Eric the piglet was born and raised at a pumpkin patch petting zoo that was also a pig farm and vegetable stand. Together with his newborn siblings and mother, he was kept in a barn that could be entered by children who were allowed to pick the babies up and take their photos. These are the kinds of conditions that thousands of pigs and other farm animals have to live in, even though the stress connected to such treatment is far too much for the animals to handle. In many of these animals’ cases, including Eric’s, injuries are common, making it almost impossible for the baby animals to function properly and even survive. Fortunately, Eric’s time in the petting zoo came to an end fairly quickly – and he started his new life at Farm Sanctuary!
The piglet’s injury likely happened when someone stepped on one of his back legs. As a result, Eric was unable to stand on his own – and was left on the floor of the barn, trampled by other piglets. An infection in his leg spread into the joint – which was almost a death sentence for a tiny piglet like him.
Luckily, a compassionate mother and child noticed Eric’s condition and spoke with the farm owner. What they heard from the farmer was that Eric “was too far gone” and would be dead by the end of the day – and, if not, he would end up killing him himself.
The family did not give up on the neglected baby animal and asked if they could take Eric with them. Knowing that the piglet needed urgent medical treatment, they contacted Farm Sanctuary.
When Eric arrived at their New York Sanctuary, his legs were examined – and he was rushed to Cornell University Veterinary Hospital where radiographs confirmed the rescuers’ suspicion of infection in the joint.
Eric’s little joint was flushed and injected with antibiotic beads. He got pain medications and was brought home right away to continue his treatments there – because of how scared he was.
Injured and still on milk feeds, Eric was kept very close to the shelter offices with lots of warm blankets so that he could be monitored at all times.
Soon, he fell in love with his caregivers and developed a special relationship with a cat named Azrielle as well as with … a Gund stuffed pig.
After weeks of treatment, the piglet was allowed outside where he met his first piggy friend, Jane, with whom he then became almost inseparable.
Now, Eric is all grown up…
…but really he is still that sweet little pig that first came into the sanctuary.
As his carers write, Eric loves everyone and wants to snuggle all the time. He suffers from leg issues, which are common in industrial pig breeds, but his condition is probably a congenital issue. He needs medication for his body to be less achy – but he does not mind. After all, thanks to his initial rescuers and the sanctuary, he now has what must seem like heaven on earth! And he lets his caregivers know how much he appreciates it every single day.
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All image source: Animals of Farm Sanctuary