Help the pigs

Winter 1997



By Kate Reardon
Herald Writer

ARLINGTON - One day soon, Grace will be able to do something she hasn't been able to do for years.

She'll stretch out on her stubby pig legs and stand up on all four to take her first steps in a long time.

Her ankles may wobble a little at first, but with time, Grace should be strutting around as if she owns the place.

There was no miracle working involved in this feat, just a few animal lovers.

Judy Woods, who runs the nonprofit Pigs Peace Sanctuary in Arlington, said she couldn't believe her eyes when she first saw Grace last weekend.

The 155 pound Vietnamese potbellied pig was a mess, Woods said. Grace's hooves were extremely overgrown; wax brimmed in her ears; manure was caked on various places on her body; and her skin was as scaly as a snake. Grace has been ordered to lose about 20 pounds to get her to a more normal size.

Like a ram's horns, Grace's hooves twisted, curled and came to a rounded point at the ends. Her hooves were so overgrown she could not walk, Woods said.

Woods has rescued more than 45 potbellied pigs in the past few years.

Some of her rescues include a pig that was left in a closet without food, water or human contact; a pig that had been thrown out of a moving vehicle; and a pig that had never seen grass or dirt because it had been living in an apartment in Chicago, she said.

Woods said last week she got a call from a King County animal shelter worker asking her to take Grace, who had been living with an older woman in her south Seattle home. The pig apparently lived in a pool of manure, said Woods, adding she's not sure what led to Grace's condition.

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Grace could barely walk because of the length of her hooves

Grace's hooves before the procedure