Tomorrow it will be one week since the pigs went on their Great Adventure to their new home at the Hearts on Noses Sanctuary. The morning had started early, with Ellen and I improvising a "chute" from the barn door to the place where the back of the trailer would be, fastening an old farm gate and 16 feet of x-pen onto the outside of the barn wall with hinges to allow the best fit possible. A few boards screwed onto posts and wall inside the barn,leading from stall to chute, and we were ready to go.
Karen and Robin, with son (Marshall, I think?) and dog Bryn (wouldn't ya know that I'd remember the dog's name and not the child's????????) pulled into the driveway and positioned the trailer.
Bryn - a lovely senior pitti
Ellen and I had a huge can of marshmallows, strawberries, peanuts, dog biscuits, and licorice - all things piggies love. We had not fed them breakfast, so they would be plenty hungry, and motivated to follow me.
It went better than we could have ever imagined. Other than the occasional moment when one or more would run back at the sound of a strange voice or the sight of a strange person (oops - no, I don't mean that Karen and Robin were strange - just that the pigs didn't know them), they followed me right to the trailer - well, they followed the treats to the trailer.
The youngsters showed no fear. Mama Soda got on board once several of her babies were inside. Papa Scotch, however, was another matter. He hung out in the pig yard the longest, he moved the slowest, he took the most bribery. He turned his snoutie up at marshmallows and strawberries and even licorice, but the peanuts were just too much of a temptation and with a little gentle manoevering using boards and bodies, we got him safely in and the door to the trailer securely closed. No squealing, no panic, no fear - they were packed in like sardines and still snuffling the floor for the last of the treats. And then they were on their way.
Pulling out the driveway
Are we there yet?
I followed the truck and trailer to the Sanctuary, rolling down my windows at each stopsign but heard not a peep. Forty minutes later the door was opened, and twelve cute faces peered out at us:
(Thanks to Karen for this photo)Mama Soda came out first, and proclaimed the new yard safe for the youngsters and so out they tumbled. Papa Scotch brought up the rear. There were waggy tails all around as they explored their new home.
I stayed in their yard with them for a while. It wasn't long before one of the residents came to greet them. Appropriately, it was Scout, coming ahead to check out the new team....
You're gonna like it here!
My name is Scout, and I'll be your guide today - just follow me!
And they checked out their neighbour, Roscoe the Farm Pig, who kindly kept his distance and behaved himself (for once!!! One day I will post the story I wrote in my pre-blog days about the day we built Roscoe a pen).
Hmmm...new neighbours....I hope they like me!
We added their familiar blankets and some of the straw from their old stall to the fresh straw in the two great houses Janice had prepared for them, and I sat inside coaxing them to join me.
Foster Mama, dat you in there?
I'll be brave and check it out!
Soda and the youngsters checked out the houses, but Scotch kept his distance. Fortunately I had brought his teddy bear along - the one I bought him the night he shed tears after being seperated from Soda while she gave birth. Two years later, he still frequently cuddles his bear or drags it around when Soda is giving him the cold shoulder.
Teddy waits for ScotchCuriously, the boy piggies started acting in a way I hadn't seen before - challenging each other with bristles raised and body slams. Perhaps it was just coincidence and reflected their maturity, or perhaps it was the stress, but most likely it was all my fault..... a Sugar High from too many sweets! Oops!
I'll show you who's boss!
We distracted them with fresh hay and they all chowed down.
Janice gets to know them This is O-Kay!But moving is an exhausting experience (as I am personally finding out!) and it wasn't long before Soda found a spot in the sunshine and settled down for a nap.
You tired, Mama Soda?
A nice sunny corner under the tree
All tuckered outA couple of days after the move, Janice reported that one of the youngsters had been crying. On Wednesday I visited them. Rob Roy, Whisper and Fizzy (who have always been my velcro-boys) came running up to me, and it broke my heart to see Rob Roy's tear-streaked face. I sat in the yard with them and chatted with them about the important job they have now as ambassadors and greeters. I watched as a tear or two slid down Whisper's cheeks too. But while I was talking and singing to them, Scotch came over and snuggled down right behind me, snoutie snuffling my back, oofing along to the sound of my voice. Soon my three "babies" followed Papa Scotch's example and relaxed, rolling over for belly rubs and a little snooze at my feet.
They are all settling in fine now, and they have had their first big adventure outside the pen into the acreage. Scotch has fallen in love with one of the horses, Dior, and has decided he will take his own sweet time returning to his pigyard when called, but the others have learned to come to Janice's call even when they have slipped away to the neighbour's yard. Good piggies - don't go far, and come back when called!
You can read all about their first week, and follow along with their adventures, at the relatively new Hearts on Noses blog - you'll find it here. (For those as computer illiterate as I am - put your curser over the word "here" and click - it will take you to the site. Then you can use the back arrow to return to this blog). Be sure to scroll down to catch the week's stories, and especially read the entry "We're freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!" which left me grinning from ear to ear. I do believe these little monkeys have already wormed their way into Janice's heart.
You're gonna have your hands full, Janice - some days you'll be wishing they all moved as slowly as Scotch! LOL