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Meet Kasper: The Generation of Hope

By: Jessica Rasekhi

      Kasper has been raised on a plant powered diet ever since the day he was born and he has learned that he doesn’t need to eat animals to live a healthy and happy life. He has also been taught from a young age that all of his fellow animals on planet Earth are creatures that feel happiness, sadness and love…just like he does…and should be treated with kindness and respect. He loves being around all types of animals, but he has always loved pigs!  Among his stuffed animal “pig friends” are all names of pigs that he has chosen that have impacted his life in a positive way: Esther from “Esther the Wonder Pig” at Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary.  Wilbur from “Charlotte’s Web” and last, but not least, his two “local favorites” Wilma Jean and Ponyboy from Sage Mountain.  He chose all of the names himself and he will continue to be a young advocate for all animals and hopefully inspire others to do the same!

   Kasper and his pig friends, Ponyboy, Wilma Jean, Wilbur and Esther

“I like pigs because they are really talented and funny! They have a good snorty, sniffing nose and they remind me of my Boston Terrier dog, Domino. I love pigs!” – Kasper, 5 yrs old

  Kasper visits Ponyboy and Wilma Jean at the sanctuary

  We can not get enough of Kasper and his gigantic heart and sweet smile!

 

Ponyboy, My Story

By: Ponyboy

I will have to say that it’s been a whirlwind since Johnny and I broke free from our captors in Riverside County, California. See, what many of you don’t know is that this was a planned getaway from the beginning and not some spontaneous guy’s night out romp.

Let me help paint the picture with some of the few details that I remember from that evening. You will have to cut me some slack as I was only 3 months old at the time and my memories are vague. I’m sure many of you would also have a hard time remembering what you were doing at that age. I can assure you that planning a daring escape was not in the cards. In fact, our lives were meant to be doomed from the beginning.

Johnny and I were being raised in what humans would call a backyard butcher situation. What that basically means is that we lived in cramped quarters where our humans would raise and grossly over feed us until we were ready to be turned into lamb chops and bacon. Now, let me stop there for a minute as I have an issue with this. At what point do I become bacon? When your species dies you don’t transform into another thing or food item. Apparently Johnny and I transform into something completely different. I’m not bacon. I’m a pig and a damned smart one at that. When it’s time for me to go I will become a deceased pig and not this “bacon” thing.

Many humans know for some reason or another that we pigs are intelligent creatures. This is not by chance but by hard work and numerous sleepless nights studying. In my studies as a young piglet I noticed that when humans would consume my deceased fellow friends, or “bacon”, that those humans would then become sick with chronic disease such as heart disease. So let me get this straight, humans kill pigs like me and then we turn around and kill them with the number one killer of all humans, heart disease.

As Johnny and I laid there realizing how counterproductive this all was, or as Johnny would say “batshit crazy” (Johnny had a way with words), we realized we wanted to do something about it before it was too late. So for a few weeks we  contrived a plan to break out of our tiny quarters and make our move. The daughter of our captor would not be the best at locking our gate after coming into feed us in the evenings. After a few times of seeing this we knew that we had to make our move and make our move we did. It was a breezy September evening and Johnny and I bolted. We ran and ran until we couldn’t run anymore. Then we ran some more. Then we walked. We walked miles and miles through farmland and neighborhoods until we were just couldn’t go anymore. Sometime around midday the next day some strangers stopped us and coaxed us into a truck. We realized this was animal control and figured that it was better than where we were before so we decided to get off our feet for a while. After a few days at the animal control facility, the workers there didn’t have the necessary means to hold us much longer and placed a call to Farm Sanctuary in Acton, CA to ask if they would take Johnny and I. This is where things made a huge turn for us. Farm Sanctuary is the largest farm animal welfare group in the country and through a miracle picked us to come to their home. Johnny and I knew that from here on out were not going to become bacon and lamb chops or contribute to the number one killer of humans.

this is Johnny and I at Farm Sanctuary

As we grew up at Farm Sanctuary I realized I was becoming a lot bigger than Johnny and needed some more space. It was at this time two people from Utah (wherever that is) representing Sage Mountain came to visit me. They said they had tons of space and would love for me to come and live there. After a few months, vet visits, and a short stay in Northern California, I was ready to take a road trip with my new girlfriend Wilma Jean to Utah. I won’t say much about Wilma Jean here as apparently she had a blog written about her a little bit ago. I’m still trying to wrap my big ears around this as I met the Sage Mountain team first and should have been the first blog. I will let it slide as to not hurt Wilma Jean’s feelings and not to mention I don’t want to upset her. She outweighs me by 100 lbs and can give me the business at anytime she so desires.

Maggie and I nose to nose

Exploring with Wilma Jean at Sage Mountain(I have definitely filled out some)

Since being here I have made new friends especially with Maggie the German Shepherd. She follows me around all day and won’t leave me alone. I have told her numerous times that I have a girlfriend but it doesn’t seem to stop her. I look forward to more animal friends arriving at Sage Mountain during the spring and summer months.

I get to wake up to amazing sunrises, lots of space, sometimes snow cover (still getting used to that), and usually Wilma Jean snuggled next to me. Here I explore, dig, chew, bathe, get muddy, get muddy some more, eat, sleep, receive belly rubs and treats, and am adored by my humans.  I get to be a pig here and that’s all I ever wanted. I will continue to be a voice for all my animal friends out there and  be the change I seek in this world.

one of my favorite times of the day

Oink Oink

Ponyboy

Welcome Wilma Jean!

Wilma Jean came to us last year after a kind man fell in love with her and stepped in to protect her from harm.

The man had been temporarily taking care of Wilma Jean for his son, who was raising her for meat. But after spending just a short amount of time with her, the father came to see her for the special individual she was, and he couldn’t bear the thought of anything but happiness in her future.

 

Wilma Jean and Ponyboy were our first 2 rescued/farmed animal ambassadors/additions here at Sage Mountain, thanks to a collaboration with our friends at Farm Sanctuary. The FS team was contacted about a young, black and white female pig, in early September. She was described as “he” initially—the man who called FS thought she was male. He called because she was scheduled to be slaughtered the following week. His son had raised her as an attempt at “homesteading,” though the caller admitted to me that last year’s pig was still in the freezer. The son’s life had become too complicated with work and family responsibilities, and the responsibilities of caring for the pig had fallen on the father. Of course, once the father began caring for the pig on a daily basis, he was able to see her as an individual, and it became more difficult for him to imagine her going into the freezer like the last pig. He spoke to his son about sending her to a sanctuary, and the son agreed to surrender her if placement was found. That’s when the father gave FS a call. He really was the kindest man on the phone—just so caring and gentle, and FS could tell that he had really made the connection through this animal. 

Wilma Jean is quickly adapting to being a mountain pig.

Wilma Jean, as she is so lovingly referred to as now, arrived just last week to her forever home here at Sage Mountain. Read her write up on Farm Sanctuary’s blog, with her partner-in-crime, Pony Boy. We feel so fortunate to get to know this brilliant soul, we have fallen deeply in love with her personality! She is sweet, gentle, and a bit shy, but very curious. She is loving exploring the sage brush and snow — new experiences for her new life!