Posted on Dec 03, 2021
By Ellie Laks, Founder of The Gentle Barn
Some of our animals have gone through so much trauma before coming to The Gentle Barn that there is always an underlying quietness about them, always fearing the worst. Some rescued animals are angry and act out. And some go through a transformation here when they finally let go of the past and are healed. But then some are just larger than life and have a strength about them from the start. Menorah’s piglets at our California location, Henry in TN, and Petunia in Missouri might have been afraid and shy of us at the very beginning, but overcame it very quickly and now the barn belongs to them!
Tinsel, Dreidel, Blitzen, Miracle, Gingerbread, and Mistletoe came to The Gentle Barn with their mom, Menorah, when they were only a few weeks old. They ran all over the barnyard with their little legs, squealing and playing and following each other around making all of us giggle. It took them no time at all till they were rolling over for belly rubs, snuggling in our laps, and loving life. They nursed from Menorah for five months, but that didn't stop them from eating everything they could get a hold of. They knocked over the trash, busted open the feed room, and came running for treats with much enthusiasm. We have had to work hard to keep them occupied including giving them cookie balls, popcorn, and pumpkin parties every day to keep them active and amused. We wake each morning with them whining for breakfast, and we always know when it is dinner time as they fill the air with their squeals of anticipation. They are the masters of the barnyard and they have huge energy that fills the entire property with power and positivity.
Henry was unsure of us in the beginning, given he had escaped a pig farm and was emaciated. But once we pulled all the ticks off of him and showed him what a tummy rub felt like, he sprung back to life. Henry is a natural leader and caregiver and started taking care of his brother, Horton when Horton was immobile. Henry would pick bouquets of yellow flowers for Horton and bring him huge mouthfuls of hay for dinner. Henry would even give Horton tummy rubs with his nose. Once Horton passed away, Henry went on to care for our female piggies, Lilli and Dream. He is less nurturing and more demanding with the girls, but that's just what they both needed; a strong daddy! Henry breaks up arguments between the two, makes sure they are not splashing in the pool, and sees them off to dinner before he will eat. There is a serene feeling in the pig pasture with Henry around, like he has it all under control!
Petunia’s harsh beginning never affected her. She has a swagger all her own as if she owns the barnyard. She knows she is cute and works it to gain attention from us and the favors of the other pigs. She loves belly rubs but does not like being touched in the face and is not afraid to give us a throaty warning if we forget. She spends her days excavating the yard, digging new pools, and lounging in the warm straw with her sisters. Petunia is not afraid to stand up to Rose, our oldest pig, but only if it is justified, she never takes advantage of her power and strong voice.
I think strength is one of the many healing qualities that animals have to share with us. They are grounded, opinionated, centered, strong, and know who they are. They make no apologies and they know what they want. Many of us struggle with trying to please others, not being sure of what we feel, and forgetting who we are. Knowing Menorah’s babies, Henry, and Petunia is inspiring. It reminds me that there is no shame in walking our own walk, knowing who we are, and sharing our light with the world, not trying to be anyone but us! We are all unique in our own way, no one else can be us! Our piggies know that, and they are here to share their strength, power, and wisdom with us to be the example for us to follow. Come give them a tummy rub when you can, I am sure you too will feel their confidence like a strong, sturdy hug.