Animal Friends- September 2021

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.

A week ago we celebrated the one-year rescue anniversary of Cooper, Arlo, Otis, and Benji. The boys were just 2 months old when Animal Control officers found them in a wooden crate that was nailed closed. They had no food, water, or ventilation and the crate was left out in the sun on a scorching hot day. The owner was prepping them for a Labor Day BBQ. Thankfully, a concerned neighbor called animal control to report screams coming from the crate. They were just an hour away from dying of heatstroke and dehydration when Animal Control arrived and confiscated them on cruelty charges.

They were released to us and came home to Heartwood Haven. The boys were very afraid of everyone when they arrived. We knew that having a friendly pig who loves people would be necessary for them to come around to trusting us. It is important for the pigs to trust us to help them in case of an emergency, evacuation, or if veterinary care is needed.

Enter Mia. Mia was rescued just a few months prior with another pig named Leo. Together they were only being fed a can of veggies every few days. Mia suffered terribly from malnourishment. And because of Mia and Leo’s terrible past and fighting over resources, they didn’t enjoy each others company and decide to part ways once arriving at Heartwood Haven. Mia needed more food to eat and grow. She loved and sought out people for affection, so she seemed like the perfect companion to help the boys through their trauma. Meanwhile, Leo made new friends and went on new adventures.

Arlo, Otis, Benji, and Cooper took to Mia immediately. They loved spending time with her and she taught them all about pigs things like rooting and napping. Even in the beginning, we started to see glimpses of a special relationship between Mia and Cooper. You can see them in the photo above napping just a few days ago.

Over time Mia taught Arlo, Otis, Benji, and Copper that some humans are safe and can be trusted. They slowly started letting us closer: first to touch their noses, then pet their heads, and eventually rub their bellies. The boys even let us trim their hooves now which is kind of a big deal for pigs. Mia now spends her days napping away with Arlo, Otis, Benji, and Copper. Cooper is always right by Mia’s side and the others are never far away. It is through these examples that we can see animals form deep bonds and love for one another. They have friends and families just like you and me. And even within those families they do have favorites and that’s okay. After all we’re all just trying to survive in this world and sometimes thats a little easier with a friend or companion by our side.

With Compassion,

Hope Hilman
Director of Operations

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