Alley Animals - Newsletter

Summer_2002 Edition
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The Dumping Grounds

by Pat Dwyer
In This Issue:

It all started months ago when I was driving home and saw a kitten cowering next to the jersey barrier in the fast lane of the northbound Jones Falls Expressway. I didn’t know what to do but I couldn’t just keep going, so I slowed down and pulled over. With that, the kitten jumped the barrier and ran across all three southbound lanes; she disappeared in a small treed area where I lost track of her. On my way to work in the mornings I started leaving food and water there, hoping she’d find it.

One recent morning when I was there I saw what appeared to be a small black dog walking toward me along the inside of the guardrail. This must be a popular place to “dump” animals, I thought, as I grabbed a leash from the car. I hoped at least I could rescue this dog even though I’ve been stymied in my efforts with the kitten, and I know there must be other animals abandoned here to face certain death.

To my utter disbelief, the little black dog making her way toward me turned out to be a pot-bellied pig. I stood quietly as she came closer, but something spooked her; she looked at me before she took of running, and in that gently face I saw a frightened, lost soul. The only thing I could do now would be to put out food and hope she’d pick up the scent. All I had was cat food which I spread on the ground next to a container of water. I went to my car and waited.

Cat food is not ideal nourishment for pig, I knew, and I wondered if she’d show any interest in it. The poor thing must have been starving hungry because after a minute or two, she emerged from her hiding place and headed straight for the cat food. When she started to eat she got so excited that she jumped and squealed, and her little corkscrew tail wagged madly. It brought tears to my eyes.

I knew I couldn’t rescue this vulnerable creature on my own. I called John, a person always ready to help with an animal in crisis, and he offered his assistance without hesitating. We agreed to met Sunday afternoon. Armed with chopped apples, bananas, lettuce and whatever else we could think of that a pig might love to eat, we set out to locate and rescue her. After hours of working with the wary pig, we were disheartened to admit we’d have to wait until the following Sunday to try again.

Each day for the next week I left food and water for the pig. She learned to expect my arrival -- she would come running and grunting in anticipation of the banquet of fresh produce. I looked forward to Sunday when John and I would do our best to rescue the little black pot-bellied pig. On Saturday when I drove into town to put out food and water, to my horror the pig was peering through the guardrail looking very much as if she were about to venture onto the expressway. In a panic I called out “Kitty, kitty!” This is my usual way of announcing to animals who depend on me that I’ve left food and water for them. As soon as she heard my call, the pig came running toward me; she got as close as 5 feet before stopping. “Oh,” I thought, “tomorrow we will rescue you.”

On Sunday when I arrived with food supplies for the pig (as well as the other animals abandoned there), John was nowhere to be seen. I waited for a while, I put out food and called. I didn’t have to wait long before I realized that not only was John missing, so was the pig. I called, I looked around, I waited. Still no John and no pig. Finally, I drove home.

Imagine my joy when John called to say he got to the meeting place early and that he was able to get the pig into his van with the help of a policeman. John said the exhausted pig was sleeping soundly on a thick, soft blanket.

In the two weeks Piggy has been staying with John, she has shown herself to be an excellent house guest. Although (understandably) she doesn’t yet trust people enough to be handled, she absolutely loves going for walks with John and she gets along well with his dogs. We’re hoping to find a permanent home for this deserving creature who was discarded and left to die. If you have the room and the experience to care for a wonderful pot-bellied pig, please consider adopting her; she’s seen the worst in people; we want her to know the best, too.

Picture of Pot Bellied Pig
Piggy is a delightful companion;
she’s happy, playful, and always ready to go for another walk.



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