He was picked up as a neglect case. No one wanted him. No one could see beyond the sad condition that he was in. No one wanted a pig that was not social. He was to be euthanized, put out of his misery, the misery that was his life.
No one could see beyond the empty look in his eyes. No one but us.
We looked in his eyes and promised him a new life. We saw 'someone' deserving kindness. I've seen it so many times I just want to break down and cry for these victims of the pet industry whose lives end up as years of neglect, confinement and boredom.
It's the physical signs of neglect most people notice. The tusks grown so long its difficult to eat and hooves grown twisted and gnarled making walking painful. These neglected animals don't walk because they learned long ago that there is nowhere to go, that life is lonely, empty and dull.
Bubba also suffers from a severe fungal infection. Imagine a cottage cheese like fungus thickly growing between the nail and foot. Plus his hooves are now permanently damaged from years of fungal infection.
The emotional scars of neglect are the deepest. When he first came to the sanctuary he showed no interest in anything, not even food. He would sleep for days, his body malnurished, still believing that there is no reason to get up as there never was one before.
As we welcome Bubba to a new life, a full life -it's like watching someone slowly wake up after years of sleeping. It's wonderful to witness. Many times a day special treats will be offered -the can't be beat peanut butter sandwich, apple slices, fresh leafy vegetables, soy milk and more.
For every one of these neglected pigs there is a slow awakening. When Bubba finally ventures out of bed he will discover others to meet and many places to explore -and always a gentle touch and a kind word. In a few months visitors will meet a friendly boy full of energy and enthusiasm.
They will never know how far he came. I will never forget.
Bubba's health has improved. He still has a fungal infection, but it's not as severe. As one of the senior pigs, Bubba is now living in the yard. He's fairly active, but less heat tolerant than many of the other pigs so on hot days he's one of the first ones to head for shade when the afternoon sun starts to really heat up.
Bubba is a joy to watch. He appears to walks very slowly, as if out for a stroll with no particular destination in mind -but if you look away he'll be gone when you look back.