Guest Post: Dr. StrangeRescuer or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Pain.

Posted in Day-to-day, Philosophy at 12:27 am by ACR&S

As most of the readers of this blog know, ACR&S is based in NC, but I’m up in Wisconsin. I do the email/website/admin stuff and the Sanctuary work, but the greater burden of daily rescue work down in NC is done by the Amazing Jenn. She joined us first as a random stranger interested in pigs, then as a foster home/adopter, and is now the boss of everything in NC.

Jenn’s been flying solo for just over a year now, and recently I asked her how she was handling all of it. This is what she said:

All the traveling is kind of a pain in the ass — but on the other hand, I think it’s good to be there at the home to let the pigs settle in. It’s amazing how people can sound great on paper, and look great in pictures, and then you get there and they’re feeding a seed mix. Or they’re just doing something really stupid because they didn’t have someone to tell them any different. On the other hand, I feel we’re succeeding because 90% of our adoptive homes, even with the really stupid added in, are probably better than where the pigs would end up if left in the shelter, since we have screened these folks to a degree and educated them somewhat.

I do feel like I’ve become more cynical. I feel like what we’re aiming for is not so much perfect care, but just somebody that gives a damn and will try their best. More and more, I think we are just trying to buy a good death. Someone who doesn’t let the pig die after a week of starvation because they didn’t know pigs went to the vet, but who will let them die at the vet, or after having had a course of antibiotics and Critical Care. I haven’t lost belief that good husbandry is important, because I do think everything deserves as optimal a life as possible… but on the other hand, GL is full of people giving near optimal husbandry and still beset with bladder stones, heart problems, etc.

The worst part of the traveling is the money. Gas is expensive. I would love to get a mountain person and a beach person to anchor rescue branches in that area. I dread driving to Charlotte tomorrow to pull that sow. Three hours one way. Yeesh. But that’s about the worst of it. On the other hand, I LOVE driving to Virginia. I love the Bojangles’ restaurant that looks like a houseboat. I like meeting pig people, overall. Most are pretty nice. I really liked meeting Vicki at Cave Spring, she’s super-nice, and very unassuming. And her pigs are always ridiculously friendly. And potato shaped.

Probably the toughest part is being the only rodent person down here. People really thinks I’m silly when I insist on quarantines for animals, vet checks, or insist on helping people bond two pigs, etc. Dog and cat people just seem to have it easier. But cavy adopters are ridiculous, and flip out at the least bit of rumbling. Good thing they don’t have big pigs: Penny [head of the local pot belly pig rescue, and an ACR&S foster parent] says they just have to let them fight until they stop, and then go stitch both of them up.

Long rambling short, the work is simultaneously very rewarding (I left Popcorn and Peanut’s adoption and sat in the car and cried because it was such a good home), and the most depressing thing I’ve ever been involved with (I left the home of one surrender where the children *cheered* as their shit-caked, starving, mite-infested pigs left, and had to pull over and cry there, too).

A huge gold star and a big hug to Jenn for shouldering this incredible burden. Anyone who wants to contribute some gas money or Bojangles’ gift certificates, it would be much appreciated!

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