Help the pigs
Joy and Tammy's story
Tammy and Joy
Joy and Tammy are best friends

Fall 2003

The rescue of Joy and Tammy started a year ago when the call came from the breeder telling me he had a 4 month old piglet giving birth and the baby had been stuck coming out for days! I expected a bad situation, but I was horrified at the living conditions of the pigs. The piglet was not giving birth but had a prolapsed rectum, which was infected and not repairable. The pigs were like wild animals, living on dog food and drinking from feces infected mud puddles. The property was a scrap metal dumping ground. The sheriff had been called many times. The owner did not accept my offer of medical care for all the pigs if he would stop breeding. We had words - he threatened me. I left.

A year later the call came to us because the last two pigs were so wild no one could get them ant they woud be shot as a last resort. The two large wild boars were shot a month ago and the mother pig was attacked by dogs and killed. Now the sheriff is citing this breeder with fines for loose pigs so now he wants our help. It is not uncommon that we get called after everyone has tried to trap pigs and they are so scared and wild no one knows what to do. Pigs cannot be darted or drugged and because they are uniquely intelligent they can be extremely difficult to capture. It took us 6 days, 4 - 6 hours a day devoted to this rescue. We promised these two scared girls we would help them get out of the only life they knew: a life of fear and living in filth.

Hours of daily care for weeks and weeks transform these terrified pigs. They used to be so scared when they heard footsteps on the gravel they would run screaming and bashing their faces into the fence to get away. Now our footsteps reveal happy friends who rush out to greet all, anticipating a treat or a kind word. It is transformations like these that make the difficult and emotionally draining days all just fade away.

Joy with her not so perfect body

Joy and the Horrors of Inbreeding

When I first caught a fleeting glimpse of this terrified piglet I knew something was wrong. The bulge under her tail was not a normal sight. As soon as we had her in our care and she could be whisked to the vet a complete examination revealed what we already knew. Joy was born with no anal opening. She struggled daily attempting a simple bodily function, but her body was deformed as a result of years of inbreeding by the breeder. Without an anal opening, Joy would push the poop until it pouched inside her body and made its way through her vaginal opening. It is amazing she survived without succumbing to massive infections.

If Joy was a happy, tame and people friendly pig recovery from surgery would have been easier. Reconstructive surgery and recovery care on a wild terrified animal is a challenge. For weeks we went to the vet every third day so that under anesthesia she could be examined and assessed. Trying to figure out what medicines, foods, and supplements were best for her body to work normally was also a challenge. Getting medicines into a pig that wants nothing to do with humans was not as difficult as it could have been thanks to Joy's great love of peanut butter sandwiches and our skill in hiding medicine in the tiniest piece. For the longest time we were not sure Joy would survive. Throughout the entire ordeal when she had to be separated from her sister for the first time in their lives, I would see them both sleeping side by side next to the fence that separated them, both abandoning their cozy beds and houses to sleep together. All the comfort they had ever known their entire lives came from each other.