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From Squalor to Safety

Thursday, January 12, 2012

In early January, 2012, a team of WFAS staff and volunteers assembled to help rescue and relocate a pair of pigs in need. Junior and his daughter, Sunshine, were struggling in unspeakable conditions at a very old, run down farm.

As the space at our Woodstock sanctuary is limited, we often help out by finding new homes and also transporting the animals.  Moving a 600 or 700 pound pig is not for the faint of heart!

WFAS had been working diligently since early December to coordinate this project.  Our team lovingly dedicated over 13 hours and traveled nearly 700 miles round trip to relocate these kids to safety at new homes.   See the full story in pictures below:

When we arrived, Junior immediately got up and walked out to greet us. It was as if we were his dream come true!

Junior's yard (and water) was frozen over, uncomfortable and dangerous for him to navigate. He used a rock as his bed, and he didn't not have access to the indoors. He lived alone. The conditions were so bad that Junior surely would not have survived the winter if we had not rescued him.

Junior watches as the team prepares the area for load-in.


Junior looks forward to a sampling of fresh fruit and veggies that will be used to lure him safely into the trailer.

The team assembled in a line to safely restrict and guide Junior into the trailer where a bed of fluffy hay awaited him. Junior had never known the pleasure and comfort of soft bedding.


We all waited patiently as Junior made his way into the trailer. He was a little nervous about the new space but curiosity, delicious treats (and the sheer volume of volunteer Mike Stura's hair), inspired him to take the final step into the trailer.

Our team of volunteers prepares for the rescue and load in of Junior's daughter, Sunshine. The stall she was living in was dark, damp and wall-to-wall feces. Sunshine's rescue went so fast that we didn't have an opportunity to take photos -- this little girl marched right into the trailer all on her own!

Sunshine is received by a wonderful welcome wagon as she arrives at her new home at a private sanctuary in Valatie, NY.

Several of the sanctuary pigs immediately went to greet Sunshine. She was stressed from the ride, but grateful as she set foot on the grounds of her new temporary home. This is the first time Sunshine has been outdoors. The sanctuary pigs offered Sally comfort with soft "hello" oinks and some even brought food over to her.

Sunshine checking out the new smells and yummy freshly baked goods. She is dirty from being forced to live in nearly a foot of her own waste in a dark, cold and a far too small space. Sunshine lacks a certain amount of muscle tone pigs should have due to her former confined life in a small indoor pen.

Junior is unloaded from the trailer to his new home. The team lines up with plastic pig boards as a means of helping to define his path.

Junior was such a gentleman that he didn't need much guidance during unloading. In fact, he was pretty much following our volunteer Mike Stura down the path like they were old pals. We could sense that this was a day that Junior had long hoped for.

The Tusk & Bristle Sanctuary in Constantia, NY, that is Junior's new home uses clean, thickly-bedded huts as singular and shared housing for their rescued pig friends. Number 6 was prepared for Junior with a giant bowl of fresh food delights. Pigs at the sanctuary are given the option of picking whatever hut they want. Junior ended up selecting another hut for himself that evening.

Junior bravely explores the grounds with the sanctuary's cat, Dude. Dude stayed close by Junior to help him feel at home and get settled.

Junior enjoys the fresh fruit, veggies and baked goods specially prepared for him, savoring every sweet moment. It seems that Junior is not used to such kind and generous treatment, but he sure does appreciate it.

After enjoying a few snacks, Junior made his way to Tasma. The two chatted a while and seemed to become fast friends. Junior only experienced a solitary life for the past four years at his former "home" yet is remarkably social and loving.

Junior and Redboar, a rescued Russian boar, introduce themselves to one another.

Our compassionate crew of pig crusaders! Big love and endless thanks to volunteers Wendy and Mike Stura, Nicole Ganas, Elana Kirshenbaum, Natalie Alcalde and Cameron. Extended gratitude to kindhearted citizen Cheryl for bringing this situation to our attention and to Gia and Carol for generously and warmly welcoming Junior and his daughter Sunshine into their sanctuaries.


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