First Morning with the Potbellies

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living off the land

The first stop on my journey out of LA is Kanab, UT. It’s a place that has been on my mind for the past 7 years simply because Best Friends Animal Society.

I’ve been wanting to visit and work at the sanctuary for so long now. Since I’m driving from LA to Kansas, I figured why not make a stop off in good ol’ Utah for a few of days.

I had already looked over Best Friends website long before I made the decision to finally go, so I knew about all of their different rescue houses. Dogs, cats, pigs, goats, horses….there’s a lot to choose from.

I had heard about Dogtown and watched the TV show a couple times. Oh and I have a bleeding heart for dogs, so I definitely wanted to get at least one shift there. The rest was up to wherever the sanctuary needed me.

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My first shift was at Piggy Paradise. My family had hogs on our farm, but other than that, I didn’t know much about them.

When I was about 10, I tried to convince my mother to let me get a potbelly pig at the state fair. I wanted it soooo bad, but I’m so glad she said no. I didn’t realize how much work these animals really are.

Most of the rescues are from owners that couldn’t handle their personal pets anymore. Pigs tend to become aggravated and aggressive when they aren’t around other pigs. That’s why you should always have at least 2.

But having 2 pigs can be quite a handful. Yes they are small and cute as a piglet, but don’t forget these animals get pretty pig which leads to the other big reason people give up their potbellies for adoption.

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Best Friends houses a few dozen potbellies along with a couple other breeds, and most are available for adoption to the right home. The others that are not able to be adopted due to health or behavior reasons will I’ve out the rest of there piggy lives happy and content at the sanctuary.
I had a lot of fun working with the pigs. I got to see how they all have their own little personalities just like so many other animals. I guess I never really viewed them as more than a farm animal.

Our first chore was divvying up their food according to their special diet. Some didn’t have teeth to chew, some had weak stomachs, and others were just plain picky.

We fed the special needs first. Most of them were just grumpy ol’ pigs with some health issues, but one was a crazy teenager with joint problems. Can you imagine what would happen if you made a teenager live in an old folks home?

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Well that’s what happened at Piggy Paradise. Her name was Cutie and she was a bossy little porker. As we were putting each pig in a pin so they could eat, she was running around yelling at all of them. Needless to say the old folks were not happy.

Later that day she was moved to a spot with a little more youth to keep her stimulated. I think she’s happier now, and I can guarantee the older pigs are happier too.

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Once we were done feeding the special needs pigs, we headed over to the main area to feed the rest of the ┬áherd (not sure if that’s the right word). These pigs were easier since they didn’t have any special diets. We separated a mixture of veggies and pellets between about a dozen little troughs and threw torn up romaine heads around the grounds. It was all gone within a few minutes.

After that, it was time for a nice nap in the sun.

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Pigs like to be scratched, so I grabbed a hard bristle brush and made my rounds giving each of them a good brushing. I almost got all of them to flip over and let me rub their belly too which was pretty funny.

A good way to tell if a pig likes what you are doing is by the hair down their back. You know how a dog will raise the ridge of hair in the middle of their shoulders when they are not happy? Well pigs do the same thing except when they raise their hair, they are really happy.

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I had a great time working at Piggy Paradise. I can’t say that I would want to own a pig after working with them, but I definitely have a new found respect for them.

If you know your pigs and are looking for a new piggy friend, check out Best Friends website and take a look at the 24 pigs up for adoption.

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POTBELLIES

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