Happy Harley's Day, Valentine
Written by a visitor to the sanctuary who fell in love with Harley and sent us this story...
Harley rolled out of his mud hole to gobble down a very tasty peanut butter and popcorn sandwich. Judy knew this was his favorite food followed by a big bowl of milk to wash it down. Life was grand at the Pigs Peace Sanctuary. But Harley, the potbellied pig remembered the first three years of his life as being miserable. He was born in the big city and lived in a small apartment with five cats and four humans. He never knew his mother or family. There were no cool mud holes in the apartment to roll in. The cement floors hurt his hoofed feet. There were no other pigs to play with or explore for buried root plants. Harley always felt like he was missing out on something for all he knew was living in an apartment.
It was hard living in cramped conditions and this family was always struggling. But that is not all.... there was cruelty to this piglet. When he oinked for food he sometimes received a hurtful slap from his owners. If he oinked and squealed while playing with the cats he was screamed at to be still and quiet. It was not unusual to get kicked in his side while sleeping. The five cats, on the other hand, were always treated well. Harley noticed the difference in their treatment. Why were the cats treated so much nicer? So he watched, waited, learned from these cats every chance he got. For he had a lot of time to do nothing. Harley noticed the cats meowed softly when hungry, talking or playing. Sometimes a low meow sounded when they really wanted attention. The cats walked quietly and slept many hours while the owners were awake. Harley was smart and after several years he became a cat in his heart. He meowed, prowled at night, slept in secret places with the cats, drank and ate cat food and cleaned up after himself. He took on their personalities for Harley wanted peace and to be loved.
Many of the human families that lived in this apartment building did not like so many animals living close to them. They arranged for the city workers to come and remove the five cats and the pot-bellied pig from their city apartment. "oink-meow, oink-meow, oink-meow-meow-oink", Harley yelled as he and his cat friends were being chased to be put in the big white city van. Running as softly as he could he joined his cat friends in hiding. Soon they were discovered by the city workers and taken by van to a large building.
There were many animals in this shelter, mostly cats and dogs though. Because animals have keen noses they could sense and smell fear among each other. The fear was that they did not know why they were there or what would happen to them. Humans passed by often bringing them food and water or to just look at them. Sometimes a stranger would open a kennel door and take an animal with them, never to return. "where do they go?" Harley asked the cats. No one knew.
After many days and about 78 meals, a human stranger came to look Harley over. She opened the kennel door, bent down on one knee, an arms length away from Harley. She spoke softly. Her hand was stretched out for him to smell. Harley did not understand all the words but she smelled of dogs, cats, popcorn and pigs. She pressed her open hand against her heart while her blue rock candy colored eyes teared up. Harley understood. She said "Judy loves you and no one will ever hurt you again," over and over. "Meow-oink, meow, meow, meow oink" he responded, batting his long eyelashes. He thought she was a special kind of "Judy" human and walked closer to her. Judy reached to his belly to give a vigorous scratch and all Harley could do was fall over. He really liked this scratching!