Saturday, November 15, 2008

Extreme Makeover: Piggy Edition!

A blog fundraiser for Hearts on Noses

Penny Pig in her makeshift house

On a small piece of land located between two rivers in Maple Ridge, B.C. lies a very special place. It is Hearts on Noses, a sanctuary for potbellied pigs. The Hearts on Noses sanctuary was started in 2002 by Janice Gillett, after she found Willy, an unkempt stray piggy, running around the property when she moved in. You can check out their website here and their new blog here.

Potbellied pigs were popular pets in the 1980s, but as so often happens, people who wanted to capitalize on the fad recklessly bred and sold piggies to customers who soon got tired of them, who lived in communities where they weren’t permitted, who didn't spay and neuter, and who didn’t take the time to learn about these funny, fascinating, and incredibly smart animals.

And so Hearts on Noses grew, and grew, and grew as people abandoned, abused, neglected, and dumped their pigs. Hearts on Noses currently has 31 pigs in residence, and 12 more in foster care. A registered non-profit society operated by Janice and a small handful of volunteers, it is constantly stretched to the limits of financial and human resources.

Last week, two more pigs unexpectedly arrived. Four month old Jack was secretly dumped on the property while Janice was at her paid job; and a very obese, sore, and fat-blind Penny was abandoned when her owner sold their house and moved away. While Janice is used to having to take a tough stance and say “No, sorry, we are full!” these two left no option.

But Jack’s arrival took the only vacant house and pen, one left vacant by the passing of Teddy Bear a few months ago. And pigs can’t just be thrown in with another herd; they very much keep to their own families (and indeed may fight with others) and the pigs who are social with others already have bunkmates.

Although Janice has frequently taken pigs into her own house, Penny’s health and extreme obesity makes it impossible for her to get in and out with the agility needed to live comfortably in human territory. And so Penny is temporarily housed in a very makeshift area of the carport. That will not be sufficient for her permanent needs, nor even for this coming winter. A warm, winterproof, rainproof pig-sized home and securely fenced personal yard will run close to $1500 for materials and labour.

Mylifewiththecritters is therefore initiating a blog fundraiser. I am asking my readers to make a donation, no matter how small, to help Penny get her house. But I am also asking all of my readers with blogs to copy this entry and post it on THEIR blogs, and to ask their readers to copy the entry and post it on THEIR blogs, and so on, and so on, and so on.

Since the house needs to be built as soon as possible and certainly before the cold weather sets in, I’m setting a goal of raising $1500 in one month – by December 15th, 2008. Each Saturday, I will post a progress report.

If Ty can produce a home for humans in a week, surely we can produce a home for one lone piggy in a month. We want Penny in her new home for Christmas. After all, every pig needs a place to hang her stocking.

Please help make this dream come true – help Penny get a home for Christmas.

To donate, go to the Hearts on Noses website at and click on the “To Donate” icon.


Janice Gillett said...

You dear freind, in so many ways you have really sacrificed so much for the pigs there and now here too!

Thank you very very much!!!!!!!!

turtlegardens said...

I posted this entry on my blog. Hope Penny has a new home soon! I wish I could do more. Yvette

Jean said...

Thanks, Yvette - you have a huge number of followers, judging by all the traffic that clicks on my blog from the link on yours!

As for doing more, I know darn well how very, very full your hands are with all the wonderful dogs you care for up there!!

Black Jack's Carol said...

Beautifully written, Jean. I'll copy the link to this post on today's blog entry, and will definitely make a donation, as soon as I can get my paypal account straightened out. (Only used it once, more than a year ago, so address and phone now different and must get forgotten password changed).

Jean said...

Thanks Carol. There is also an option on the donation site to pay by cheque or money order. Submitting your name and email address will result in a return email with the snail mail address.