By: Lana Hollenback
When I got my first potbellied pig, I had little or no knowledge of what the plight of the potbellied pig was. In no way could I have imagined what was happening and how bad things were for such a sweet, loveable animal that had stolen my heart. But it didn’t take long until I was right in the middle of it all and trying to help in some small way. Still, it took years for me to fathom the extent of the problem and how big it would become and where it was going.
As the years passed, more and more potbellied pigs were needing homes, and homes were becoming harder and harder to find. At least good homes were, and still are, hard to find. More and more pigs are being dumped, abandoned, neglected or abused and ending up in shelters, rescues and sanctuaries. The numbers are staggering to say the least. Yet I am drawn to helping and even though I some times cringe when I open my e-mail or answer the phone, I know I can’t stop. I was raised with the old philosophy that it is better to try and fail, then to not try at all.
There are many days, or I should say nights, when sleep won’t come because of a pig or pigs that need homes and need them now. So it is way past time for looking at the problem and it is time to start looking at the solution. Yet what I’m hearing from so many good people and organizations is mind boggling. Some don’t have room; some don’t have time; some don’t have the resources; but the most staggering one of all that I am hearing is “It’s not my problem” or “It’s not the problem of our organization” and to this I want to respond.
There is no question that the pet pig is here to stay. No question that there will always be breeders. Some breeders will take responsibility while others won’t or don’t care and just keep breeding for the couple of dollars they make off them. It is the breeders that just don’t care or the ones we call the “backyard” breeder that are the biggest part of the problem. Yet, if we all sit back and say “It is not my problem”, nothing will be done and nothing will change.
I have worked for years in prison ministry. One thing I learned early on was a saying that was thrown around, inside and outside of prison, and that was the definition of a fool.
Fool – A person that keeps doing the same thing, expecting a different result each time.
Well, if you are doing the same thing, you will always get the same results. So it is true of rescuers who work so hard to place the pig. If we keep rescuing and neutering and spaying and placing, that is just what we will keep doing. So we have to find ways and try new ways of helping or finding the right solution. It is not enough to sit back and say “It is not our problem.” It is time to explore new ways and try new things to put an end to the insanity. Time to find new ways of doing things or new ways of slowing down the breeding and putting backyard breeders out of business. If we just sit back and say “It is not my problem”, nothing is ever going to change except, of course, for the worse. More and more pigs will be born, abandoned, neglected, dumped and abused and soon, when no homes can be found, many will meet an untimely death by euthanasia.
What’s the answer? Well here is where we start.
We begin by tearing down the fences that some have built around other rescues and sanctuaries and people. We let bygones be bygones and work for the pig, putting the pig first. There will never come a time when we will all do things alike. We are all independent and have our own ideas of how to do things and to get things accomplished. But we cannot let that keep us from working with others and accepting their ideas and ways and means. Gone are the days when we can afford to hold grudges against other rescuers that are working full-time to help the pet pig. If you hold grudges, you become part of the problem, just like the backyard breeders because you narrow your working field and that narrows the help you could offer the next pig that needs help.
We need to get our heads up out of the sand and realize that the problem is “our problem.” And if it is “Our Problem” then we need to work together for the good of the pet pig that is drowning in neglect, abandonment and abuse. IT IS YOUR PROBLEM! We can no longer afford to sit on the side lines alone and say it is not the problem of our organization or my problem.
It is time to pull together and find and explore new ways of helping. Just because it hasn’t been tried before doesn’t mean it won’t work. We can all write letters, make phone calls and do follow ups. The need is great and the workers are few. It is your PROBLEM! Fix it. Or at least try. The pigs deserve so much more then they are getting. It is the problem of every breeder, breeder registry, service organization, educational organization, rescue, sanctuary and pet owner.