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Prince George Pig Rescue shares 'tails' to warm your heart

Kerri Hegel of Prince George Tickled Pig Rescue has saved pigs from a drug house, one that got his head crushed in by another animal’s hooves, and those literally on the chopping block.

Kerri Hegel of Prince George has rescued pigs from a drug house, one that got his head crushed in by another animal’s hooves, and those literally on the chopping block.

It all started when Kerri Hegel adopted her first pig in 2017. She had wanted a pot-bellied pig back in the 80s when they first became popular and decades later it all came together for her.

Hegel named her first pot-bellied pig Kohkos, the Cree word for pig.

“Don’t believe it when someone tells you there’s such a thing as a tea cup pig  – unless it’s supposed to fit in one of the tea cups at the ride at Disney – just don’t believe it,” Hegel laughed.

“Mini pot belly pigs grow to between 200 and 300 pounds. I believed Kohkos would stay small and she just went to the vet recently and I put her on the scale and she weighs 240 pounds,” Hegel laughed.

Pigs grow for five years and since Kohkos is now five she’s full grown.

Kohkos got her friend Tater Tot next. Hegel was looking for a companion for her ’mini’ black pig with one white hoof and she found a mini pig breeder about two hours away. But the joy of finding another beloved pet quickly turned in to a rescue mission.

The breeder was raising the pigs for food and two had died recently and the survivors didn’t look at all healthy. She couldn’t save them all but she had enough cash to buy one and that’s how Tater Tot found a his new happy home.

And next came Bonk who is a Kunekune (pronounced koonie koonie). When the family went to visit a farm, one of Hegel’s children picked up a little pig who seemed very docile. Usually piglets are squealing, squirmy, shimmying masses of energy so Hegel knew something wasn’t right. Best guess was Bonk had been stepped on by another farm animal and had sustained enough damage to his poor little head that the owner said he would promptly be put down.

But because of the big-hearted woman behind PG Tickled Pig Rescue, he was swiftly taken away and brought into a loving home where he was fed every two hours for months until he healed. There was some damage that couldn’t be undone by love and it turns out little Bonk was blind and deaf.

The vet managed to put the protruding part of his eye back in, instead of removing the eye and the wee pig eventually grew.

“I do believe he can see shadows and light because if you stand between him and the sun he will come up to rub his snout on you right away to sniff ya’ and see who it is,” Hegel said. “And he’s the one right now rootin’ around in the snow in the (-35) cold. He just loves it and with all that hair he’s nice and warm.”

He’ll be two in May.

And two years ago there was the drug house rescued pig. Yes, you heard right. When the social worker went into the house she rescued a little pig, took it to the Humane Society and Hegel was the one they called.

“He was found running around the drug house floor by all the used needles,” Hegel said. “When we got him he was underfed and missing hair and they were looking for a pig-savvy home so he ended up coming to us.”

At that point she was ready to foster and rehome but Rupert had other plans.

“But I mean he just gelled with the other pigs so fast I couldn’t rehome him after that,” Hegel said. He was part of the family.

“Pigs have a brain of a three-year-old child, they say,” Hegel explained. “So they really understand a lot and they don’t like change. It would be like putting your three-year-old child in with a new family – they don’t understand why. So once he had been accepted by the other pigs it was more important for me to keep him.”

Mogli is also a Kunekune and is the last addition to the five-piggie rescue farm.

“He was at a breeder’s and there was a big litter and most people wanted the pigs for breeding but Mogli only had one testicle and nobody wanted him so he was left to the bitter end and she was selling him as food,” Hegel explained. “So, yeah, we worked out a deal and now he gets to live out the rest of his life.”

There are two pigs more on the way to PG Tickled Pig Rescue in the new year and even if they were going to be fostered, we all know what’s going to happen.

And as far as the care goes for all the piggies it always comes from love.

“I mean you don’t have to walk your pigs but I do – most of them are leash trained – and I take them around the neighbourhood,” Hegel laughed. “I just love them and I’m always happy to talk about my pigs!”

And of course, as Hegel opened her heart, other dear creatures found their way to her open home, so not only are pigs finding a safe haven, but so have three Guinea pigs, a hedgehog, and so very many cats, dogs.

Want to make sure all the piggies at the PG Tickled Pig Rescue have full bellies this holiday season?

You can help by donating your food scraps – not pork, though! We don’t want to turn those sweet creatures into cannibals!

This animal rescue that started five years ago in Prince George is asking for all your leftovers and they’ll even do a Covid-friendly pick up from outside your front door. Just leave the bag of food scraps outside, text 250-960-8048 with your address and they’ll pick up the reason it will be a happy holiday for Kohkos, Tater Tot, Bonk, Rupert and Mogli.

For more information check out PG Tickled Pig Rescue Facebook page.