When it comes to owning pets, most families opt for the iconic cats, dogs, fish, or hamsters. However, lately the popularity of owning something a little bit unusual like a pig has become a bit of a trend.
People have often been tricked into buying pigs by being told they are "micro" or "teacup" pigs, after believing that they will stay in their piglet size forever. But, this is not the case and often it leads to the mistreatment of the animals.
One family has rescued a sweet little pig after discovering the truly horrific conditions that it was being forced to live in, and while he's safe now, it's scary to think that this isn't the only situation where this is happening.
Beacon was discovered by someone on Craigslist, who then posted the ad to a Facebook group. The family's ad said they were looking for someone to take him after he became "too much to handle," but it was the images that caught the eye of the person who shared it with the hope that someone could go rescue the pig.
Anna Hoffman saw the post and immediately knew she had to do something. She already owned one pig, and while she hadn't thought that she would get another, she knew that this poor animal couldn't keep living as it was.
In the ad, Hoffman saw a small, malnourished pig sitting in an fish tank. When she went to pick up the pig and get him out of there, she learned that the breeder who had sold the family their pig had told them to keep him small he needed to be kept in a small space to stunt his growth, and that they shouldn't give him too much food.
Hoffman recently spoke with The Dodo about how horrible Beacon's condition was when she first arrived.
"When I picked Beacon up, I was in complete shock. The pictures I had seen were awful, but in person it was even worse.
His hooves were about 3 inches long and he couldn't even walk properly. He was so skinny, all you saw was bone. He was terrified of everything. I tried to offer him a small piece of cookie to see if he would come near me but he wouldn't."
The tiny pig was frail and weak, but as soon as Hoffman got Beacon home she brought him to the vet. The two-year-old pig only weighed 11 pound, classifying him as severely underweight, but miraculously there were no other residual health conditions after his abusive past. For comparison, a pig his age should have weighed upwards of 50 pounds by age two.
Another thing she did was rename the pig. When he was trapped in his glass prison for two years, his old family called him "Bacon." Hoffman didn't want to change the name too drastically, but thought Beacon would be much better.
Even though he was finally safe, he had a lot of anxiety and was generally fearful of the new members and his new home. Luckily Hoffman was patient.
"When I first got him, he was terrified of anyone and everything. I spent hours and hours sitting near his crate, talking to him and trying to pet him. I would put his crate near me and leave the door open so he could venture out at his discretion."
It took a long time, but as Beacon started to learn that he was finally safe, he was happy to make a connection with his new family.
He now has a bunch of things that he loves to do, including swimming in a little pool and rolling in the grass.
"He loves eating grass, probably more than most [pigs]. I think it's because it's so new to him. I don't believe he ever saw grass the first two years of his life. When I sit outside with them, he eventually comes and lays at or on my feet. The fact that his tail is constantly swishing back and forth warms my heart."
Hoffman hopes to raise awareness to make sure everyone knows that there is no such thing as a mini pig. Whether the so-called breeder calls them "micro," "teacup," or any other words that claim it will remain small forever, they just aren't real.
There are some breeds of pigs that stay smaller than your typical farm pigs, but they still grow to a pretty decent size, and shouldn't be given as a novelty gift.
If you considered getting a pig for your home, please make sure you do your research and understand that they are not tiny, little, pocket-sized pets, they are supposed to grow big and strong.
If you want to keep up with Beacon's progress, you can check out his Facebook page.