To these farmers, one piglet—one life—doesn’t make a difference; thankfully, George’s rescuer felt otherwise. After seeing George huddled and shivering in the corner of the barn, she asked the petting zoo owner if she could take George home. The farmer said that George would likely die, so she could “go ahead.”
George’s rescuer took him to Cornell University’s Nemo Farm Animal Hospital. At first, his prognosis looked grim. He had a bad case of pneumonia, with fluid filling the front part of his lungs; every labored breath brought him closer to drowning. He also had Balantidium coli—a highly contagious parasite of the intestinal tract. This disease can also spread to humans, particularly the very young, elderly, or others with compromised immune systems. This means that anyone at the petting zoo could have gotten sick.