When you hear “pet adoption”, usually the first thing that enters your mind is a dog or cat. Probably not a potbellied pig.
Unfortunately, the need is there…and compared to animal rescue organizations for dogs or cats, there aren’t so many groups around to step into the gap for potbellied pigs.
“Once you have a potbellied pig, word travels around and you end up with the overflow from the few shelters around”, said Dianna C.
Dianna C. should know…after acquiring her first pet pig, Olivia, 7 additional rescue pigs joined the family. I learned more about Dianna’s family of potbellied pigs when she requested a custom photo bracelet for her first pig, Olivia.
I’m sure you agree with me that Olivia’s expression here is pure sweetness!
Olivia is a sensitive and emotional girl, as are all potbellied pigs, according to Dianna. Olivia is a cancer survivor too, thanks to Dianna’s proactive therapy with Palladia, a drug more commonly used to treat mass cell tumors in dogs, and shark cartilage supplements.
Olivia is not a rescue pig, but her other siblings have been rescued by Dianna. They include Ozzie, Ellie, Petunia, Norton, Eldon, Isabel and Angus.
“The dynamics keep changing in the group”, said Dianna, “They pick on each other.”
So there’s much more than meets the eye, as this group of potbellied pigs spends their days hanging out together, grazing around the barn or perhaps in their swimming pool.
There’s inter-piggy drama!
“Eldon, the smallest, chases Norton – the largest, until someone steps in to stop him”, Dianna related. Norton weighs in at 200 pounds, complete with tusks. But, he is the gentlest, according to Dianna. And as the “tough guy”, Eldon probably doesn’t want you to know that he has his own “Hello Kitty” blanket…but Dianna shared that with me anyway!
Norton is more of a lover than a fighter. He and Petunia have coupled up as boyfriend and girlfriend. Petunia understands the sting of rejection, too, as she was kicked out of the barn. According to Dianna, of all of her pigs, Petunia is the one who is most dog-like.
The Acute Need for Potbellied Rescue
I was totally unaware of the urgent need for potbellied pig rescue until I spoke with Dianna. She educated me by relating:
“Believe it or not, the need is huge for homes for potbellied pigs. A lot of it stems from breeders who sell the lie of the mythical teacup pig. It just doesn’t exist.
All pigs fit in a teacup when born but they all get big. They call them mini because compared to a 1,000 pound farm pig, they are small. Their average weight is 100 – 150 pounds but they can be larger.
A lot of them are starved to stay little and eventually either have severe health issues or they die. Everyday on Facebook people are trying to rehome or save them from an abusive or neglectful situation.”
Allie and Angus – Rescue Success Stories
Allie, one of Dianna’s potbellies, was allowed to balloon up to 300 pounds at her former home. At that weight, she suffered from obesity blindness and deafness, could not walk and was in danger of loosing her life.
Dianna took over and saw to it that Allie lost over 200 pounds and was spayed. Allie even had an eye tuck so she could see better. Now, Dianna reports, “She is so happy to be able to walk again.”
Angus came from a backyard breeder and was given as a payment to a family that had no interest or experience with potbellied pigs. Consequently, he was kept in a carrier all of the time. By the time he came to Dianna, he had no tail. Once liberated from his carrier, Angus was thrilled to learn that he could run to his heart’s content. Angus became the 130 pound “love bug” of the group, wanting to be held and carried around at times, and sleeping in the nook of Dianna’s arm.
Although there are organizations that try to help, many can only do so much. That’s why at least 3 of Dianna’s pigs have come from the Catskill Animal Sanctuary…and another is a foster (for now!).
A Molly Bracelet for Olivia
Dianna had this Molly Bracelet made with Olivia to remember her and the life they shared.
“She fit in the palm of my hand when I got her and we were together for 21 years and 4 days”, Dianna shared with me.
We hope this helps keep Olivia’s memory alive forever!