It’s not often that you see anything too unusual while driving on a boring, busy highway, but every once in a while something will happen on a daily commute that cuts through the malaise and gives you pause. Such an event unfolded on an Illinois interstate a few weeks ago when a tiny pink piglet suddenly fell out of a transport truck and tumbled onto the ground right before one kind motorist’s eyes.
Horrified by what he just saw, the man hit the breaks and stopped the car to come to the piglet’s aid. Lifting him up as the transport truck continued on to its destination, the man carried the scraped up baby animal to his car and took him home to provide him with care.
Not long after he rescued the baby animal, and realized how quickly he would grow, the man contacted local rescuers for help in finding the piglet a permanent home. But given that few companion animal shelters are able to provide refuge to farm animals too, there was nowhere for the piglet to go – that is until a network of kind people put their heads together and reached out to Farm Sanctuary for help. Happily, we were able to be there for him in his time of need and take him in!
When the piglet arrived at our New York Shelter, we gave him a complete medical exam and learned that, not unlike other babies we’ve rescued from hog farm nurseries in the past, he was sick with pneumonia and loaded with parasites, so we began treating him for both. He was having trouble eating solid foods too, and as a result, was underweight and smaller than he should be at his age. Signs of road rash from his fall also remained, though the cuts and scrapes were finally beginning to heal.
Despite his ailments, however, this brave little piglet immediately showed an enormous amount of spirit. We knew he needed a name that fit his big personality and looked no further than our incredible 2010 national Walk for Farm Animals spokesperson, celebrity trainer Bob Harper from The Biggest Loser! As soon as Bob heard the news, he posted a picture of his namesake on Facebook, alerting thousands of fans to the work of Farm Sanctuary and eliciting an outpouring of emotion from people whose hearts were melted by the adorable piglet and swore that they would never eat pork again.
And Bob Harper piglet has inspired similar oohs and ahhs here among staff and volunteers who have already fallen head over heels with this charming, playful boy. Always keeping us on our toes with some sort of antics, Bob is continually making us laugh by crazily spinning around his hospital stall and shaking his blankets with his mouth like a puppy with a chew toy! Another one of his little games involves his breakfast. He loves the special mash we feed him and quickly slurps up all the milk replacer that is mixed in with the grain. When the liquid is all gone, he flips the bowl so that we have to clean the grain part up and make up another dish, adding more of the milk replacer that he, being a baby who was taken away from his mother and weaned much too soon, still prefers to eat.
Had he not fallen off that truck last month, Bob Harper piglet likely would have ended up on a hog farm somewhere – raised in a filthy, crowded, concrete indoor pen until reaching slaughter weight and being killed for pork at a mere six months of age. Fortunately, this little baby will never have to know such a fate.
As we hit the streets this fall as part of our annual Walk for Farm Animals to raise awareness (along with Bob Harper the person!) about the plight of farm animals and vital funds for Farm Sanctuary’s many efforts to protect them, we encourage you to get involved! If Bob piglet has touched your heart, what better way to show your support for the Walk, and promote compassion for all, than signing up to sponsor him through our Adopt-A-Farm Animal Project? Your sponsorship will not only help cover the costs of Bob Harper piglet’s feed, housing and care, but it will also give hope to suffering farm animals everywhere. Make a difference by becoming this mighty little piglet’s adoptive “parent” today!