“Look! Here she comes with our favorite food. Our human is the best. She took us in and loved us when nobody else would see past our pigginess. We didn’t ask to outgrow their homes, but hey, we’re pigs. Now we’re here on the farm – where us pigs should be. We love to roam and roll and most of all, we just love to be free…” — domestic pigs everywhere
…to me it’s ” not just a pig” and it never will be. It’s a life and they have feelings.” Melissa
Melissa’s Pig Rescue
To wrap up National Volunteer Week, we have caught up with Melissa. Let’s take a peek into her rescue efforts in the “pig pen.”
Melissa’s rescue adventure began early in her life. She says; “I’ve been rescuing and fostering all different animals my entire life. I ran a cat rescue in university and a rabbit rescue a few years later and now (I’m) mainly concentrating on pigs, but I have taken in any animal when they are in need.”
Although, most people don’t think of pigs being in need, pig rescues are filling up. Melissa explains.
I was being contacted by different individuals because most rescues in southern Ontario were full and desperately needed help. My job basically never ends. I’m constantly (either physically) taking care of my animals, online or on the phone answering message after message to provide support for people needing help.”
Although, the work is hard, Melissa has a sense of joy when one of her pigs finds a forever home. However, there is a downside. According to National Geographic the pig problem is on the rise with unscrupulous breeders selling all types of pigs as “mini-pigs” to unsuspecting people. These numbers are already in the hundreds-of-thousands and on the rise to reach one million in the near future. Unfortunately, when these pigs fail to stay small (some can reach weights of hundreds of pounds) the duped people are left no other choice but to rehome their pig-pal. Melissa adds;
The hardest part of the job is just knowing that you can’t save them all. This is a cycle that never ends no matter how many you save in a day or a week there’s always more behind them needing help.”
Melissa lets us in on a secret
There are a few pigs in my rescue that I don’t see myself parting with. They’ve been through so much I can’t take the chance of having them mistreated or neglected once again. I’ve worked really hard to rebuild their spirit and its just not worth taking the chance on having them hurt all over again.”
With so many shelters in operation, Melissa shares her views on the system and process.
I think shelters spend too much time worrying about the financial side of things or the political side of things. Animal rescuing isn’t about either of these things. It’s about providing the animals with the opportunity to live a happy life and that sometimes means bending the rules.
I think for me what stands out is that I am never ever in a hurry to adopt out an animal. These things take time and not jumping at the first opportunity to home an animal, but hold out for the best. One of the worst things you can do as a rescuer is accidentally place an animal in a home that isn’t going to work out or that puts the animal at risk of some of the things you worked so hard to free them from in the first place.”
What advice can you give us about getting into the rescue business?
You really can’t do it alone. You need the support of like-minded people to bounce ideas off of or to cry to when things don’t go as planned. Rescuers are a rare breed and a lot of people do not understand the emotion behind what we do. I learned a long time ago trying to confide in the wrong people only makes things worse. To me it’s ” not just a pig” and it never will be. It’s a life, and they have feelings. Animals do not choose us, we choose them and we have a responsibility to rise to their expectations.”
You’re going to laugh, you’re going to cry, you’re going to win and you are going to lose. You are going to see a situation one day and know exactly how to handle it and be completely torn and stumped for days or weeks by others. Either way the thankfulness you see in an animals eyes makes it worth every single second.”
Thank you Melissa for your candor and dedication to joining the efforts of rescuers around the world. We applaud you on this National Volunteer Week.
KirinGie.Me will continue to join forces to help fight the cause and shine a light on the abandoned and forgotten animals. We aim to create a supportive community of pet-owners where you can share your pets and their unique stories with other animal lovers — a place to connect.
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