Friday, October 31, 2014

A Day at the Piggy Sanctuary

Open the door!  I know you put
more treats in there!
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

[It is Hallowe'en and sounds like a war zone outside.  No big deal to Mitzi and Shiloh (who doesn't understand why I'm not taking her for her evening walk), but a nightmare for Anxious Eddie.   We have been steadily bombarded by fireworks from all sides since early this evening; now, at well after ten, they have reached a frenzy.   So, with the music up and the lights dimmed, we are hunkered down in my office near the back of the house, where I have nothing much to do but edit photos and put up a rather tardy blog. ] 

'Way back around the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, I spent a few days on the mainland.  One of those days was spent at Hearts on Noses Mini Pig Sanctuary, for whom I once fostered a family of twelve piggies. They still remember me.  As soon as Janice, the owner, let me through the gate and closed it firmly behind me, the first familiar face appeared:

Foster Mama!  You're here!

Followed by two more,
We know that voice!

And then the whole herd.
About time you came to see us!

My three velcro pigs, who used to follow me around the farm and always squealed their greetings when I arrived home from work, were the first to come running over. [You can read one of my tales about them here.] Fizzy, Whisper and Rob Roy knew I'd have treats - which, of course, I did.

She brought peanuts!

We luvs our ol' foster mama!
Okay, we luvs peanuts!

Soda, their mama, wasn't far behind, nor their sister Lizzy - followed by Scotch, Spritzer, Toddy, Tom, Rickey, Derby and Swizzle.  I can't tell them all apart any more - after all, ten of them were just half-grown 20-month-old piglets when they left my care, and they are now full grown seven year old pigs. But they still know me! Lizzy, the only girl of the litter, had been one of the most aloof when I fostered, but on this day she made her presence known by sticking close and smilin' pretty:

I'm happy to see you foster mama!
Remember me? I'm Lizzy!
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

I interrupted my snack for you, foster mama!
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

I spent the next several hours  rubbing bellies, doling out treats, scooping poop, and - of course - taking photos.  I won't offend them by saying they are all hams, but they sure know how to play up to the camera!
And not just my twelve, but several of the other residents at the sanctuary too:

(c) Jean Ballard 2014

(c) Jean Ballard 2014

 Rose and Roscoe, the big farm pigs, remembered me too.  Rose came running - not a common sight to me - and showed me her lovely ear feathers:

Hi Auntie Jean!
Didya bring me sumthing?
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

I'll wiggle my ear feathers for you!

After a few treats, she was ready for a nap, head resting against the gate:

Roscoe, my buddy from my pen-building days (see here for that story!), came running over too:

Hey!  Auntie Jean!
Are you here to play with me?

Roscoe:  Open this gate, willya?
Me:  Just a minute, Roscoe - there's a wire
sticking out.

Thanksf for fixin' that wire, Auntie Jean.
I might have hurt myself on it.
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

Lacey the horse surprised me the most.  In the past, it was Janice's other horse Dior who always greeted me, looking for the apple she knew I would bring.  Lacey stayed further away and had to be coaxed over.  But sadly, Dior passed away recently, and to my surprise, Lacey showed no hesitation at seeking out an apple from me:

Lacey was also in cahoots with the three little pigs - they somehow coerced her to knock the bird feeder down for them:

Pigs:  C'mon Lacey, you can do it!

Just huff and puff and
knock the house down!

Plastic houses are better than
straw, sticks or brick -
at least when they are full of seed!

A few more random photos of the critters at Hearts on Noses:

Sheer bliss!

Which of these things
is not like the others?

Janice passing out peanuts
Lying down for a belly rub.....

Lotsa belly to be rubbed!

Hey, get up, it's my turn!
I think he's comatose.
Bellyrubs will do that to ya!

But my favourite shot of the day was not of a pig, but of a dog.  I snapped it shortly after I arrived.  Chilko had been patiently watching me unload fruit and veggies from the car and carry them to the storage shed, pour peanuts into a bucket and start passing them out to the pigs, rub bellies and scratch piggy ears.  But the dog treats I'd brought with me were still in the car. As I handed yet another peanut to a pig, I heard a sigh and glanced over to see this:

No caption needed.  The expression says it all!
(c) Jean Ballard 2014

It was a great visit, and - yes - Chilko got his treats.


Janice Gillett said...

Loved seeing you here Jean, please do a sleep over next time!!

Marie said...

So happy to see another posting this morning and it looks like you were well received on the mainland.
The picture of Chilko really made me smile, as you said, no caption needed.
All our four legged friends are so appreciated.

Anonymous said...

What a great post Jean and great pictures.


Sheryl said...

I'm so happy to see piggy pictures and catch up with how they are doing. I've really missed all the stories you used to tell about them when you were fostering them.