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Friday, September 13, 2013

When a foster/rescue changes to life or death.

Last Friday, I was notified of a mini-pig that was no longer wanted. They needed a home for her, because the son supposedly had lost interest. Lyndsey had wanted a mini-pig for a while so on my lunch break we went to check her out. You know the rest of the story, right? She came home right then.  She appeared personable enough, and came with a crate, food, harness, leash, booties and a coat. They said she weighed 30lbs, it was closer to 60, her feet were untrimmed, eyes needed cleaned, etc. I set her up in the back porch/yard and she quickly learned to use the dog door. She did bite my arm the first day, but I figured it was stress related. She was pretty vocal and pushy when I fed her, and grabbed for snacks. Our old dog Bo hated her, to the point I was fearing for her life after a couple days. So we made the decision to move her to a more laid-back place. I talked to a local pet store owner who's mother ran an adult foster home and we decided it would be a great fit. They couldn't take her for a couple of weeks, so we moved her out with the chickens (she was living with ducks when we got her). I was maintaining a food schedule to help her loose weight. Three days ago, an hour after feeding time, I went to go lock the chicken coop. She attacked me. She ripped my hand open, bit my arm, and literally hung from my stomach after jumping up and grabbing me. (The bruise and hemotoma look awful and yes, I got a tetanus shot).

After screaming for help, getting out of the coop, and shaking in shock for half an hour, I sat and cried. That night I called the family I got her from, who swore she'd never been aggressive, but no, they did not want her back. I called the home she was supposed to go to and told them I could not, in good conscious, give her to them. I called a supposed "mini-pig rescue" in our state who said "no room" and to call my local shelter. Since I am the one called when the shelter needs to house livestock (previously fostered a pot-bellied pig, horse and sheep) that obviously wasn't an option. The following night she tried to rush my husband (I am embarrassed to say I was afraid to go back close to her).

We put her down last night. I absolutely in no way could have given her away without being afraid of her attacking again. I feel like I failed her. She obviously had been stressed and affected some how. Maybe she hadn't done it before? Maybe the move or my nervous dog was too much for her? I don't know, but I did have to make a decision. The right one? I don't know, but I guess I might need to rethink my decision to be a livestock foster


  1. You most certainly did the right thing. Not the easiest thing, but the right thing. I hope your injuries are healing and that you won't suffer permenant damage from the pig attack. I firmly believe in helping foster animals as much as possible, but personally think it's a waste of time to try and "fix" a truly disturbed/angry/out of control animal when you could be using that time & energy to foster an animal that has a chance at a good life. Bless you for trying, and trying you most certainly did more than could have ever been expected from anyone.

  2. Regardless of the reasons the pig was aggressive, you did the right thing. If she was stressed by the move, then she wasn't a candidate for being moved yet again. I'm sure sorry you were hurt, physically and emotionally, friend.

  3. Yes, you did the only thing possible. It was necessary. Somehow, I would doubt what the original owners told you about the pig never showing any aggressive behavior. But that's neither here nor there. Even though it's a difficult decision to make, after an animal has to be put down because of an uncontrollable issue, I try to remember that there's a good chance the pig would be abused or neglected or hurt in some way had anyone else offered to take it.

    You were put in a clearly very dangerous situation and it made no sense to risk further harm to you or someone else. Keep us posted on your healing. I do hope in time you realize your kind heart and generosity in taking in foster animals is a gift that is much needed. Sending hugs to you, Ruth.

  4. How frightening, Ruth! I know it was a difficult decision because you are such an animal person, but that pig was a menace to itself and others. I doubt very much that one move 'set her off'. And I am sure there had been previous aggressive behaviour. You did the right thing. I hope you are healed, both physically and emotionally.