Injured piglet gets another 'chance'

Jan 18, 2021

Thanks to the efforts of one Dartmouth animal sanctuary, an injured piglet named Chance has another shot at life.

According to Don’t Forget Us, Pet Us sanctuary owner Deb Devlin, the baby feeder pig’s mom likely sat on him when he was just a couple weeks old — pushing his shoulder back and making one of his front legs shorter than the other.

“When a baby pig gets compromised and can’t walk well, the other piglets normally will start eating the other piglet,” she said. “They started biting him and everything — his piggy brothers and sisters weren’t very nice to him.”

The little piggy was taken in by the Don’t Forget Us, Pet Us on Jan. 10 after being rescued from a local pig farm. According to Devlin, the farmer had tried for a month to heal the pig on his own, only to see no improvements.

“To be honest, I wasn’t very hopeful at that time that we were going to have a good vet visit,” Devlin said. “I really thought the vet was going to recommend euthanasia.”

But the vet didn’t find any fractures — just “a lot of soft tissue injury,” according to Devlin. 

Believing that “everyone deserves a chance,” the vet gave Devlin some medication and recommendations to help with the recovery effort — along with an inspiration for the piglet’s name: Chance.

One major recommendation was making sure Chance remained both stimulated and comfortable. To accomplish this, Devlin reached out to the community for baby items, noting that she’s used them in the past for other bedridden animals.

And Dartmouth delivered.

Within 24 hours, Chance had a bouncy swing, pack-and-play, and bassinet. 

“[The community support] was really incredible,” she said. “All those little items just played a role in giving him a better level of care.”

So far, Devlin said, Chance has responded well to his recovery. 

Just two days after his first vet visit, the piglet was able to stand on all four of his legs and has even made attempts at walking. And, after a cold laser therapy session this past Saturday, some of his swelling has gone down.

“The medication made a huge difference for him,” she said, adding that professionals will also measure his range of motion, muscle mass, and have him potentially exercise in water.

While in recovery, Devlin notes that Chance has “really gotten along” with her farm dogs. According to the sanctuary owner, the piglet loves sleeping on the dog beds with his new friends and is always trying to nibble their fur.

“It really was just the cutest little thing,” Devlin said. “I think he just thinks he’s a dog.” 

Since Chance was bred to be a feeder pig, he will grow quite large and will likely have additional problems with his legs. 

For now, Devlin said, the goal is making sure Chance “has the best quality of life for as long as we can.”

“He is extremely personable,” she added. “You can’t help but look at that little face and not smile.”