Stella arrived at the sanctuary in the heat of summer when the other pigs were in the best of moods. The sun was shining, the leaves were rustling in the breeze, and the mud puddles were full of water. Love and freedom was in the air.
But the air around Stella was different. She had never been around other pigs, and she was scared. The eyes that gazed at her through the fence were monster eyes. The grunts of curiosity were angry growls. The sun only brightened her fears.
Stella was confused. "Where am I? Who are those monsters, and why do they keep staring at me? Go away! Leave me alone!" She cowered behind trees and hid in her stall when the sun went down.
In the evenings, Stella’s human caretaker Anna came to check on her and scratch her little ears. Anna assured Stella, “Everything will be OK, sweetheart. Those monsters are really just pigs like you. Their eyes are simply looking at you out of curiosity, and their grunts are just their way of saying hello. How can I make you see that?”
Anna continued comforting Stella in the evenings. “Miss Stella, I want you to feel safe here. I want you to be happy.” But she knew that deep down, Stella was lonely and didn’t trust the other pigs.
The weeks passed, and the summer turned into autumn. Stella started feeling a little more comfortable with her surroundings. She loved rooting around in the woods and wading in the stream of water that winded through the forest. The days were cooler, and the colorful leaves were dancing off the trees. She felt the warmth of the sun on her back, and she smiled.
One day, a little girl named Charlotte came to visit. “I brought pumpkins to share with the pigs!” At first, Stella became very excited and ran to get her treat. But then she suddenly stopped and cautiously moved behind a tree. She had no courage to face the other pigs.
Charlotte was a deeply sensitive child and recognized Stella’s struggle. She decided to give Stella her very own pumpkin. As Stella was eating, Charlotte asked, “Stella, why do you shy away from your herd? Why do you insist on being alone?”
Stella replied, “The pigs don’t like me, and they just don’t want me around. They pick on me. They bully me. They hate me.”
Charlotte was sad to hear these words. “No, Stella, they don’t hate you. They just need to get to know you. Then they’ll see how wonderful you are. But you need to take the first step. You need to put forth the effort.”
The days passed, and Stella thought carefully about Charlotte’s words of wisdom. And then it finally clicked. She thought, “I’ve been waiting all this time for the herd to accept me – for them to like me and invite me to their frolicking. But I need to accept them, too. I need to show them that they can trust me and that I can be their friend.”
And then Stella decided to do something that would change her life forever. She opened her heart, gained her strength, and made the first move. "I want to make friends with my herd. I want to be loved and love them back." And that’s exactly what she did – one pig at a time.