Wendy heard a commotion, glanced out the window, and saw something pink darting through her yard being chased by dogs. A cat? A puppy? No! It was a tiny piglet! She coaxed the poor little guy over with some treats and scooped him up to safety.
Phew! What a relief! But now what?
Wendy lived in eastern North Carolina, so it didn’t take long to realize that this piglet was most likely part of the massive commercial hog industry in that area. He had probably fallen off a transport truck or slipped through a fence. What a terrible way to start a life. He must have been absolutely terrified.
That’s when Wendy decided that this brave little soul needed a second chance at life. When she contacted us here at Jenna and Friends, we knew the situation was urgent. I asked Wendy to bring the little piggie here to us immediately.
When I first saw him, I was amazed at how small he was. He was just a tiny baby. I could hold him in one hand!
The first thing he needed was a name. His name shall be Petey! Petey the farm pig!
And that's when this lucky little guy started his new life of freedom. Unlike the millions of pigs who are butchered every year in the United States for bacon, pork, and ham, little Petey is one of the few lucky ones who are saved and allowed to live their lives naturally and happily.
Stories about farm pigs falling off trucks and ending up injured on the side of the road are nothing new. Just ask Sisu Refuge in eastern North Carolina. We also see situations about pigs running loose and confused after their factorm farms are flooded from natural disasters like hurricanes. Even though hog farmers are mainly concerned about the economical impact of these events, those of us who care about the animals and the environment are utterly mortified as we watch videos of drowned pigs floating in lagoons of hog waste spilling out into nearby lakes and streams, dumping bacteria and contamination into our fragile ecosystem.
According to Sentient Media, “Despite the fact that pigs are sensitive, intelligent, and cognitively complex animals, they are abused and slaughtered in horrific ways every day because people “just can’t live without bacon.”
A handful of farm pigs like Petey are rescued every year, but it's barely enough to make a dent in the numbers. But the occasional rescue does happen, and when it does, those of us in the rescue business breathe a sigh of relief that a beautiful soul made it out of that hell on earth.
But it doesn’t end with the rescue. In fact, that’s just the beginning. For Petey, it’s time to share his story and document his journey from tiny, scared piglet to loving 300lb gorgeous animal with a strong zest for life. Petey is indeed our ambassador for all farm pigs who suffer from the factory farming industry. He’s our tool for educating people and revealing the misconception that some animals deserve to live and be happy while others don’t.
There’s nothing more satisfying when a meat eater visits the sanctuary and meets Petey. We hear all the time, “Wow! He’s so sweet! He acts like a dog!” Actually, Petey’s just acting like a happy pig. It's amazing to see that connection. There's nothing more satisfying that knowing that you just planted a seed that could easily turn into a lifelong commitment of not eating bacon or pork. That is our goal!
Today, Petey doesn’t have any worry or stress. He lives with a herd of other pigs who are his friends, he eats two healthy meals a day (with desserts of apples and sweet potatoes), and the woods are his playground. He gets lots of scratches on his big goofy ears, and he flops over for belly rubs at every chance he gets. At night, he snores, dreams, and cuddles in the straw with his buddies. He’s been a joy to watch grow and thrive over the years, something his pig family never experienced. Now we are his family, and it is our honor and privilege to serve and love this beautiful creature.
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Anna O'Neal, founder and caretaker at Jenna and Friends Animal Sanctuary