Our Belief - Every Animal Deserves a Great Life
Meet our animals in the sanctuary in Sonoma County. The kids at When Pigs Fly Ranch are part of a family of animals that would have nowhere else to go. This is their forever home, and they get treated like pets. Our goal is that no matter what their circumstance, they all have an abundance of the love, shelter, food, and happiness that they deserve.
Fellow animal rescuer and now our Board President, Deirdre, called me one day in 2017 and said she was doing a rescue dog transfer in Fresno, CA, and Animal Care and Control there had picked up a young potbelly pig. The dog rescue group didn't know what to do, but Deirdre to the rescue! Within a minute, I said we would take the pig, and that's how she got her name. She was about four months old when she came to us and such a cutie! She weighed about 40 pounds then, and now she's a big, grown girl. One of her funniest traits is how she screams when it's feeding time – what a noise! She is playful, sweet, and loving, her favorite foods are tomatoes and apples, and she loves chasing her buddy Hamilton around.
Fresno’s story took a really rough turn in December of 2018 when she contracted pneumonia with a very high fever. As a result of the fever, she developed a terrible and rare skin ailment which our vet called “fever strike”, which caused her skin to literally burn off her body. We went through a rough few months together, with me having to remove the dead skin and treat her wounds, which were like 3rd-degree burns over her entire back – snout to tail. To say it made us closer is an understatement. I’ve never had to do something like that to an animal, so it took all the courage I could muster. But seeing how she stuck it out and truly appreciated all the love and care I gave her made my heart so happy, and our bond so strong. She eventually grew back a thin layer of new skin, which still requires daily treatment, but she lives a very happy life, still running around and spooning with her pen mate Hamilton.
Fresno and Marybeth during a “fever strike” treatment
Tito was in really rough shape when he came to us. He was mostly blind, very malnourished, and had some neurological issues. He was removed from a horrible situation of mistreatment by a couple who couldn't stand to see him suffer. They estimated his age to be 4 or 5, and he was about half the size he should have been for that age. But – he was, and is, one of the most loving, trusting, and wonderful pigs we've ever met! Tito blossomed into a true gentleman within a few weeks of a good diet, medical care, and a LOT of love. The photo here shows him meeting his now pen-mate, Bubba. They are buddies!!
Bubba came to us from a family who had him for four years from a piglet. While he was a loving young man, he became aggressive to the family, who became concerned because of their small children. They called us, and we brought Bubba to When Pigs Fly Ranch. With patience and lots of love, he has become a wonderful, sweet pig in a very short time! He's trusting and loves back scratches. We're thankful to his family for trusting us with his care.
Piggy is the inspiration for When Pigs Fly Ranch, so she has a very special place in our hearts. She was captured as a wild piglet as a companion for another wild pig that was rescued when he was attacked by coyotes and lost a leg. Piggy was a loyal companion until the tripod pig died, and she was left alone. We met her and reached out to her owner about giving her a new forever home. They said yes, and Piggy got new digs, and When Pigs Fly Ranch was born! Piggy is a diva at heart! She is mellow but wants lots of attention, especially when she’s in the mood for a belly rub! She indulges in long naps in the sun and can’t get enough of the wallow when it’s hot.
Wesley came to us from a family who had been raising pigs for meat. When they made the decision to stop, they had a 9-month old male and his father but could only keep one. When they found out about When Pigs Fly Ranch, they brought the 175-pound baby named Wesley to live out his life at the sanctuary with Piggy. Since he came to live with us, he has grown into a gentle giant. He currently weighs 789 pounds!! And is four years old. He's a big boy with a big heart. He loves to have his back scratched and will roll over for a belly rub instantly. He runs and plays like a puppy, knows his name, and comes running when he's called. He's our star pig for sure!!
Oh, Monsieur Pierre! What a sweet, wonderful boy you are. Pierre was found as a wild piglet and raised by a very loving woman who loved and cared for him like a pet. When she found herself unable to keep him, she reached out to us, and we immediately took him in. Pierre LOVES to be scratched and have his belly rubbed. He thinks he's a big dog because he will run up to us and lean on our legs, waiting for scratching. His favorite food is pears, but he's also a fan of most fruits. C'est Bien!
When we rescued Fresno, we knew she was such a social girl that she would do best with a companion, so we researched pot bellies in need of rescue and found Hamilton through the California Pot Belly Pig Association. He was about 14 months when we got him, and he and Fresno became best friends instantly. And – they look alike!
Here are just some of the chickens we took in when our neighbors at their bed and breakfast asked us to help out. Their flock was being decimated by raccoons, so we moved them all to our aviary/chicken shed, and they are a big, happy family!