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Barn Dog: Wilbur

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For this issue, we’ve expanded the definition of a Barn Dog. Meet Wilbur, Georgina Bloomberg’s rescued pet pig.

Photo Brian Smith

I rescued Wilbur from a Bergen County, N.J., animal shelter. After hurricane Sandy, I volunteered there because of the overwhelming number of homeless animals left by the storm. They introduced me to Wilbur the pig, and explained that they were uncertain of where he came from or his background.

I learned that there are many pigs that need to be rescued. It seems that people often buy cute little piglets as pets, and then drop them off at rescues or send them to slaughter because—surprise—they grow up into full-sized pigs.

DSC_0847-2It’s nap time for Wilbur in his cozy pig bedroom.

The woman who ran the pound was paying from her own pocket to keep Wilbur alive while she waited for the right home. Although she had offers from upstate farms to take him, she realized that he was more of a pet than a farm animal. She could tell that he wanted love, and shouldn’t be sent off to a farm.

I knew absolutely nothing about pigs; I never wanted a pig. But after I met Wilbur, I thought, OK, I can give this a shot. I have space. If he wants to live in a barn he can live with the horses, and if he wants to be a pet he can live inside with the dogs and me.

Now Wilbur has his bed in his own little “pig room” at my home. He comes to the barn in the morning, and then goes back to the house and takes his nap before dinner. He’s completely housebroken and has never had an accident in the house—something I can’t say for my dogs! He never digs in the garden like you’d expect. He’s cleaner, better-behaved, and lower maintenance than any of my dogs. Wilbur is incredibly smart, very charismatic, and makes us laugh every day.

He even wags his tail when he’s happy.

DSC_0889-2Wilbur and his friend Hugo head out to the barn.

We held an ASPCA Adoption Day at the Hampton Classic to get the word out about rescuing pigs. If you’d like to know more, there are many pig rescue organizations around the country. Two of my favorites are are farmsanctuary.org and Janice Skura’s Pig Rescue.

Anyone looking for a fun pet should consider a pig. They’re an especially good option for people who have allergies to cats or dogs. For me, having a pig was a great surprise! Wilbur’s been a great addition to my family.

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