Monday, December 13, 2010


Two years ago a family sent me an email about there house pig Lenny who was getting cranky with the grand kids and was no longer wanted. I always ask for pictures of a pig being given up, both to use to find them a home with and to see the pigs overall condition . This pig was only two years old and a time in a pigs life where he is coming of age into maturity , one that we all associate with kids and the terrible two's. It is the same of pigs, at two for many of them they want to be boss now. Also add being over weight, and his vision getting worse and worse as the fat closes over his eyes. It would be enough to make me cranky.

At the time i had listed the acreage and sent them back a letter suggesting they build Lenny a yard with a outside house. That this is how there pig would be living if he came in here. And i offered to come over and work with them and share some of the techniques i use for behavior issues. This pig was also a house pig and wanted nothing of going down the ramp to go outside. Maybe the ramp was to steep for the now two year old fat blind pig, and babies do all sorts of things at a young age they will not do once they get older. I offered to give Lenny a home once i moved but i was not spending any money on putting up new pens for incoming pigs when i needed that money to be spent on pens for all of us when we moved. I wrote a nice long letter and never heard back from them.

A year later , I think i had been out here a few months when a lady called me for help with a pig she took in. It was just basic care information and wouldn't you know it , the pig she had was Lenny.

Where does the time go? And here we are again a year later only to receive a call from now this lady who no longer can care for Lenny. And she knows he is not happy where he is and asks if i can take him. I simply can't take in any more pigs here right now but there is no hurry to get him out as he has a nice yard and a good house and spring is a better time to be moving pigs any where. But that changed in a matter of weeks and the new message on my machine turned Lenny into a emergency, i had to get him out now.

24 hours after my plea on facebook Karena offered up a stall in her barn and agreed to foster him until spring. They also had a nice house in a pen but felt Lenny would have more company with her horses in the barn. So yesterday morning in the pouring rain I loaded my truck once again with a crate, blocking boards , treats , a bucket, dolly, food and blankets.

Lenny was confined in his house and we placed the crate with the door open at his doorway. Then i climbed in with a herding board and a bucket. We didn't have much room and Lenny is a big boy , but i moved quietly and slowly blocking him , creating a shoot to the crate. I suggested that he could go in all by his self , that he was gong on an adventure. The he need not worry as he would be safe, but needed to be very brave. Lenny moved towards me and i allowed that using the board and with the bucket ready in my other hand he put himself in a perfect position. Gently placing the bucket over Lenny's head he moved back wards to get away from it and backed right into the crate.

And Lenny was on his way to the new digs within 30 minutes which was spent mostly on setting up time, so I could do this without scaring him.

As we were all pulling out the lady reached threw my window in the truck and gave me a kiss , no one has ever done that when i am taking there pigs. And i turned into a bowl of jelly as i followed the horse trailer out.

I was concerned about Karena's horse's being scared to death of there new barn buddy and for two reasons i grabbed a bag full of Lenny's hay bedding before we left. Some hay for his new bed to bring him comfort at his new place and to sack out the horse's. I suggested to Karena she toss in a hand full of Lenny's bedding in there stalls to get them used to his scent.

I laughed when Karena updated me after i left that she did that very thing , and her horses simply ate it LOL. That went well, and i only wish we had a
picture of three gentle horses reaching over there barn stall doors to try and reach Lenny and welcome him home.


Anonymous said...

Janice, I'm not sure why, but this post made me cry. Maybe it's because you always go to the ends of the earth to help a pig, maybe it's because of the goowill shown by the lady with the horses, maybe it's because of the lady who gave you a kiss for taking Lenny.Probably it's all of the above. They are happy tears, though. I needed a little boost, to restore my faith in people right about now, and this was it. Thank you!

Colleen said...

Yay Janice....again!!!

Yay Karena!!!

So much to endure for just a wee babe like Lenny. I'm sure he feels the love surrounding him now though!!

Janice Gillett said...

I am really tired today, feel like i am sick i am so tired. After getting Lenny i had to come home to pail the water out of my basement. The water was coming in faster then my sump could get it out. I need a day off but i got to go Christmas shopping. My phone is a mess and Telus was here this morning but the work has been rebooked. And "Bacon" now "Cotton" is back in here after rolling in horse poop..niceeeeeeeeeeeeee

dirtyduck said...

good one Janice! thats so funny that they just ate it(the hay) you never know whats going to upset an animal. we took in a rescue kitty (just for two days, we are allergic) and piggy still wont go into the bathroom where the cat was! its been five days,lol.

Janice Gillett said...

LOL Silly pig!!!

Janice Gillett said...

Sir Leonard as what Karena is calling him ;o)) is getting spoiled and is adapting to his new surroundings. Karena says there will be no pig depression on her watch!! Add cheerios to straw and he was kept busy on his treasure hunt. Love the reports I am getting in from Karena !!

Jean said...

I'm so glad Karena was able to take him in for you - and that the horses don't mind sharing.
I wonder if the makers of Cheerios realize how many boxes of that stuff are used to entertain piggies? I remember how much the Super Wees loved cheerio hunts.

Janice Gillett said...

I don't take Buddy for walks too often as i am always working on something around here. After posting back and forth with a dog rescuer last night i have woke up this morning using my brain. And it regarding walks, with the following thoughts.

For a dog like this it may be exactly what he needs. And i don't mean for the exercise because he gets plenty racing around here . But by walking him will reinforce my position with him. It may be just a walk but it is a time when he is off the property and must be focused on me first and then his surroundings- this little exercise will reinforce me as his pack leader. Somehow i must find time to do this and i will google muzzles as i hate the idea of him being in my bedroom and not being able to look out a window , move freely around the house in the evening when it is tv time etc. And i sure don't want him thinking of my bedroom as his space and getting protective of that.

My horses haven't been ridden in years as i don't have the time for that anymore. They have a run in barn , coming and going when they feel like it. The only time I ask them to do anything is when the ferrier comes and they need to be held by halter and lead rope. I have noticed they are both getting a little pushy and not so careful of my space . By putting a halter on them and leading them around asking simple things of them such as watching my body language , stopping and moving around me. This can take all of five minutes and until the horses lower there heads and it shows me they are now giving in to me only then do i let them off. I do it quietly and no tricks just a little one on one time and walla , they start seeing me again.

Working with pigs and keeping up with the work for them around here has left me a little rusty and short on time. Buddy is a product of a big dog with a dominant mind being left to his own demise for two long , well now he has my full attention. Like my horses he needs to be "checked" every once in a while and reminded who is the top gun around here. I am not being mean to him but i am asking him to respond to me strongly right now.

Unknown said...

I have a question about my potbelly pigs. I got a full size girl about 4 months ago and she is a house pig. She goes out to potty and out to play for and hour a day. I just rescued a mini and he's the same age. I know there is going to be an adjustment period but can I muzzle them during this time?

Janice Gillett said...

First they don't make a muzzle to fit a pot belly pig and it would go against everything one has learned about pigs to even consider that. Not be be a bitch but pigs live under the rules of hiarchy and the two of them must sort it out with out interference unless someone is on the ground belly up. That means no vocal remarks from you... no no's... no interference at all. No body language ... the pigs must be allowed to concentrate on each other or the whole process with stop and start because of you over and over again. Let them sort it out between fences first , let the newone learn how things work for a few weeks . And then take them out to the yard together Remember just because your first is first doesnt mean he/she will win the fight . Call me in t he new year 604-462-0958 email me to book an appot