Around mid-September we received a call from a group in Pine Island who said they were moving the end of the month and had two pigs that they needed to place. I ask that they send me pictures and give me more information but it seems they could do neither. I did take her number and agree to put it on our Internet lists to see if anyone might be willing to help. I never heard back from them until Oct 1 st and then the gal said they were in the process of moving and if no home was found, they’d have no choice but to just turn them loose. Needless to say this kind of talk doesn’t endear a person to me or any of our board members. I suggested that the call Lee County Animal Services and either turn them over to them or have them humanely put down. The gal got very upset and told me that she would rather turn them loose then see them dead. I tried my best to explain that she wasn’t helping matters by not being willing to take some pictures so we could actually see them. Pictures speak a thousand words when you are trying to place them and I tried to explain that. I also told her that by just “turning them loose” was not ensuring them life but a horrible death at the mouth of any dogs around on the island. Three days pass and then a very sweet gal by the name of Susan, called and said she was willing to help any way she could but needed some guidance.
I told Susan there was a place up in West Central Florida that might be able to take them but we didn’t know anything about them and she should check them out herself. She agreed and called the people and began trying to work on transportation as she had no truck nor carriers. I put Susan in touch with Jenny who we work with locally from time to time and who probably had carriers and might even help with transportation.
On October 7 th I received a call from Jenny saying that she was going to help with this rescue. I told her that I might have a place closer and I could go with her and that way we would see first hand and check out the place. So on the morning of October 9 th , Jenny picked me up at 10 a.m. and off we went to Pine Island. There we were greeted by two very sweet pigs that really needed rescuing.
One black female named Gertrude (Gertie for short) and the white male Hamlet ( Hammie for short) which is 1/2 pot and 1/2 Yorkshire. Has a straight tail, sway back and is only about 21 in at the shoulder and weighs less then 140# and is 4 1/2 yrs old. Rest looks like a Yorkshire and sounds like one. Loved him on sight. Gertrude was a small black female potbellied pig around the same age. Both starved for attention.
They had been living in a 4 X 4 pen with no shelter at all. They think they have died and went to hoggie haven with a pen with grass. The carriers that she took was to small to transport them in, so we had to borrow a large wire crate and we made a make shift a ramp out of old boards we found laying around and got the black one to walk up and into the large cage in the back of Jenny’s van. Hammie got loose but didn’t go far. In fact he sort of acted like he didn’t know where to go and so we soon had him back in his pen. The two ladies from the place and Jenny crammed him into a crate and we scooted it up the ramp and let him back out and into the wire cage. They were great on the trip and was happy to get out.
I wish you could have seen them when they touched grass. What a site to behold and I wanted pictures so bad and wouldn’t you know it. My camera quit working. I did manage to get pictures of them in Pine Island. They investigated ever little nook and cranny. Hammie finally laid down for a nap but Gertie kept exploring for a long time. Then she went over to Hammie and just nuzzled on him and up and down his back until he finally got up and went with her to explore other areas. The gal had fixed two buckets with water and had hung them on the fence for her farm hog to dump on himself and it took Hammie about 2 minutes to figure out how to do it.
The rescue that we rescued them from was not good to say the least but this gal that took them is another story. She really loves her pigs and other animals. She lives on a five acre farm and even has a 14 wk old calf in her front yard that follows her everywhere as does her farm hog who sleeps under her house. The pigs will have plenty of grazing area. Her little five acres backs up to a large farm with lots of cattle free roaming. She has joined our foster home team and I’m sure will be helping with rescues to come. We spent couple hours just sharing stories and getting to know each other. I think it is safe to say we will be going back. So two more piggies will sleep well tonight and a new piggy friend was made, so it was a great day.
Many thanks to all the people who made a difference in the lives of these pigs, either by on hands helping, locating places, funds for fencing and for those who gave lots of encouragement. I love happy endings.
The photo’s above are Gertrude and Hamlet in their new home.