Tuesday, June 30, 2009

rain, sun, rain, sun....

The last few days have been so strange weather wise. Every morning is sunny & then out of nowhere it POURS & POURS....then the sun comes out for a half hour  & the rain starts all over again! Hard to get anything done & there is always lots to do !
I fed the piggies during one of these "sunny" times only it was shorter lived than normal & down came the rain while they where eating....some very wet but full bellies!
This evening after yet another downpour I saw this beautiful rainbow outside! I swear the end of the rainbow was right in our horse paddock. By the time I got out there someone had stolen the pot of gold....damn....could really have used that gold about now !!! LOL 

Monday, June 29, 2009

the tee-pee....

Our neighbours are Scottish but somehow have tracked their ancestry back to native Indian culture....strange, I know!
A couple of summers ago they began to have Pow-wows on their property along with a sweat lodge. During the summer almost every weekend we hear the soft sound of drums & chanting late into the  night and at sunrise. Very soothing...I love it ! They even host native weddings ! Very cool! My 3 yr old granddaughter always asks where the "pee-pee" is ...LOL!

Friday, June 26, 2009

the human family...

Thought I should say a little about my human family before they give me the gears about the animals getting all the "press"...LOL !
Brian, my husband of almost 20 yrs who is the co-caregiver here at "Snooters". Without his help it would be very difficult, if not impossible to run our place smoothly. Fortunately he loves the animals as much as I do !
Angela my oldest daughter is married to Dony & has a daughter (my Granddaughter !!) Alyssa, who is 3 1/2 yrs old. They also share their home with 2 Bulldogs...Rosie & Scooby.
Sarah is my youngest & lives out in BC with her "baby" Maisy, a 8 mth old Shar-pei!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

the pond family....

We are lucky enough to have 2 rather large ponds on our property. One further away & one right behind our house. I love to sit & watch the pond creatures go about their daily tasks! 
We have a blue heron who fishes here almost every morning, a hawk who comes by for one of the large gold fish in the pond , many paint turtles & some weasel looking fella who drops in for a visit once in awhile, the Canada geese family & a duck family.
This morning I noticed this large turtle making its way across our lawn heading towards the pond ...I went out & it was the same old gal we took to the other pond last week! She is very old (about 2 feet in diameter) and covered in moss....she definitely wanted in the "house"pond. She is a snapper so I really didn't want her out here with the ducks , geese & our dogs swimming but there was no stopping her (without loosing a finger or two!)Hopefully the fish will keep her well fed & she leaves the others alone.
It has been very hot the last few days....fortunately the pigs have shade to keep them cool. We fill their wallows with cool water daily (doesn't stay cool long) but it is still hard on them...and us! I just can't take this heat anymore, it is so draining! I will be complaining about winter too when it comes..LOL!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Run like the wind, Baby Girl.....

Just 2 days ago I posted about hoping to not add to the "Rainbow bridge gang" anytime soon and here I am typing out this post about our dear girl "Trixie". 
Trixie was born with only 3 legs and it has been a struggle to keep her happy & healthy. 
With the help of our vet Trixie made the journey to Rainbow bridge yesterday (June 21 2009).

I cannot begin to express how much we will miss her...she has been such a huge part of our lives since she came here at 5 weeks of age. I would never have imagined she would live to be 3 yrs old!

I will miss going into the barn with the usual "morning baby girl" & her answering with a soft "grunt"....her daily sponge baths with her nub of a tail wagging a mile a minute....the apple treats only she got mid afternoon....and the goodnight kiss on her snout , "goodnight, I love you baby girl"....."grunt" she would say....that is what I will miss the most of all.

She was very special & our lives have been enriched by her living here.

Good night baby girl....I will see you again.....

Saturday, June 20, 2009

the Rainbow bridge gang...

A friend of mine pointed out that I was missing a picture & bio on our "Pete" who passed away in 2006. Made me think I should write a little about the ones who filled our lives & hearts but are now gone.

"Pete" was a large hampshire pig who came here at the age of 10yrs. His previous owner had him from a baby but when she lost her farm he had to be placed. Pete came here in the spring of 2005. We were hoping he would get along with Forrest & Earl , share their house & space but it was not to be! I think the "youngsters" annoyed him & with his large , sharp tusks he let them know this, causing many nasty wounds!
 We ended up building him his own house & paddock area plus he shared the forest when the boys were not in there. 
Pete (like most big pigs his age) suffered from arthritis & had trouble getting to his feet most mornings. One day he got stuck in a mud hole during 30c weather & by the time I found him (I assumed he was in the cool forest as he usually would do) he had heat stroke. Somehow I managed to cool him down with cold , wet towels & got him back to his house. By the next day he was unable to even stand, had lost control of his bladder/bowels & would not eat. After much soul searching we knew it was time to call the vet. Pete went to rainbow bridge in July 2006 at the age of 11 yrs old. He is buried by the apple tree on our property. We only had Pete here for a little over a year but it hit us hard as we hoped we would have a good long time together.
Butch ( I talked about briefly in a previous post) came with his brother Sunny, shortly after we moved here. He was the tough guy of the 2 ! When he started not wanting food we knew something was wrong. Tests done in Guelph confirmed cancer (probably of the gallbladder & beyond) & the prognosis was grim....we opted to have him euthanized. Butch has his spot by the apple tree as well.
Last summer our Sheperd cross 10 yr dog Buddy stopped eating...lost a great amount of weight in a short period of time. The blood work from the vet showed leukemia. The vet came out to our house so Buddy could pass to Rainbow Bridge in our arms. 
Hopefully I will not have to add to this list anytime soon....

Friday, June 19, 2009

Today was a nice day outside...warm & sunny!  I filled the wallows with fresh, cool water & boy, do they love that (especially Flossy!) I will have to take some pictures of her "diving" in & flopping about like a fish out of water! When she is finished she looks like she is made of chocolate!
I could not get Trixie up today (& Brian is working)...I hate that she lays there all day. I have to say it doesn't seem to bother her...she never struggles, just grunts with contentment as I feed her apples & push straw around her while she is laying there, she even pees/poops into a bucket for me! Brian gets her up and feeds her before he goes to work at 5am so at least she is not hungry...although pigs are always hungry! He will be home soon to help her up & give her a bath & snack. It is hard because I feel guilty...I wish I could just "will" her to her feet....
Gracie had a good supper & then ventured out to the small forest area to lay in the cool dirt. I just went out to say "goodnight" & to put bug spray on her ....I hope she makes her way back to her house tonight as it is suppose to rain. It is a good sign when she goes out there as her leg must be feeling okay! :)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Our feathered friends...

"Gonzo" our yellow fronted amazon parrot was purchased from a pet store in 1992 ....boy, have I come a long way since then....no pet store purchases! He just turned 17 yrs old...WOW...but of course he could live to more then 60 yrs old.  He is an interesting fella...used to talk up a storm but now only speaks when "he" feels like it (which is fine). He LOVES my daughter Sarah who lives in BC....when she visit he squeals with delight..LOL! Gonzo is with us forever but I do not think parrots should be pets..not fair to them at all!

Our other feathered friends are actually not "ours" ...they live here & entertain us daily! About 5 yrs ago 2 very large birds showed up on our back porch....duh, I didn't even know what they were until I looked it up on the internet! We named them "Bert & Ethel". The next year they had babies & we were so thrilled ! To date there are now 17 peafowl wandering our property! They take care of themselves, roost high in the trees at night, find their food & have survived many winters now! We are trying to stop this reproducing though! This year we fed them a special birth control feed (the eggs will not develop...in theory !) We will find out very soon! 

Now for "the dogs"....

"Riley" (black Lab/Rottie cross) was brought to us as a puppy in 2000....his owners did not want him anymore & he was left outside alone by a busy street. He has grown up to be a great dog...very affectionate & very smart!
"Shelly" is our newest addition(2008).When Riley's companion "Buddy" passed away last year at the age of 10 yrs from cancer he seemed very lonely. We looked around at various rescues & found "Shelly"(Black Lab/boarder collie cross). She came with some issues ( who doesn't !) but has fit into the family just great! They have each other now to hang out with!
"Jackie" is our Shar-pei. We have had Shar-pei's in the past & through a rescue (2001) found "Jackie". She is special needs as she is blind from birth! Believe it or not she does very well finding her way around. She is Daddy's little girl!

The horses , bunny & cats....

Although not rescues our 2 horses will live here forever with us. My "Harley" had  4 homes before the age of 6 yrs old. I have had him since he was 7 yrs & he is now 22 yrs old!! A great horse!He is a quarter horse gelding. I used to board him elsewhere as we did not have stalls & proper fencing in when we first moved here. Being a herd animal they need a companion so we bought "Dolly"...a now 12 yr old Quarter Horse mare. They make a great team! Brian & I just need to find more time to go out & ride them!

I was at work in Toronto one night shift & saw this little creature sitting beside my car. As I approached I saw it was a rabbit! Thinking he/she would just bold away I walked towards her...well, she just hopped right up to me! Darn rabbit knew I couldn't just leave her there. 
L.B. (little bunny) came home with me the next morning & resides in a 12x12 stall in the barn!

We had a bit of a mouse problem in our barn so we decided we needed a barn cat (I like mice, so it took me a long time to agree). I called a girl who does cat rescue & told her we want 2 cats who would live in the barn. Along comes "Wilson" & "Scooter" who were to be euthanized the next morning at the shelter. They are great cats! People cannot believe they are barns cats because they are both just so friendly!....and good mousers ;(

the last but certainly not least of the piggies....

We received Poppy from a factory farm at about the same time as Trixie. Poppy had a leg injury and again, was destined to death because of it. She is a fire cracker in a pigs body! Poppy is very smart & along with this comes being a brat...she is that right "in your face" type animal. She can drive us nuts at times but we love her just the same!

Next is Flossy. Her rescuer was at a pig farm & took note of this rather odd looking pig who was low on the pecking order & just stood by looking sad. She has one blue eye , one brown eye, short legs , a long body & these huge floppy ears ! She just could not leave her there (she was due to be shipped to slaughter very shortly). Enters Flossy to our herd ! She is a dear thing with a shy personality. Flossy & Poppy bunk together. I was just out there feeding & she took a long wonderful mud bath after breakfast ...looking very pleased with herself!

and they get bigger con't.....

Well, for some reason my last blog update was cut off and pictures of Forrest & Earl are missing!
Probably something I did!
Anyway, here is the rest of the story of how our Gracie came to be here (her pics are in the last post). As I was saying I have made some great friends through pig rescue & Kristi is one of them. 

Gracie was from a factory farm, born smaller & rejected by her mom & litter mates .She ended up with a cut on her leg that needed tending. In factory farms it is all about the bottom line and things like stitches & antibiotics cost money.This was going to be Gracie's death sentence until Kristi took her home. Gracie came here as a 6 week old piglet. She lived in the house all winter until her house outside was built the next spring.....it was a long winter!! Big pigs do not make good indoor pets..LOL!!!
Unfortunately Gracie came here with a strep suis infection which can cause arthritis . We did treat the infection but she still has problems with her right rear leg. She is on medication for this & we will keep her comfortable as long as possible.
Gracie is quite the character & not always friendly. But every night as we check on everyone she lifts her snoot for a kiss...& won't take no for an answer ...no matter how dirty she is....we happily comply! ** Gracie's pictures are in the previous post below **
**The pictures with this post are Forrest & Earl as youngsters & now handsome grown fellows!

Yesterday as I was doing the evening feed I saw the Doe & fawn on our back laneway...she was just strolling along with the little one bouncing all around her....the cutest thing you ever saw! I hope they stay on our land (or both our neighbours on each side) as we all do not allow hunting of any kind. ;)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

and they get bigger...

In 2004 we had the arrival of our first "big" pigs...Forrest & Earl. They came from a backyard breeder who sold to mostly private people for pig roasts. 
I remember going to pick them up & this lady carrying them out to our car upside down by the legs...screaming ! Their Mother was in an adjoining paddock just staring at us...I told her they would be okay...I hope she understood.
We had Forrest & Earl in dog crates for the short ride home & I remember one of them (I think it was Forrest) looking up at me with these eyes, wondering what was going to happen. I promised him he & his brother would have a good, long, happy life with us. I can still see those eyes looking at me now.
They are very big boys now...probably 700 lbs & very handsome. Earl is the "tough" guy while Forrest is the gentle soul. They have a private house & their paddock area includes some forest that they are slowly destroying!

Monday, June 15, 2009

and they keep coming....

I received a call in 2004 from a lady who had visited a livestock auction (never a good idea!). There at the auction were these 2 potbellied pigs (male & female) . She bid on them against a fellow who was going to slaughter them for food & brought them home to her small hobby farm. Within a week the female had given birth to 9 piglets!! This lady was overwhelmed and was trying to place all of these new additions. I told her I would take 2 & my friend Cheryl also took 2 little girls. At the very end there was one small female left...I just couldn't have her left there so she came home to us as well. 
Enter...Johnny, Roy & Belle to the "herd" ! Johnny & Roy bunk together beside Katie & Sunny . Little Belle started as a house pig but when we had the larger pig barn built we moved her out with Valentine & Easter. She lived outside for 2 years until Easter began to be less than nice to her. We brought her back into the house to live with us (& Ally). Belle is as cute as a button, well behaved & we enjoy her in the house! 
Johnny & Roy love living outside, they get paddock/pond time from breakfast to late afternoon & spend it rooting up everything in sight!
Last but not least is Easter (aka the beast!) Easter came from a pregnant female at a shelter. My now dear friend Marianne (this is how we met in 2005) adopted Easters parents & soon after "Patty" gave birth to several piglets. We took Easter(close to Easter time) thus the name! He is a pig with ADD ! He never stops....he has these lovely but wild eyes & tall lanky legs....quite a character! 

The big move...

We moved to our 20+ acres in 2001. Within a few months we had added 4 potbellied pigs to our "herd". Butch & Sunny came from Oakville where they had been running loose for 3 weeks before being caught by animal control. They came here at about 4 months...scared to death of people! They soon settled in and although were not the most social pigs were very happy in their new house & fenced paddock area which included a large pond. 
Unfortunately our Butch became ill in 2007 & even a trip to Guelph for expert care could not save him from the diagnosis of cancer...we had him euthanized with us by his side. Sunny continues to be a joy to have around but suffers from severe arthritis in his front legs....medication keeps him comfortable & his daily sleeps in the sun help as well.

Ally (McSqueel) came here from a home where the couple became "too busy" and did not want her anymore. Ally was a house pig & continues to be one here....she is shy & reserved but very sweet....very much a loner.

Our Katie was dumped off at a cat rescue shelter. We were called & went to find this extremely obese, fat blind, aggressive pig. We brought her home & over 2 yrs she lost 80lbs! Unfortunately the damage had been done with her eyes & hearing & both are very limited. She has mellowed to be a lovely girl who even with her poor eye site goes for "walk-a-bouts" in the paddock area after supper every night in the nice weather.
Katie is our oldest pig at 15 yrs old!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Pigs,Pigs & More Pigs !

All this madness started back in 1998 with the purchase of our first pig, Valentine. Yes, from a breeder...the first & last purchase from a breeder...ever! There are so many animals needing homes that breeders should not be an option.
Valentine was this tiny bundle of joy shaped like a pig! Knowing NOTHING about potbellied pigs I started to research via the Internet....meet other "pig people" & learned about these special creatures. I soon found out how people would get these "mini" pigs & as they grew to their normal size of 125-150 lbs would discard them like yesterdays garbage.
This brings us to moving to larger property & starting up our little sanctuary "Snooters".

Pigs are not for everyone, I would actually say pigs are not for most people. Because they are so intelligent they get bored easily & can be quite destructive living inside a house. We have experienced rooted drywall, torn carpet, chewed wood...should I continue??! Being the drama queens/kings they are veterinary care is also a challenge, just finding a good vet who knows pigs is a common problem. All this being said, with the right family pigs are a wonderful addition to your life!

We now have a total of 8 potbellied pigs here. Over the next few days I will introduce you to them & their stories!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Our Trixie

This blogging thing is "new" so expect posts daily until it becomes "old" LOL. Over the next few days I thought I would talk about some of the animals here at Snooters.
Trixie is our 3 legged girl . Born at a factory farm missing her left front leg. A friend who worked there at the time told me about all the birth defects at this place & how this little pig was born with only 3 legs. From that moment on I could not stop thinking about this poor little thing living in such a place, being herded around with her 3 legged handicap & probably being sold as a "second" for some idiots backyard BBQ....can't you just hear all the jokes ;(
I called her up & said please buy her for me....I suspected she would not live long as 3 legs cannot hold a full grown 500lb pigs body but I was determined that her life be full of love & comfort for as long as she had.
Trixie came here at about 5 weeks old, cute as a button & boy could she run like the wind on those 3 legs ! She lived in the house for several months & then was moved outside with another piglet named Poppy. 
Trixie has grown to be a beautiful big girl & I am happy to say is now almost 3 yrs old ! Her life is not perfect & she no longer "runs like the wind" but she is a happy soul. Last December while helping Trixie up on icy footing she fell landing on & fractured my leg. We knew it was necessary to move her into a stall in the barn where the footing is always safe.  
It was bitter sweet as we knew this was best for all of us but now she would be without her Poppy & Flossy (who to be honest where not always nice to her). We spend as much time during the day we can with her & she gets special sponge baths & treats that the others do not! Don't tell them! She will let us know when she is no longer happy but for now her grunts of pleasure as we talk to her speak volumes!

Friday, June 12, 2009


Snooters is our little sanctuary. Home to 23 animals & 2 humans. My husband , Brian & myself are the humans and the animals consist of 3 dogs, 1 parrot, 2 horses, 1 rabbit, 2 cats, 6 farm pigs , 8 potbellied pigs & several peafowl.

Spring has arrived and summer only a week away. All of us have endured a long hard winter. The weather was cold and to top things off I broke my leg in December. This left my husband doing all the chores & both of us being off work...what doesn't kill us makes us stronger...right?!

With the spring comes all the activity around the farm. The geese showing off their beautiful 7 babies, the doe & her baby my husband saw the other day, the turtles making their trek to the ponds....even the very old , angry snapping turtle we just had to help get around the fence line! The peafowl with their calls every several minutes (day & night!) , the racoon who had her babies under the house & their cute little cries while she is out getting food. I do love all this activity at this time of year!

This ever looming fear of the H1N1 (swine ) flu and our beloved pigs being in danger from this 
disease humans have created with the over crowding, disease ridden factory farms. The public has no idea what the future holds if treatment of animals for food does not improve. They wander into the grocery store & pick up the neatly plastic wrapped package of meat but have no clue as to its origin....and most don't care to learn.

This is not the life for everyone, it is demanding, unable to get away to recharge & the never ending money pit but we love our animals and will always do the best for them.