Tabitha's journey begins
Meet our new rescue Tabitha! Her story is heartbreaking, but don't worry, it has a happy ending. Actually, it's not an ending at all - it's a new beginning!
The initial email I received about Tabitha wasn't too unlike all the other emails I receive about pigs needing homes. I get a few of those every week. I sure wish I could rescue them all, but alas...
But this email had a sense of urgency and desperation that I couldn't ignore. It was from a nice woman named Geretia who had watched her neighbors move out of their rental home, leaving their pet potbelly pig behind.
Geretia had assumed that the renters had made arrangements for someone to feed and water Tabitha until they could come back to get her, but to her horror, they NEVER CAME BACK.
And NO ONE WAS FEEDING OR WATERING HER. Geretia discovered this one day when she was inside her home and suddenly saw water shooting up from the ground outside her window. Out of sheer desperation, poor Tabitha had busted through her pen, made her way over to Geretia's home, dug up her water line, and busted it wide open! Can you imagine how desperate she must have been for water? I'm not sure about you, but I would say that was one dehydrated pig!
Here is a glimpse of Tabitha's pen behind the rental property. Why in the world did the people throw old furniture and coolers in there with her? I guess they were OK with Tabitha living in their little trash dump.
It didn't take long for Geretia to realize the severity of the situation. She immediately made contact with the rental property owners to see what they could do, but they had no intention of helping poor Tabitha. They just wanted that "filthy pig" out from behind the house so they could rent it out again. Geretia even called animal control to see if they could find her a better situation. Unfortunately they weren't able to help either. Now desperate for help, Geretia started contacting animal rescues.
Fortunately for Tabitha and Geretia, Jenna and Friends was one of those rescues. We knew we had to get Tabitha out of that situation as fast as possible. Geretia agreed to create a make-shift enclosure to contain Tabitha until we could get there, and she made sure that Tabitha had plenty of food and water. I'm sure that was Tabitha's first encounter with someone who actually cared about her.
The day of the rescue was quite eventful. Our buddy Randy stepped up to help (as usual), and we started making our way to Cameron, NC with a large dog crate loaded in the back of his SUV. We honestly had no idea what to expect.
Here's Randy getting ready to hit the road.
When we arrived in Cameron, Geretia greeted us and pointed the way to Tabitha. With the help of Geretia's relative, we guided Tabitha into the dog crate and loaded her into the back of Randy's car. Poor Tabitha looked so sad and defeated that she didn't even try to stop us. Maybe she knew she was leaving that awful place. And maybe she sensed our kindness. I'd like to think so!
Once Tabitha was all loaded, we started on the hour-long trek back home. Tabitha seemed exhausted and slept most of the way. She had no strength to fight or complain.
After we got her back and unloaded her into a pen, we were able to inspect her skin condition a little more easily. She had two growths that were very concerning - one on her butt area and the other on her back. The growth on her back was particularly bad. It was a golf ball-sized mass covered in flies, decayed skin, blood, and puss. To make it even worse, we found out later that it was full of maggots! It must have been incredibly painful for sweet Tabitha. First to be abandoned by your so-called family, and then to have to deal with this horrific mass growing out of her back.
We called Dr. Shannon Swink from Hoof and Horn, and she immediately fit us into her schedule. She examined the growths on Tabitha and decided she needed to remove them ASAP. Dr. Swink and her assistants sedated sweet Tabitha, removed the growths, and packaged them up to send to the lab for biopsy. We've since gotten the results back, and we are thrilled to say that the growths are benign melanomas. No cancer! Woot! And as of now, the two areas are healing just fine.
So now begins Tabitha's journey of freedom. She will live out her life here at Jenna and Friends surrounded by a loving herd, a comfy bed of straw, healthy food, mud puddles, and fresh water. She won't ever have to be afraid, hungry, thirsty, or lonely EVER AGAIN.
Please continue to pray for sweet Tabitha as she continues to adjust to her new life. We don't know the level of trauma she's dealt with and how it will affect her in the coming months. We will do everything we can to make her feel loved and cared for.
By the way, if you ever meet a kind lady named Geretia from Cameron, NC, please give her a hug from all of us. She never gave up on finding a better situation for Tabitha. She saved her life, and we are forever grateful.
Anna O'Neal, founder and caretaker at Jenna and Friends Animal Sanctuary