody is there to talk to me, but I do it because I'm scared, I promise I will be quiet if you stop crying.
I heard mom tell you to get my things together, are we going on a trip?! I am so excited! Where are we going? Why did you pack up ALL my things? We will be back soon, right?
Now I am in a strange place, these people aren't very nice, I saw them give you some paper, I think she called it "fifty dollars". I don't know what that is, but I'm laying here in my crate trying to figure it out. Where did my family go? When will they be back? This woman picked me up, you know how much that worries me, so I started squealing and she almost dropped me! Thankfully she put me back in my crate, I feel safe there. I haven't been hungry lately, so I haven't eaten any of the dog food she has put in my bowl (and you know dog food is my favorite) I feel so sad and I really miss my family....I just want to lay here and wait for y'all to come back and get me. There are some other animals here that are trying to get me, I think. He barks so much and puts his face right up to my crate. I really need to go to the bathroom, but no one has let me outside in days. I guess I will have to potty right here in my crate. I hate this.
Finally this woman opened the door again, she grabbed me by my legs and dragged me out of this crate, I bumped my chin on the bar as she was pulling me out. She picked me up and rubbed my nose in my Pee! Gross! Then she smacked my butt. What's wrong? Why did she hit me? What did I do? Where is my family?!? Now she put me in a tiny room with a slippery floor WITH that mean barking thing. He keeps showing me his teeth. I don't see anything in them, so I don't know why he's showing them to me. I tried to talk to him, but I don't think he understands me. Oh no! He grabbed me by my head and now there is something wet on my head dripping on the floor. I see that mean lady now, but I can't hear what she's saying. I see her lips move, but I don't hear anything coming out. My head hurts so bad. I wish my family was here.
That lady picks me up and puts me in a box, it's not a big box, but I don't feel too good, so I think I will just lay here. Maybe I'll say a prayer, maybe God will bring my family back. We used to have so much fun and I miss them so much.
Dear Pig God,
I promise I will be a good pig if you bring my family back to get me. I won't steal any food or rugs or clothes anymore. I won't even dig up holes in the yard. I will not bite anyone, I will eat only my food and I will not squeal when I'm in my crate. I promise you I can be a good boy.
If they don't come back, I think I will die. I still can't hear anything, when I opened my eyes, I was back in my wet crate. I do not like this place and I wish the people who loved me would come get me. But I don't think they're coming. I think I was a bad pig. I wish they would've taught me what I needed to learn and I wish I had been a better pig. I am really really tired, my head hurts so bad, why would my family leave me at this horrible place? I know I will never see them again, but I wish I was worth more than the first person with fifty dollars.
More pigs than you can imagine are thinking this or saying a prayer to the pig God to take their pain away or bring their family back to save them. If your pig could have these thoughts, maybe you should reevaluate your methods. Your pig is only as good as you train your pig to be. Take the time and teach your pig manners, respect and basic training. Otherwise your pig may be laying in a pool of their own blood with no hopes to ever recover. If you can't keep your pig for any reason, do NOT hand your pig over to just anyone, please make sure a new family understands pigs, make sure they're able to care for your pig and if you can't do any of that, and you can't work with your pig to improve things, then don't get a pig to begin with!
We hope to make this an ongoing "journal" as written like a pig would write it. We welcome others to contribute to this, if you have something you feel strongly about, send it to us, if you can't come up with the right words, let us know the topic and we can try our best to do it for you. No one will ever learn anything if no one makes it clear how their actions affect pigs. This is how we thought may be able to get through to people and show them how every decision they make can affect their pig. Feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or message our Facebook page with your suggestion/diary entry. (We may need to edit them slightly, but we will not change the overall message you are trying to get across.)
Written from an unfortunate pigs point of view
Life with a pig can be tough sometimes....have you ever wondered how you can do something easier? I am sure you've heard of simple ways to do complicated things....well, we wanted to tell you how to do some of those things with pigs. Simplify your life....there is no need to reinvent the wheel if someone found a more efficient/effective way to do something.
Hack number 1. Your pig keeps tipping or dumping over the water dish. You're worried that this will result in water deprivation/salt toxicity and want to know what you should do to be sure your pig always has fresh water available.
There are actually a few ways to accomplish this. If this is outside that your pig is doing this, there are several methods you can try. 1. Create a space "in-ground" for your pigs bowl. If the bowl is level with the ground, your pig cannot tip it over. 2. Use a watering system such as a water nipple. These self watering systems are something that you'll have to work with your pig so they can learn how to get the water. This isn't something they'll automatically know how to do. The water nipples can be used directly on the spigot, used with barrels that are filled up or other water holding tank items. 3. Get tip proof bowls, if you already have tip proof bowls and your pig is still tipping or dumping the water, then take a bowl and fill the underside with concrete. This will not only give the bowl weight, but it will also eliminate any buckling it may be doing allowing your pig to dump it out. 4. Use your pigs kiddie pool as their water bowl. If your pig is dumping out anything you put out there, then make sure your pigs pool is cleaned everyday and refilled. This should be adequate for drinking water if your pig dumps their bowl out. Please remember, regardless of what system you use, the container needs to be cleaned throughly every day. Do NOT take a 1/2 full bowl and keep adding water to it. Pigs will turn their nose up to a dirty bowl which can lead to water deprivation issues. Biofilm can be harmful to your pig, this is the slimy film either floating on top of dirty water or even inside of the bowl. Click here to read more about water deprivation and what you should do in case your pig has gone without water for an extended period of time. Click here to read more about biofilm and other summertime concerns.
Hack number 2. How to weigh your pig. Did you know there is a method of estimating your pigs weight by measuring them? This method is typically within 5% of their body weight making it easier to find out how much your pig weighs when they're too heavy to pick up!! Weight is not the way to judge your pigs health, that should be done using body scoring. Remember, pigs come in all different shapes and sizes, so while 100 pounds may be obese for a shorter pig, that may be emaciated for another taller/longer pig. The formula for this is below. Girth x girth x length/400= the estimated weight. This is the farmers almanac method of estimating a pigs weight without a scale.
Hack number 3. Crate training. Crate training is recommended for many reasons, most notably is for transport purposes. If your pig is used to a crate, when it comes time to take your pig somewhere, your pig will be much more willing to hop in and go. Using a crate is much better versus letting your pig just sit in the back seat or the trunk area of an SUV. They can easily fall as you brake or try to get to another area of your vehicle and have a fall. This is also good for times when you need your pig contained in a smaller area, whether that is bedtime because your pig can't be trusted or because your vet is coming by to see your pig. Make it comfortable with soft bedding and keep it open in a quiet area of the house, so the pig can utilize it when needed.
Hack number 4. There are plenty of DIY pig treats you can make using basic ingredients. Some can be used to keep your pig cool in the summer by taking fruit and adding it to water, freezing and using that as a treat or enrichment item. You can use rope in the water and freeze it directly in the ice or you can use a pan with an opening in the middle that can easily be tied up using rope or heavy duty string and hang from a deck rail or from a lower tree branch to provide an activity that will keep your pig busy for hours! But, if you have a pet that needs daily medication, and you don’t want to spend money on store-bought pill pockets, you can make your own by using frozen blackberries or blueberries if you want to give your pet another healthy anti-oxidant-rich alternative. Just run the berry under water to thaw, and push the pill in! Remember, not all berries are good for your pig to eat so be sure that fruit is on the piggy approved list by clicking here.
Hack number 5. Pet doors! Does your pig have free access in and out of your house? Do you worry that your pig may be too hot or too cold outside? Is there a storm coming and you're at work worried about your pig? Have you considered installing a pet door so your pig can have access to inside of the house? Maybe your house isn't ideal for your pig, but you do have some space in your garage, you can install a pet door wherever you'd like. I will warn you, whatever area your pig has access to needs to be piggy proofed prior to giving your pig permission to explore. (Just make sure the pet door you choose is large enough for your pig to get through.)
Which brings us to Hack number 6. Child proof locks and gates. These are a "must have" when you have a pig in the home. Pigs will watch you go into a cabinet and get something out and as soon as you turn your back, your pig will have its head inside that same cabinet and will attempt to grab what he/she can and run back to their area with it. Sometimes its harmless, but more often than not, there is something in this cabinet your pig shouldn't have or ingest. It is so much easier to put child proof (and sometimes actual locks on appliances) locks in areas that have items you do not want your pig to have.
Hack number 7. Buy a sorting board. Every pig home should have a sorting panel. This is an relatively cheap item that can save time, energy and a lot of headaches. Sorting boards are used with uncooperative pigs to guide them to areas you need them to go to or for protection for that group of pigs with an attitude problem. What makes this product nice is that it is light and easy to store. It can go under or behind a couch without being seen yet accessible to you should you need it in a hurry. Even for pigs that are super nice, this can come in handy when it's time to get into the vehicle and your pig doesn't exactly want to get in or go up that ramp, simply place behind them so they feel pressure from something and cannot back down. Overall, a great product that can be used in more than one way. If you aren't sure where to get one, you can click here to order one from this vendor-Hog Slats.
Do you have a lot of old newspapers or old phone books? Do you frequently get junk mail? Hack number 8. Pigs LOVE ripping paper. I don't know what it is about paper that attracts the to it, but every time there is a shred of paper on the floor at my house, my pig is on it. One hoof on the paper and the other side being torn. My pig will chew the paper but spits it out after a few seconds and she always goes back for more. This is can be an "enrichment" activity for your pig when it is storming outside or way too hot for them to be out there for long periods of time and also a great way to get rid of excess papers laying around your home.
Hack number 9. Emergency preparedness. How would a fireman know you had a pig inside the house if you weren't there to tell them? Answer-they wouldn't. We created a document to help alert emergency personnel that there is a pig in the home. People do sell these stickers for doors and/or windows, but I wasn't able to find one with a pig, so we re-created what was already out there. Click here to learn more about being prepared in case of emergencies.
Hack number 10. Baking soda and vinegar remove urine smells. Soak up the urine with a paper towel, spray the stain with a mixture of half vinegar and half baking soda solution, and let it soak in for 10 minutes. Then, absorb the excess moisture with a paper towel, sprinkle the spot with baking soda, and let it dry. Just keep pets away, as baking soda is toxic to pets. Once dry, vacuum it up. Remember, pigs will eliminate where they smell their previous markings, so it’s very important to deodorize as well as clean to prevent repeat accidents. Enzymatic cleaners work much the same, but this is a DIY method.
Hack number 11. Saving your pig with CPR/Heimlich maneuver. DO you know how to give a pig CPR? Did you know they make a small breathing apparatus designed especially for pigs? Click here to learn how to hemlich a pig, as well as proper CPR instructions. This information can literally be life saving!! Click here for first aid tips and items you should have on hand for emergencies.
Hack number 12. You can make your pig a bed with 2 items. A crib mattress and a fitted sheet. Pig bed done! Instead of looking for a traditional pet bed that will support your pigs weight and won't leave him/her practically laying on the ground, buy a cheap crib mattress and a sheet to fit it and your problem is solved. (Or you can test out different dog beds for your pig for 3 years until you find the perfect one)
Hack number 13. The Paw Wash device. Does your pig come in with muddy hooves? This device may work for you. It is intended for dogs as a way to quickly clean their paws off, but this could work for pigs too. (I ordered one, but it hasn't arrived yet) http://www.thepawwash.com. Definitely looks like it would work for pigs and this would be sooooo much easier than trying to wipe them off with baby wipes AFTER your pig comes inside.
Hack number 14. Have a fail safe word or phrase that will turn your pig around to come running back to you. For most of us, the sound of the dinner bowls will do it, while other pigs know the word treat. Whatever you choose as your word(s), keep it consistent so you know that no matter what, your pig will run to you when those words are spoken. The video below is from Rooterville. All it takes is a few words...here piggggggggy pigggggy piggy. Click link below for original video on Rooterville's Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/rooterville/videos/1108823459127884/
Hack number 15. Video your routine and keep it on a thumb drive. Did you know you would get in an auto accident? Did you know that your husband would cut his leg while mowing the grass and need to go to the ER? Did you know your child would have an allergic reaction to peanut butter at school? Odds are, the answer to those questions is no. There is no way to predict sickness or injuries, that is why they're called accidents or natural body responses. in the cases mentioned above. I said all that to say, who knows when you may not be home to feed your pig? You don't know when something may keep you from home for an extended amount of time. How much easier would it be to call your neighbor who has a key to your home and ask them to feed your pig(s) for you in your absence? How will they know what to do? Because you left that information on a thumb drive on top of your refrigerator and your neighbor can pop that into you laptop and watch how you measure and mix things for your pig. How awesome is that? This is also helpful for the significant other who isn't involved on a daily basis with caring for the pets in the home. Cat Drose made a cute video showing "dad" what he needed to do for Mo's feedings.
Hack number 16. The vacuum isn't the enemy! Many pets hate the vacuum, but with a bit of positive training, you can teach your pig that the vacuum only brings good things – like praise and treats. Then, you can use grooming tools like the Dyson Grooming Tool or other vacuum attachments to suck up your pig’s hair before it ever hits the floor. (How awesome would that be?) I haven't tried this attachment yet, but I do have a Dyson, so I may order the attachment to see if the hype lives up to the expectations. If you have one and have tried it, let us know!
Hack number 17. Does your pig get scared when it's storming? Is it the loud sounds or the electric charge in the air? Know how you can check? Use a dryer sheet! Many times, it’s the electric charge in the air and not the actual storm that upsets pets during bad weather. Some pigs just don’t like the noise, but if your pig just hates the electricity in the air, take a dryer sheet and rub it over him to make him feel better. (My pig doesn't like the cracking thunder an lightning) Not only does rubbing your pig down with a fabric softener sheet reduce the electric charge in the air, but it also leaves your pig smelling fresh to death.
Hack number 18. Soften dry feed with warm water. This serves a few purposes actually. 1. It provides more hydration. Pigs aren't usually big drinkers, so extra hydration is always welcome. 2. Some pigs try to eat so quick that they tend to choke on dry feed, wetting the feed and allowing it to soak can help with this because it is already broken down and swelled up, so it will fall apart in their mouths as they chew. 3. As the food swells, it obviously will take up more volume which will do the same in the stomach causing the brain to send a signal to the belly to quit eating because you're full sooner than waiting (and relying) on your pig to drink enough water to create this volume in the belly at a later time using dry pellets.
Hack number 19. Use soft music to calm down an anxious pig. Music means a lot of different things to different people, but one thing music has in common is that softer music tends to calm all people. This is the same for pigs. It has been recommended since the beginning of time (at least since I have had pigs) to use soft music, perhaps classical or even soft rock, to help your pig relax when/if your pig has dippity pig syndrome. (A temporary condition that causes painful lesions to surface on the back. Click here to read more about dippity)
Hack number 20. Lost pig tip. First, you should exhaust all other options to find your pig, such as putting up posters, posting adds online and in the paper, checking animals shelters, and personally searching. However, if you have some idea where your pig was last seen, leave something that smells like you, such as a used article of clothing, with some food and water. Leave a note asking people not to take the items. Leave your phone number on the note so that people can call you if they see your pig staying in that spot. Then, keep checking that location. If your pig is still nearby, he will be drawn to your scent, as well as the food and water. You know pigs will be drawn to food. Sometimes, if your pig isn't far away, shaking a bag of feed or a bowl of pellets is enough for your pig to come running back home. Always keep updated pictures available for "flyers" or posts that can be shared. Make sure you alert neighbors and animal control that your pig is missing as well.
That brings us to Hack number 21. Microchip your pig!! When your pig is microchipped, the odds of your pig being returned safely go up by like 75%. Vets as well as animal control shelters check for the presence of microchips and as long as your information is up to date, they will call you to come pick up your pig BFF. Sometimes animal control will ticket you for an animal at large, but most will be thankful they don't have to care for a pig and will happily allow you to retrieve it.
Hack number 22. Pet credit card for emergencies. The vet care for pigs is usually the "exotic" rate as it is, but what happens when it is emergency hours or a holiday? There is an after hour fee, an emergency fee plus a holiday fee- so before your vet ever steps foot in your home, there is 350.00 in charges. Do you have an extra 350.00 in your purse or wallet? Maybe you do, and that's great, but for the rest of us who do not have a disposable income, we sometimes get a credit card designed for vet care (and this card can be used at pharmacies or dentist/doctor offices as well) JUST IN CASE cards. There is nothing wrong with getting one, its using it that causes debt problems. If you can get by without having to use it, that would obviously be best, but if you need little help with an unexpected expense, it is nice to have a safety cushion. Click here to see if you qualify for care credit.
Hack number 23. Pet insurance! Why not??? There aren't many companies that will cover pet pigs or companion pigs, but there are a couple. Click here to find out which companies do/will cover pigs. if you know of any others, please let us know and we will be sure to add them to the list.
Hack number 24. DIY pet ornaments. Save that hoof print forever by using the DIY kits that can be bought at most Walmart type stores. These are usually available during Christmas, but can be found online for less than 10.00. As your pig grows, you will have that little hoof print to remind you of how that little baby piglet grew into this beautiful beast he/she is now <3 **These are toxic if eaten, so be sure to keep this out of reach of your pig or other pets!!
Hack number 25. Handle your pig. Train your pig. Get a baseline temperature on your pig. Bathe your pig-all of these things when your pig is young so when your pig gets bigger and older, these things are routine to them and not out of the ordinary. Spend some time training your pig because your pig will only know what you teach him/her. A pig is only as good as the training he or she received. A pig with no manners is that way because you failed to teach your pig manners. All of these things are important in their own time, but trust me when I say to empower yourself with these basic tools to make your life much easier with your pig later on.
Hack number 26. Have plenty of pig themed items at all times. If you do not have a pig yet, go ahead and start buying household products with pigs featured on them because you're going to once you get a pig anyways, you may as well start your collection sooner rather than later. Once you make some pig friends, you'll be exchanging cards and small gifts with them, so it is best to have a few pig items ready to go should you need to send a gift. (This is a joke, FYI. But, I had to get the pig door handle in the blog somehow and this was my way) If your mouth drops like mine did when I saw this, you can order yours by clicking here.
Ten Tips for providing a safe July 4th for your porcine household:
1. Make sure your pig gets out and gets plenty of exercise earlier in the day. (Before fireworks typically occur in your area) During this time it is important that you keep your pig hydrated since it is typically hot weather during this holiday. Good hydration and meals during the day can help your piggy sleep better that night when fireworks typically take place. (Do NOT overfeed during hot weather though, the body produces heat as digestion takes place and it is miserable when the belly is full on hot days if your pig stays outside during most days)
2. Keep your pig(s) inside during fireworks, preferably with human companionship. If it’s hot, air conditioning will help.
3. Provide a safe place inside for your pig to retreat. When scared of sounds they can’t orient, and that group of pigs often prefers small-enclosed areas. Most pigs have a favorite spot, but if this spot isn't really ideal because of the noise, take your pigs' favorite bed and blankets to a more soundproof room/area in your home. This is their "safe space".
4. If possible, keep the windows and curtains closed.
5. Make sure all your pigs are wearing ID tags with a properly fitting harness. (Panicked pigs have been known to become Houdini around the 4th of July.) Make sure you know where your pig is at ALL times! And be sure to fix any fencing issues that may allow for your pig to get out. Scared pigs will run, it doesn't necessarily mean they'll run in the house, they're just trying to get away from the loud noises.
This is also the day of the year where the most pets go missing, presumably running away because of fright.
6. Leave your pig something fun to do – like a frozen Kong filled with his favorite treats or a busy ball and fill with treats. Treat puzzles can keep your pig occupied as well. If you won't be home, leave a TV on for them to try and drown out some of the sounds from the events that may be taking place near you.
7. Encourage your pig to play, and play with him/her, but don’t allow them to collapse into your arms at the first bang or whistle. Many pigs want to do just that, as their fear overcomes their play drive. Diversion therapy can be extremely useful in situations like this. The sudden loud noises can be terrifying even for an older pig, so your pig may bark like a dog; this is a sign of fright. Your pig feels safe with you and if your pig runs to you for protection, reassure them that everything is ok and provide support to calm them. In the area where I live, fireworks are illegal, but that doesn't stop the ignorant neighbors and people in the surrounding communities to light some off themselves. The BIG firework display happens miles away, but can still be heard at my house. I try to comfort my pig because I know she's scared and although I know she is in no danger, she doesn't understand that.
8. Sound Therapy: Play music to calm your porcine companion. It is most effective when you first play the music well before the fireworks start; at a time the pig is already peaceful and relaxed. He will begin to associate the music with being calm and content. Then play the music a couple of hours before the fireworks start and continue to play through bedtime. The music doesn’t need to be loud to be effective, as it has been clinically demonstrated to calm the nervous system in animals.
9. If you have pigs that are not exhibiting fear, play with them. This will often distract the fearful pig as he/she is always vying for your attention.
10. Get away from the fireworks. Take your pig to a quiet place, perhaps in the country, and stay with a sympathetic friend or family member.
At the risk of repeating myself I most emphatically recommend, as in tip #5, you make certain your pig is harnessed, tagged, and micro-chipped because some will try to run away from the horror that is taking place around them. Having identification like a tag with your contact information attached to your pigs harness can help your pig get home quickly should he/she run away. If animal control happens to find your scared pig, if there is a micro-chip (that is up to date with your contact info), it will be a lot easier to get your piggy back home.
Our names are Brittany Sawyer and Nicole Cox and we are pig parents, pig advocates and also the authors of the "Dear Pig Whisperer" blog. Follow our blog that will feature topics to help you become the best pig parent you can be...along with some other fun things. We will also feature guest bloggers from time to time who want to share their life experience or knowledge with anyone who is interested in learning.
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