Last year, a woman I have known of for a long time posted a plea on Facebook for help at her sanctuary. There was a lot of work to be done and many of the regular volunteers could not make it.
I thought, why not.
The sanctuary in Mission is called Hearts on Noses. It is a sanctuary for pigs.
It is heartbreaking how many domestic pigs are abandoned by their families.
Potbellied pigs have been a fad for quite some time. Unfortunately, most people who bring these animals into their lives have absolutely no clue what they are getting into.
Pigs are highly intelligent and have the mental capacity of a four-year-old child. They are very social, and require huge amounts of our time. This is not an animal you build a pen for in the corner of your yard and feed once a day. They need company. They need exercise. They need mental stimulation. They want to play, and most of all, they want to be part of the family.
So many people rushed out and got themselves a cute, tiny potbellied pig. They soon realized these animals get quite large, and need to be supervised.
For too many people, this sort of commitment became too overwhelming and many of these wonderful, friendly animals ended up in rescues and sanctuaries.
The recent popularity of “micro” or “mini” pigs has exasperated the problem. I will only say this once: there is no such thing as a micro or a mini pig. The pictures you see from breeders are of babies, who grow to be 200 to 1,000 pounds.
I went to Hearts on Noses last February and fell in love, with the personalities, the kisses, the snuggles. Some are mischievous. Some are lovable. Some like to play tricks on you, and some will give you a nudge to remind you how big they are. Every pig is different. There are pigs losing their homes every day in North America.
Many end up going to slaughter.
Needless to say, I go back to Hearts on Noses every week. If you are interested in helping out, donating supplies, or sponsoring one of these amazing creatures, visit their website at HeartsOnNoses.com.
– By Magda Romanow, a volunteer at Katie’s Place, an animal shelter in Maple Ridge.