Hero Piglet Escapes Hog Farm, Is Now Food Animal Ambassador

Once slated for slaughter, Jigsaw now shows people how loving and bright a pig can be.

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Hero Piglet Escapes Hog Farm, Is Now Food Animal Ambassador
Hero in profile: Jigsaw, the crafty pig who escaped certain death on an Idaho hog farm. (Photo: Courtesy of Sanctuary One)

If Charlotte the spider were still spinning tribute webs to exceptional pigs, she would find a Wilbur-worthy subject in Jigsaw, a year-old Yorkshire-Hampshire breed who escaped certain death at an Idaho hog farm and now lives a peaceful life on an Oregon animal sanctuary, where he educates visitors on the intelligence and friendliness of food animals.

While the specifics of Jigsaw's heroic April 2011 escape from an unknown Boise, Idaho hog farm aren't known, Sansa Collins, the Animal Care Manager at his new home, Sanctuary One in Jacksonville, Oregon, says "he probably squeezed through some kind of fencing."

Sometime later—could be hours or days, no one is really sure—a Good Samaritan found Jigsaw lying on the side of the road.

"He was very malnourished and had pneumonia," says Collins, in an exclusive interview with TakePart.

These kindhearted locals brought the weakened pig to the Humane Society in Boise. "They were able to nurse him back to health," says Collins.

As his health improved and he continued to grow, it became readily apparent that "such a big boy" needed a more permanent living situation.

Enter Sanctuary One, a self-described nonprofit care farm where people, animals and the earth work together for mutual healing. Collins says a referral from Farm Sanctuary played a part in Jigsaw ending up in Oregon, which occurred in January. 

Today, he shares his home with more than 60 other creatures with hard-luck stories, like Rogue, a mare who learned to trust humans again after being horrifically abused; Blueberry a former feral cat who has become a sociable sweetheart; and Cookies, a Holstein cow who spent years in a veterinary school as a blood donor.

Highly intelligent, Jigsaw has been appointed an "Education Abmassador." When not frolicking in the sanctuary's pasture, he teaches visitors how friendly and smart food animals really are.

Collins says she hopes the roughly 400-pound Jigsaw will live for more than 10 years, although she is a bit worried about looming leg issues.

"With these pig breeds that have been created to get really fat really fast and then die youg, their legs tend to break down as they age," says Collins.

That's why Sanctuary One purposefully keeps their pigs "lean," feeding them a healthy diet of "pig grain, nuts, and different types of produce."

To meet some of the lovely, adoptable animals of Sanctuary One, click here.

To learn how to be a sponsor for a Sanctuary One animal with special physical or emotional needs, click here.