Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pigs, a Sanctuary

This past weekend Jesse, our friend Noel and I went to Shepherdstown, West Virginia to visit Pigs, a Sanctuary! A few months ago I was searching for farm sanctuaries to visit. We would like to make the trip to the New York location of Farm Sanctuary in the near future but also thought there might be something more local to us. I found this one and immediately wanted to make the trip.

When you drive up, there is a sign that says, "To the animals: You have nothing to fear and so your story ends. Your troubles are all over and here you have a home." The sanctuary is home to about 400 animals (including pigs, horses, donkeys, cats, dogs and goats). They came to the farm mostly as rescues from unbelievably horrible situations. The staff here not only feed and care for the animals, but work on socializing them with the other animals on the farm and, when appropriate, try to find the dogs and cats forever homes.

It costs the farm about $23,000 PER MONTH to stay open, so if you have it in your heart to donate, you can either make a donation via their webpage or purchase something from their Amazon.com wish list.

This guy is the first pig we saw. How adorable is that face?
These are potbelly pigs. The director told us that after the potbelly pig craze, many people were surrendering their animals once they got to be too large for a house or became agressive with the kids. PEOPLE OF THE WORLD: Pigs are not pets. They belong on big, beautiful farms with lots of land and other pigs.
This is Spanky. He is a Mexican hairless pig, also known as a Yucatan pig. He has cancer and his best friend recently passed away. The director said he showed signs of mourning for her. He was right at the fence and let us pet him. Such a sweetheart.
This is what a full-grown farm pig looks like. They can get up to 1,000 pounds. Very few people ever see full-size farm pigs because they are usually slaughtered young, before their meat gets too tough.
This is Walter. He's a farm pig that was bottle-fed as a baby by sanctuary staff. He is living with potbelly pigs at the moment so he can learn to socialize.
This is Walter's pen-mate, Kevin Bacon.
This guy is Jack. He was my favorite. I love those floppy ears!
This is Zeus. He is a mastiff that came from a rescue case. He has problems with his legs that cause him to sit funny and a big calcification on his head from being beat by a previous owner. However, he came right up to us to say hi. The resilience of these animals is amazing.
The sanctuary also has four separate areas for cats: one for cats that are up for adoption, one for feral cats that roam the fields, a house for cats that test positive for feline AIDS (these cats are usually immediately euthanized but can live happily for many years without being affected by the disease), and a small house for special needs cats. These guys above have CH, which causes them to lose their balance. They are sometimes also known as drunk cats. They are totally healthy other than the fact that they fall down often. And they are really sweet!

This horse was rescued from an Amish farmer. He was found with a severe leg infection and about 700 pounds underweight because he couldn't walk to his feeding area. Now is is living happy and free, roaming around the many, many acres at the sanctuary.

If you want to visit: Email Melissa, the sanctuary director, at melissa@pigs.org to arrange a tour. They last about an hour and the sanctuary asks for a minimum $12 donation in exchange for their time. Tours are available from June-October on the weekends and will be canceled in the event of inclement weather.


Brie said...

Hey Lauren! Great post- I've been wanting to check out the Pig Sanctuary for quite a while, and I think I'll make the trip before summer is over. BTW- Tranquil Space (Dupont) is hosting Gene Baur from Farm Sanctuary for a discussion and book signing on Fri 7/29- you should come!

Lauren said...

My boyfriend and I already have our tickets! We can't wait!