Welcome to two-year-old Mamie, the newest member of Cooperative for Human Services’ small animal therapy team, based at Jackson Farm. Along with Rambo the rabbit and our three new baby guinea piglets, April, May and June, Mamie is a one-of-a-kind Vietnamese pot bellied pig. She epitomizes the values of CHS — a gentle, friendly being who is working to achieve a fulfilling and inspiring life that encompasses community and healthy lifestyle.
As a baby, Mamie was shipped from her breeders in Texas to live with a family in Franklin, MA. Unfortunately, her owners did not know how to care for a pot bellied pig, so she was not given outdoor space to exercise, root, or wallow, and was fed doughnuts, cookies, and fast food. At 200 pounds, her owners could no longer keep her, so they brought her to the MSPCA’s Nevins Farm in September 2018 to wait for a new, forever home. This is where CHS stepped in.
On Tuesday, January 22, 2019, CHS farm staff brought Mamie to her new home https://www.boston.com/news/animals/2019/01/24/amy-pig-mspca-adopted in a cozy, pig-outfitted stall in the big barn at Jackson Farm. She bravely withstood single-digit temperatures on her very first weekend with us, burrowed under the hay inside a tent of blankets that we added for extra insulation. On Friday the sun finally shone and our Mamie ventured out of the barn to explore her new home. She wandered over to the goats and hens, snorting and sniffling, comfortably spending time with the other animals. She lingered in the field, seeming to delight in the warmth of the sunshine.
Mamie and all of us at CHS have some work to do to help this special pig: She came to us 80 pounds overweight. The extra fat makes it hard for her to move, makes her depressed and lethargic, taxes her organs, joints, and systems, and obstructs her vision. We have committed to supporting her to address her special needs, with appropriate food, plenty of outdoor space to root, wallow, and roam, and daily piggy aerobics with farm staff or any residents or guests who come by and want to participate.
The barn door is open all day and she has the entire field to roam in; hens, goats, bunnies, guinea pigs, staff, residents, and guests to visit; and a warm stall to return to at night. The more she can exercise, the sooner her health will improve. The more company, the happier our friendly pig will be. Soon she’ll be able to enjoy a healthy pig lifestyle, and will add so much to our animal therapy program.
We intend to walk with her to help her regain her health, to scratch her behind the ears, or to toss a ball back and forth with her. She’ll reward you with a wagging tail, a shiver of excitement, rolling over so you can rub her belly, and the affection and attention that make Vietnamese pot bellied pigs such good pets, loyal friends, and well-trained therapy animals.