Many of the stories we share are sad and involve troubling levels of neglect and cruelty. Animal Friends is our monthly series bringing joy and happiness to your inbox. Over the years we’ve had the unique opportunity to witness our animal friends developing strong bonds and relationships with each other. The friendships formed here at the sanctuary are unique to each animal and often aid in their recovery from abuse and neglect. We hope their stories of friendship will not only inspire you but will also show that our animal friends can and do recover from past trauma and abuse with the help of each other. As a place of healing, our greatest hope is that the animals are able to live life on their terms with no expectations or pressures from us. Here are their stories.
Boris arrived in December of 2020. At the time Boris was abandoned on a property. He was overweight, blind, and deaf. His story was incredible sad and so touched many of you. It was hard to imagine his caretaker could leave a vulnerable soul behind to fend for himself.
Upon his arrival, we set Boris up with a cozy bed, warm nutritious meals, and a daily exercise regime to help his body heal. Boris’ physically body began healing that very day but it would be several months and many pig introductions before his emotionally healing would being.
Boris loves routine. His exercise regime was enjoyable as he loved exploring the woods on the sanctuary grounds. It took several months but we watched as the weight slowly melted away and Boris began to enjoy life more and more each day. As caretakers of pigs monitoring their weight is an important consideration. Too little food and you can stunt their growth, cause mobility and other issues. Too much food causes arthritis, problems with organs and can lead to blindness and deafness in pigs. In Boris situation the latter is exactly what happened.
As the pounds melted away, daily tasks and exercise became easier for Boris but still there was something missing. Boris exhibited signs of depression and fear which is very common for single pigs living without companionship and friends. At that time we decided to start introducing Boris to new pigs to see who he would enjoy spending time with. Pigs choose their friends in the same way you and I do. If I had to chose your best friend I would likely choose incorrectly so we carry that same philosophy with each of our pigs.
Enter Linus. Linus had been recently rescued from a neglect situation. He was living locked inside a small stall that was once concrete but had become covered in feces and urine so thick that you could no longer see the concrete. Despite this, Linus was a happy pig who loved people and especially other pigs!
We introduced Boris to Linus in early March. Boris was timid and shy but Linus was easygoing and persistent. During Boris’ morning walks Linus would follow closely behind trying at every chance he could to be close to his new friend. Within a few weeks, Linus’ determination paid off and Boris would walk with Linus and allowed him to get closer and closer. Within a few weeks we found Linus and Boris laying together in their barn snuggled up against one another. It was a perfect match!
Since their meeting we’ve noticed a dramatic change in Boris’ emotional well being. He is longer sad and gray but the color has returned to his body and he has an eagerness to tackle everyday. He is no longer just surviving but is now thriving with Linus. As humans there is only so much we can do to help our animal friends heal. Their friendships and relationships with each other is where the real healing beings and that is what sanctuary is all about.
To do this day Linus and Boris remain friends and live together here at Heartwood Haven. Boris continues his daily exercise and everyday I am amazed that I am still looking at the same pig I met just 5 months earlier. While he has lost a significant amount of weight he still has some to go before his vision may return