March 21, 2010
Peter was picked up from a farm where he was languishing and in poor health by a Long Island man, who felt bad for this tiny runt. He subsequently fell in love with little Peter, who followed his “Dad” around his warehouse workplace like a puppy. But even with the best intentions the man’s lack of knowledge about pigs was detrimental to Peter’s health — his diet consisted mostly of meatball heros, pizza, and bags of day-old Dunkin’ Donuts. And the only space the man had available in cold weather was in the warehouse, which had a concrete floor.
At only a few months this high-fat and highly inappropriate diet (pigs are naturally vegetarians but will eat anything if hungry enough) caused Peter to have some problems supporting is own weight. Coupled with the fact that he was living for months at a time on concrete — an unnatural surface for an animal with hooves — Peter essentially stopped walking. The man would have to lay down scraps of carpet to get Peter to get up to pee. We arrived in the nick of time, we believe, and hope that with a good diet and plenty of exercise 9-month-old Peter will make a full recovery!
Update September 2010:
Peter has now lost close to 100lbs and can get up and walk on his own! He still has the help of our animal caretakers who help him up and make sure he get exercise several times a day for his physical therapy. We believe Peter’s condition may have began at birth by a condition known as “splay leg.” This is a condition where the newborn piglet is unable to hold the front and/or (more commonly) back legs together and up to 2 % of piglets can be affected. The disease is caused by immaturity of the muscle fibers in the hind legs. The condition can be treated by strapping the legs together and motivating the piglet to walk and build muscle but poor Peter was instead confined and fed a terribly unhealthy diet — making his condition only worse.
We’re doing all we can to improve Peter’s walking on a daily basis. He may never be able to walk normally like the others but he is obviously happy to just be here with people who love him. He is the most talkative pig we have ever met and he charms the pants off anyone who meets him.
Pete’s Passing: August 14, 2011
WFAS witnesses great healing at the sanctuary but we also must confront death and all the grief that comes with the passing of any of our beloved residents. It is with much sadness that we share the news of his passing. At this point we believe he succumbed to an infection in his blood (that we only learned about 48 hrs prior) or reacted poorly to the anesthesia he had been given just 2 days before. We may never know for sure.
Since the Fall of 2010, Pete made huge improvements to his mobility and was often seen walking around the perimeter of both the goat and sheep pastures. When the snow came, life became a bit slippery so he was reluctant to go as far but would take a daily turn around the sheep barn grunting a hello to the sheep as he went.
During Spring 2011, Pete was up and about enjoying the warmer weather and receiving personal showers once the summer heat came along. However we observed a decrease in his mobility and willingness to get up so we took him to Cornell University’s Large Animal Hospital for tests and x-rays. The doctors discovered damage to Pete’s spine due to an infection in his blood and some arthritis as a result of his original condition. He came home and was about to start a course of antibiotics to stop the infection and see if he would recover and could live pain-free with the help of arthritis medications. Not long after his arrival back home, Pete had a seizure and was suddenly taken from us. He was surrounded by many of his human friends and we think he knew how much he was loved. We are grief-stricken — anybody who met Pete was touched by his huge ‘pig’onality and talkativeness. We loved him so much.
Run free in peace, Pete.