Last Thursday morning, our 16 year old beloved pig Rootie, strut out of the barn, ate a full breakfast and hung out in the sunshine with the goats. But by dinner time, he was suddenly struggling to get to the barn. He was taking a few steps, tripping over his back feet and having a difficult time getting back up. CAPE staff were able to get him settled into his cozy stall to eat a little before lying down in a fresh bed of straw. CAPE's vet came out and ran some tests and prescribed him an anti-inflammatory and pain medication. She also left a steroid as an option if Rootie's physical abilities continued to deteriorate.
On Friday, Rootie's mobility seemed worse. With no sure reason, possibly neurological, maybe a pinched nerve or spinal injury, we treated him with medication every three hours. He also got around the clock care, fresh smoothies and syringed water to ensure he stayed hydrated, fresh vegetables and lots of rest. He could not get up on his own but didn't seem to be in any obvious pain. We decided to hold off on the steroid, as there can be health risks involved, especially for a senior pig like Rootie.
Early on Saturday morning, we walked into Rootie's stall, where he was bundled up with his blanket and straw. His eyes seemed brighter when he saw us. He greeted us with some oinks. He still needed assistance to get up and couldn't walk far without falling. We continued treatment- lots of fluids, medications and rest. That night, JP and I sat in his stall as we prepared his medications and he was moving the straw around- "organizing" his "room". He brought his nose up to my face and I saw his eyes looking at me. It's a moment I will remember for the rest of my life. I could feel his gratitude.
Rootie has been at the CAPE Animal Sanctuary for the past sixteen years. Every day e gets two fresh-made meals with fresh fruit, veggies and rice or pasta. His mud puddles, dirt beds, scratching rakes and rooting spots are all over the property. For so many of us, Rootie represents the fundamental philosophy of CAPE's work - that every animal deserves a full life free from suffering.
When Rootie fell ill, we sprung into action, as I have witnessed dozens of other times when other senior animals or animals with special needs have taken a dip. And thank goodness, it's paying off!
Today, Rootie got up on his own without our assistance. He ate a great breakfast and it was very clear that he wanted to go out. We walked beside him, ensuring he didn't go down the steeper hills (all the places he really wanted to go). He stumbled a few times but his strength and energy have improved drastically. After a little bit of time in the sunshine, foraging and bossing the goats around, Rootie went back into his stall and slept soundly for the remainder of the day. We will continue to keep you updated on his progress. Please send Rootie all your happy comments- we will read them to him in the morning!
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“"Never, never be afraid to do what's right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society's punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way."
~ Martin Luther King, Jr