For the month of June 2012, Beading Divas to the Rescue is selling one-of-a-kind beaded bracelets to benefit the Ironwood Pig Sanctuary here in Tucson/Marana area. The Divas (for which I am one) usually sell $20 bracelets to benefit dogs and cats but we heard about the many good deeds of the Sanctuary which celebrated their 11th anniversary in May and have almost 600 pigs on their property.
Their mission statement: The Ironwood Pig Sanctuary is dedicated to eliminating the suffering of pot bellied pigs in Arizona and surrounding states by promoting spaying and neutering, assisting owners and other sanctuaries, and providing a permanent home in a safe, nurturing environment for those that are abandoned, abused, neglected, or unwanted.
I recently read The Good Good Pig by animal behaviorist Sy Montgomery and fell in love with pigs. I had no idea that pigs could be loving pets, were intelligent, liked massages, and craved human interaction. I could not put this book down as the writing was engaging. I laughed. I cried (at the end). I learned a great deal about animal husbandry and building community in a small New Hampshire town around a 700-pound porcine creature lovingly named Christopher Hogwood. Here’s a peek at the author’s humor:
When someone asks what she is going to do with her pig, she is tempted to inquire, “What are you going to do with your grandson?”
Locally, Chris Burke, owner of Clues Unlimited Mystery Bookstore currently has four pot-bellied pigs and one greyhound. In the City of Tucson, people can have up to four pot-bellied pigs on their property unless they live in a community limited by a HOA and CC&Rs.
Burke has joint custody of her pigs and visits them every Sunday. They are Halcon (her first pig) who is now 15, Sophie is 12, Jean-Paul is 7, and Emilie is 2 ½. Pot-bellied pigs usually live to 12 to 14 years of age.
I asked Burke what her fascination with pigs was and she said, “so cute when tiny babies.” But herein lies the problem; these babies grow up to be 200 pounds. She went on to say, “When you adopt a pig, it’s not like adopting a dog. It’s more like adopting a horse.”
Burke insists that her pot bellied pigs don’t eat much (unlike Christopher Hogwood who ate copious amounts of restaurant slops). Her pigs feast on one cup per day of a special formula pig chow plus red bran purchased at OK Feed & Supply. Her pigs like to relax in their wading pools, bark at strangers (no watch dog needed), and inadvertently have house trained the dogs.
But back at the Ironwood Pig Sanctuary, where there are hundreds of mouths to feed and like any non-profit organization, they are in perpetual fundraising mode. You can apply for a Visa credit card where a small percentage of your purchases go back to the Sanctuary.
Here is their wish list:
- Gift cards to Fry’s, Home Depot, Lowes, Office Max, Office Depot, Target, Amazon, Staples, or Petsmart
- VISA gift cards that can be used anywhere
- Used blankets
- Postage stamps
- Flaxseed capsules
- Ensure or equivalent – vanilla only
- Fig Newton cookies or equivalent – not individually wrapped
- Cranberry capsules – 2000 mg preferred
- Vitamin E capsules – 400IU
You can also buy beautiful one-of-a-kind bracelets made from donated beads. The entire sale of $20 goes directly to the pigs. In Tucson, you can buy bracelets at:
-Silver Sea Jewelry & Gifts, 330 N. 4th Avenue, 624-9954 (accepts cash/checks for bracelets)
-Clues Unlimited Mystery Book Store, 3146 E. Fort. Lowell Road (SE corner Country Club), 326-8533 (closed Sun/Mon – accepts credit cards/cash/checks for bracelets)
-Sissy’s Pet Grooming Salon, 7350 N. La Cholla Blvd (in Albertsons Shopping Center), 229-9898 – (accepts cash/checks for bracelets)
At the above locations, make checks payable to Ironwood Pig Sanctuary.
You can also buy bracelets online (add $5.50 S&H) via Etsy.
Here are some famous pigs:
- Arnold – Appeared on the CBS comedy Green Acres from 1965-1971; buried in the Hollywood Hills
- Porky – His popularity was overshadowed by Daffy Duck
- Miss Piggy – Started as a minor character on the Muppet Show but quickly rose to stardom
- Babe – Box office sensation in 1995, sequel flopped
- Wilbur – While Charlotte the spider was amazing, Wilbur was more loveable
(Photos are courtesy of IPS: Pickles and her companion Wiggy came to the pig sanctuary on March 19, 2011. She is about 7 years old and lived in Phoenix with Wiggy and many other animals. Her previous owner was in an accident and would not be able to walk for many months, so she was placing her animals and her neighbor was helping with their care. Pickles is shy but if you approach quietly she does like to be petted.
The Peoria rescue pigs came to the Sanctuary April of 2008 and they have grown up here. After a monsoon storms this adorable photo was snapped with all the Peoria pigs squeezed in the shelter. Perhaps safety in numbers?)