Our resident senior citizen, Willis, came to us from a severe case of isolation and neglect. Having lived the past year in the confines of a tarped shed, he withdrew into himself as a way to cope with his loneliness and lack of care. After trimming his hooves (which resembled genie slippers), sawing back his tusks (which had grown so long they were cutting into his cheeks) and putting him on a diet of vitamin packed pellets, as well as fresh produce, we have begun to watch him blossom. After some intensive therapeutic work with our natural healer, Willis began to express himself once again. He has learned to socialize with the other pigs; bonding to our youngest piglets, Norman and Olivia. The life is slowly returning to Willis' eye's, and with each pound he shed's his energy returns. We cannot wait to see what the future holds, as we provide Willis with the retirement care he deserves!
The youngest of the group at just 10 months old, Olivia is a never ending source of energy, cuddles, and laughs! Having fallen victim to the Micro Mini Pig trend, she had been shuffled around to four different homes in just six months of her life, before finding a responsible guardian who did her research and ultimately decided that due to her housing situation, Olivia would have the best possible life at our sanctuary, among her own. In her time with us Olivia has absolutely blossomed. She has grown incredibly attached to her best friend and now brother, Norman, whom she spends her days with, rooting in the straw, digging in the hay pile and scavenging for any snacks she can get her snout on! Olivia was separated from her mother too early, and therefore has some behavioural issues. However, with the addition of Matilda to the sanctuary, Olivia quickly found herself with a surrogate mother, and the two could not be closer. There is nothing more beautiful than watching Olivia grow into a confident and happy pig, with her family at her side.
By just looking at him, you would never guess that Norman is over a year old. Kept in a basement apartment, Norman was deprived of the outdoors, and most behaviours that came natural to him. Fed a diet of cat food, his body has stunted in growth and his skin and hair quality reflect the damage inflicted to him. Since arriving at the sanctuary, Norman has let go of a lot of anger issues and learned to coexist with the other pigs. On a diet of quality potbelly pig food, in addition to fresh fruit and vegetables, Norman's skin is beginning to heal and his bristles are starting to grow in. While Norman had the most difficult time adjusting to the other pigs, he now finds himself surrounded by love. He has fallen head over heals in love with Olivia, whom he sleeps with each and every night. As well, he has grown to look up to Matilda as a mother figure and often runs to her for comfort and cuddles. When allowed the freedom to be himself, Norman has blossomed and become the sweetest and gentlest boy around, and we are eager to watch him grow and mature in a loving environment.
Peace and balance was brought to the sanctuary, when this beautiful girl joined our family. Being five years old and an unspayed female, Matilda quickly integrated herself as a quiet leader. While she never pushes any of the other pigs around, she clearly owns her space and expects respect as she gives it. Matilda's past is somewhat foggy, however from what we were told she was once a loving and doted on house pet, before being discarded when the children moved away from home. At Matilda's replacement home she was kept on her own, often fed chicken feed and left without drinking water. It was at this home that she was also violently attacked on two separate occasions by a pack of dogs. As a result, both of her ears are scared and missing large pieces of skin. Yet, despite her tragic past, Matilda is a beacon of love and light. She accepts friendship and warmth from anyone around her, and continues to place her trust in both humans and other animals. Matilda has strong maternal instincts and quickly flocked to Norman and Olivia. She has now taken on the role as their surrogate mother and is often found napping nearby their play area, or curling up to them at night. If ever one of the youngsters squeals in fear or annoyance, Matilda is instantly by their side comforting them. Our entire sanctuary has benefited from the peaceful energy Matilda brings, and we are eternally thankful she has found safety with us.
TOMMY & CHARLIE
While these four legged family members are not officially sanctuary residents since they live in Julia's personal home, they are very much a part of the family and cannot go unmentioned!
What Gracie may lack in size, she more than makes up for in heart. Dubbed "Momma G", Gracie accepted the matriarchal role of the family almost immediately. She is quiet and reserved, rarely seeking out attention, but is a secret cuddle monkey. Gracie has overcome many difficulties in her life such as epilepsy and hip dysplasia, but does not allow her physical limitations to overcome her. She loves nothing more than to lounge in her basket, is never one to turn away a snack and is always first at the stairs to go to bed in the evening.
Portia the pug has the purest of hearts. She is the jokester of our dog pack, running in circles around the other pups, howling when someone walks through the door and leaping through the air to give kisses. Portia has also faced difficulties with an injured knee which required surgery, severe asthma as well as going blind in one eye. However in spite of Portia's disabilities, she has never allowed it to dampen her spirit. Portia is simply the happiest girl who doesn't let anything get her down.