You don’t hear much about pigs being rescued but this duo came to The Gentle Barn in terrible shape. They had been without food for so long that their bones were showing, they had ticks and they were anemic.
“They were scared to death,” said Ellie Laks, founder of The Gentle Barn.
Staff and volunteers sat with Henry and Horton, showing them that humans can love and make them feel safe.
Once the pigs finally realized they were in a safe, they began to show their true colors.
“We read books to them and sang them songs,” Ellie said. “It was as if their eyes went from dull to bright. After a few weeks, they started rolling over to let us rub their bellies.”
The days marched on and Henry and Horton both began to gain weight and strength. The two were inseparable spending time basking in the sun as well as cozying up at night.
“They were inseparable since day one,” Ellie said.
As the pigs approached their first birthday, caretakers noticed Horton was having trouble walking. Unfortunately, this is a common health problem in pigs raised for meat. His legs weren’t able to support his massive weight.
Horton had surgery and was put on anti-inflammatory medicine to help his condition. He will need to be on bed rest for the remainder of his days.
Henry was being loving and affectionate, but as time went on the caretakers noticed something truly unbelievable: Henry was taking care of his brother.
“When we bring out hay for them to eat at lunchtime, Henry will grab a mouthful and bring it right into the barn for Horton,” Ellie said. “He is very nurturing to him — to the point where he won’t let any other pigs near him. He knows that Horton is delicate and vulnerable.”
When Horton makes a noise, any time during the day, Henry will run back to check on him. He makes frequent visits throughout the day on his own just to make sure Horton is okay.
Ellie says this sweet and tender behavior is common for pigs. They are extremely emotional animals and they thrive on social interactions with family, friends, and even their human caretakers.
“Pigs have a highly developed language,” she said. “They’re always communicating through their different snorts or grunts. Henry especially loves people, too. He’s always up for a belly rub and some veggies.”
In addition to keeping him fed, Henry also makes sure his brother is always comfortable.
“We’ll set out straw for bedding, and Henry brings that in for [his brother] too,” Ellie said. “And I’m sure Horton says thank you in his own way.”
If you loved the story of these two pigs then share the story with your friends and family. It’s nice to see there is still good things happening in the world.