After adopting two year old potbellied pig Ruby, Rachael Pitchford was on the lookout for another rescue pig. As Pitchford told The Dodo, pigs are "very social animals, and do better in pairs or a herd" so she felt Ruby, who she refers to as her "pig daughter", would be happier with a friend.
With this in mind, Pitchford wrote a post in a Facebook group for pig lovers, stating that she was interested in adopting or fostering one. The response she got blew her away. She said:
A woman wrote to me stating she had been ‘overrun’ by potbellies and all would be taken to auction … and was wondering if I’d like one.
This understandably made her worried as there was a possibility that if they went to auction, someone would buy them believing them to be micro-pigs. These "teacup" pigs as they are also called are in fact underfed and malnourished young potbellied pigs sold by breeders. They will grow up to be significantly larger. Pitchford was also scared that someone would buy them with the intention of eating them.
Some of the rescued potbellied pigs. Source: Broken Shovels Farm
She sprung into action, reaching out to three rescue groups; Broken Shovels Farm, Rescued Friends Animal Sanctuary and Hog Haven Farm. After agreeing to help her, they all teamed up to rescue these auctioned pigs.
They later discovered that there were in fact 14 pigs who needed to be rescued, three of whom were newborn piglets, named Persimmon, Durian and Figs, who went to Broken Shovels Farm.
Persimmon, Durian and Figs. Source: Broken Shovels Farm
The piglets were too young to leave their mom, but the owner refused to surrender their mom to the rescue group. Andrea Davis, founder of Broken Shovels farm, agreed to bottle-feed the piglets to keep them alive.
Pitchford then decided it was time for Ruby to visit them so on the Saturday, they went to the farm. Ruby said she couldn't believe how Ruby reacted:
I walked Ruby into the room with the piglets, and she calmly approached them in their nursery trough. She showed a lot of interest and was wagging her tail and grinding her teeth, which is something she does when [we] cuddle.
Pitchford said it was strange for Ruby to take on such a motherly role as she is usually quite "fussy [and] naturally pretty sassy". It was as if she was in the room with a "completely different girl".
Ruby watching over the piglets. Source: Rachael Pitchford
As if that wasn't amazing enough, when the piglets were released from their trough, Figs made a beeline for Ruby with Pitchford saying that “they went snout to snout and kissed each other". Ruby, along with Pitchford ending up staying overnight with Ruby apparently going into the piglets' room every few minutes to check up on them. Pitchford added that Ruby would "become extremely concerned when any of them squealed.”
Source: Rachael Pitchford
After seeing the strong connection between Ruby and Figs, Pitchford plans to adopt Figs once he has grown up and is ready to be re-homed. Until then, she plans to take Ruby on frequent visits so she can take on the role of "mom" to them. Pitchford said:
If you would like to make a donation to Broken Shovels Farm and help the three little piglets grow big and strong, you can do so here.
H/t: The Dodo
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