Lurch – the rescue piglet

I honestly don’t know if Lurch, the little rescue pig who has difficulty walking ,is getting any better.  Every hour or so I get her up and stand her and walk her about so she exercises her muscles but she still falls almost immediately until she warms up then falls every few steps. After a while she can walk a little way without falling and loves to stand in  a puddle for a while.  I imagine she is looking sturdier then realise that much of this is wishful thinking.

dog and pig

dog and pig


She has a wee enclosure right next to Molly’s piglets and somehow manages to get herself right up against the pig panel so she can sleep next to them. They pat her nose with their noses as they rush past.  She is happy there feeling part of the play I am sure, often I find one sleeping right next to her – touching through the wire panel.

This is her favourite for day time sleeps so I leave her out there as long as I can in the night until the mosquitoes get to me. But after dark the mossies are ferocious. All my life they have seldom bitten me – it is a family joke – but this variety has not read that particular memo. So at night Lurch sleeps in his big blanket on the rug by my bed with Boo.  Due to her proximity and quiet of the night last night without storms I have detected a wheeze in her breathing.

I have been wondering why I have chosen to put so much energy into the life of this little piglet. I just refuse to give up on her. She is so feisty and determined to rise when she falls, pulling her little head up  hard but her body will not follow.  She is nineteen days old now, drinks milk and water really well, and has ocassionally started catching herself before she falls and lowering her rear onto the ground when she needs to rest but she cannot get up off the ground unless I help her

She cannot survive without me and yes –  here she is –  beside the bed,  lying contented in her rug, sleeping.


I will make an appointment for her at the vet not because I think they can cure her but because I want to know why she is like this. Why four of the surviving litter were like this – initially I thought it was injury – now I wonder if Tahiti incubated a large number of deformed piglets then proceeded to kill them. And if her piglets did not grow properly in the uterus then why. I worried about her during their gestation. Do you remember? These are the questions I want answered in case there was something I got wrong during her pregnancy. Some kind of defciency. I know many sows get shots during their pregnancies, maybe this condition is one of the things they inoculate against.

Yet, none of the pig breeders I have spoken to have ever seen this. Most of them cage their sows at farrowing time so are able to save the babies very quickly when the sows begin to savage and then they put the babies in with another recently farrowed sow and they grow just fine – they do not see crippled or badly formed piglets like this.

I am not sure Lurch will live long enough to see the vet.  I work and work with her during the day but her body needs to move properly of its own volition for all the intersecting  functions of the body to work.  But I have not given up – we will continue with the piggy physio.  I am trying to be realistic but it is not working this time.

And the other survivors are an odd bunch, one is really tiny, one is huge and grey and hairless and ferocious, and one is a normal sized piglet but with a closed eye and no hair. They are noisy and fight all day. I have put a long drainage pipe in there so the little one can hide from her sisters.  It is small enough for her to dart down and the big one cannot fit.  I had to take their house out of their pen because the big ones kept trapping the little one down there and chewing on her. They have bitten her tail right off.  But they are all thriving and soon I will open their gate and let them run about the barn too.  They will do better when blended with Molly’s bunch. Molly’s mob have good manners so they can teach the new ones.  And we will watch the tiny one – see how she goes. If she gets harrassed I will hook her out and sell her on straight away.

Tahiti is in with Molly bossing her around as usual but at least Molly has company and another pig to sleep with. Tahiti will continue to grow and will be sold at the Sale Yards when Difficult goes across. This will coincide with Molly going in with Manu.

We all must remember that a short good life is as important and worthy as a long good life.  All animals here get considered,  and gentle care whether they are forever pets like Sheila or destined to be sold or for the table or just visiting.  Living or dying. They get the same gentle good treatment. I think  this little soul is destined for the short version of life –  I am fairly sure. And I am learning from having her close by. But for today we have more puddles for her to play in  so it is time for her and the dogs to get up and get on with the milking.

I am alone in my work again today as Nick is still on Days Off –  lots to do.

Much love





55 Comments on “Lurch – the rescue piglet

  1. That sky, I think, captures how your words seem to feel. I am so glad there are folks in the world like you.

  2. I don’t suppose it’s common practice to tell someone you’ve never met that you love them, in a comments lounge. But I do love you. And your instinct and determination to make every life a good one is why. Thank you for being who you are, and chiding the struggles you chose.

    • I agree with your sentiment & willingness to say it, Charlotte. I have come to love you Celi too, your courage & strength, your large heart, your wisdom, your feistiness & grit, your wit & talent. I most love your kindness to all the animals in your care. You are a great farmer & human being. I know your decision for Lurch will be what’s best for the dear little soul, as it has been for all the others. Thank you for sharing your life & their’s with us.

      • Do I really have to chime in on this? If you don’t know that I love you by now, all is lost. Smooches, Your Gayle

        • Another adoring fan here! I love that all your animals (and people) are treated with respect.

  3. For such a tiny creature, she’s fighting a titanic battle. A short life, perhaps, but one filled (after the first short while) with thoughtful, considered, gentle care, and hope. And the love of Boo, which cannot be underestimated.

  4. Boo Nanny in his element again. Love the kissing cousins and sure admire your tenacity 🙂 Laura

  5. I can see the logic in that way of thinking..I think!….We know how much you care for your animals  and that what happened is rare and unusual but I cannot see that it is in any way your fault, in any way at all… Since their rather ferocious entry into the world you have tended their every need…I do not think that even God could have done better ( and for me to say that )…so whatever will be ..will be and thats all there is to it  

    Sent: Sunday, August 28, 2016 at 2:40 PM

    • I’m sorry I should have made that point clearer – if it is MY fault I can fix it – ‘no fault of mine means I have no power in the situation at all. I would RATHER this were my problem, then I can fix it. Not knowing the cause will only raise the chances of it happening again. i do not want this to happen again.. c

  6. You will know what to do if and when when the time comes. Lurch seems to want to live, but there’s a big difference between being a wobbly baby and a huge grown up pig. Obviously a large pig can’t be carried or sit on a skateboard like an injured cat or dog.
    I wondered if the problem is something like spina bifida – when I Googled it and included the word pig a few topics did come up and apparently it does happen in animals as well as people. I hope that helps 🙂

  7. It would be great to hear from the vet her thoughts as to what may have happened with this litter. Hearing how odd the other piglets are, compared to Molly’s, seems to point to something different happening in the uterus. And I do remember you mentioning several times that you felt no movement of the piglets in Tahiti, even a few weeks before her farrowing. So odd.

  8. Another informative and important post for all of us to learn and understand from. Your words reflect what I sometimes must face with wildlife as well. I do what I can for as long as I can. The animal or bird has always made the choice to live or die, thankfully. And of course, there is still so much we do not know or understand about animals. I once had a mourning dove that had a neck injury as a hatchling. I believe the mother booted it from the nest for this reason. Its head hung to the side and it wobbled around unbalanced. Then one day, weeks later, the dove’s head was sitting just right! We never could explain what happened. Just when I thought I would have a pet dove, it showed me it could heal itself. I am curious to see what the vet might offer. By the way, FD and I are very happy to know that we finally have a local vet who is willing to help us with wildlife (as long as we are licensed by the state). He was a great help when Ronnie had to be stitched up from getting in the teeth of the combine. I can’t tell you how glad I am to know I have close help should I need it. His whole staff are very supportive people.

    • I am so glad you have found a vet, that must be such a relief. Just as my vet seems to be veering off towards the smaller animals and we pig people have such a time getting to see him now. But I hear tell of another new vet in a close town who works with COWS and pigs so i am going to seek him out. c

      • James Herriot to the rescue? Oh, would that he could. Much love, Your Gayle

  9. I think your hunch about there being some sort of birth defects affecting the piglets. I am worried that putting the badly behaved ones with Molly’s piglets that the will bite and injure them. I don’t know pigs. Are they too little to hurt the bigger ones? I hope they won’t and they could benefit from good behaviour training.

      • They won’t hurt the bigger ones, it will do them good to be in with a bigger lively pack. It is only the tiny runt who may be too little but I will be watching out for her – not for a few days yet though – I let them smell each other through the bars until they are used to each other first.

  10. I hope that you will have the opportunity to take wee Lurch to the vet. It would be a great comfort for you, and perhaps make this struggle less heartbreaking if you did learn that Tahiti really wasn’t a monster.

  11. I could not improve on any of the above sentiments, and I do recall your saying that Tahiti’s color was “off”…not right. She seemed pale.

  12. Yes, everyone has said much of what I’ve been thinking also. Just one thing though, is it possible the two rescues who are nasty might be in pain and that could be what’s causing them to be so nasty? I have wondered about poor Lurch as well, but then he seems fine as long as someone is tending him. But now the wheezing; it’s all very confusing. Well, best of luck with the vet visit. It sure would be good to get some light on this situation. Hope you have a good day. ~ Mame 🙂

    • No they are not in pain – just bored – I have extended their pen to the corridor today and they are wearing themselves out running up and down checking other pigs through the gates – much better. I could not do this until I was sure they were healthy

  13. I agree with you C. that getting some answers will definitely help you to prevent this from ever happening again. As in all successes and failures, the learning process never ends, nor should it. Some things in nature just can’t be explained but if they can, we should all make that effort, just as you are doing. And as always, you are giving this little creature a fighting chance and a gentle life whether it will be a short one or not, just as you do with all the animals in your care.
    You are an inspiration to all of us…

  14. Just catching up so comment on yesterday’s post:

    You can see now why so many people migrated west can’t you? This summer would have driven many farmers to move to different lands and areas. Or to go to the city and give up. The migrations of the timber cutters into East Texas where the tall pines were is a fascinating story. Along with reading about how the Germans settled into the middle of Texas because it reminded them of home but with mild winters.

    Today – Poor Lurch….. She is having a good life even if it is a short life. I fell all animals should feel tenderness no matter their purpose just as we all should feel love and respect. Oh – respect – what a lack we have in this world today. Kiss Nanny Boo when you have a moment. He looks very happy playing piggy nanny.

  15. Lurch and the rest of Tahiti’s piglets just prove your point: every life has value, and their most important value seems to be to teach you something new, awful as this lesson is. I hope the vet has solid answers for you.

  16. I am so glad to hear you express your philosophy of care! YES – it’s not about how long a life is; it’s about the quality of that life. I don’t have the least guilt about eating our steers, because their lives are as contented as we can make them, and their deaths are free of pain or fear.

  17. It doesn’t sound as if Lurch will make it, but yes I am also so curious to see what might have gone wrong, maybe Tahiti did know what she was doing after all, and they all have some deficiency that is rare and unexpected. All of Boo’s loving care – and yours – might not be enough for the wee thing. It is another learning experience, no matter how hard you work.

  18. Would that everyone had as level headed an attitude about animals as you do. Far too many see them as merely tools to be used or as little humans in fur coats. I strive to remember that they are animals and don’t always understand when our good intentions go too far. There is always something to be learned even if the lesson is painful. If things don’t go well for Lurch or one of the others they have had a good, comfortable time with you.

  19. As was already pointed out, that orange-red sky with black shapes looming above, and then–below–the forms of trees near those dead-wood telephone poles, both groups either reaching toward the light or sinking away from it: lots of meaning there, especially in connection with your words.

    A memorable segment. A lesson, similar to that later unnecessary-to-explain one: “I am learning from having her close by.”

  20. I believe with Lurch, and others before her, you haven’t given up because she hasn’t. In the Corporate, Consumer, Cash prevalent world were often more exposed to, it’s inspiring to witness Compassion 🌻

  21. Perchance Tahiti instinctively did know when you talk of the darling oddbods left . . . I hope that the vet will see Lurch before she may cross the river in spite of unparalleled care: just for you to pragmatically know whether there was s a genetic reason for such an unexpected and sad mishap . . . such frustration that you have had to go thru’ . . . I do hope you can put it down to a learning experience having put so much of ‘self’ into trying to save someone live and wanting . . .

  22. oh such a sad tale- poor wee little pig. She is having a good and I am afraid very short life- you are so kind to all.

  23. I have a cold so there is a box of tissues next to me. You have done so much for this little piglet .. Best of luck at the vets Celi. I hope your questions can be answered. Take care

  24. I’ve wondered how you deal with the eating, un named animals, your explanation is perfect. I love the respect and love and care that you give all of them. I’m rooting for Lurch too. ❤️❤️❤️

  25. Lurch is in my mind and heart. I think of her often and am inspired by her will to live. She needs you for sure and we adore you for caring for her.

  26. The “Why” would be good to know if possible…maybe a young curious vet of recent new technology and schooling? Is there a State University for Ag. anywhere near? Maybe email on with picures and your journal of observations?
    Wishful thinking is understandable. Somehow an endearing batch of piglets (how like human children with the bullying a weak or small one. A basic nature we fight in various species – is it part of only the strong survive? How complex )
    I’m so glad Lurch is able to touch her family. Friends and touch are important for a good life no matter what sort

  27. Pingback: Why the wild sticks | Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge

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