Written by Marianne Willemse of Love Animal House Sanctuary
When Zoe was just a month old, she was found in an underground Bangkok wildlife market by a Swiss couple who live in Chiang Mai in the north of Thailand. Seeing the tiny, weak and frightened creature stuck in the heat without food, water or any comfort, Elena and Carlos Divitini immediately knew they had to help her or she would not survive for very long. Fearing the worst, they immediately purchased her although they knew it was not legally the ‘right’ thing to do. But they knew if they went to get the police, the pig would ‘disappear’ from the stall where she was hidden in a box undercover whilst the trader was looking for likely customers.
As they were booked on a flight returning to Chaing Mai the next day, they decided to smuggle her into their hotel room for the night to treat her dehydration and get some soya bean milk into her. They would then take her on the flight the next day.
Their intention was to report the incident to the police in Chaing Mai and hand her over to the government Forestry Department upon their return home as they wanted her nearby so they could keep an eye on her progress.
At the airport the next day, the pig was refused onboard without a permit from the forestry deparment and a license of ownership. Since that could take weeks, they decided to hire a taxi at the airport to drive the pig to Chiang Mai. Wanting to make sure the pig would get there, they gave the driver 1,000 baht, enough to cover the petrol and his meals and they told him he would get another 5,000 baht when the pig was safely delivered to their address. The driver took the challenge and even bottle fed the pig on the way. Eight hours later, Zoe arrived at their house looking fatter. Bless the kind taxi driver for getting her there at all as he could have taken the money and had a roast dinner.
Much to their surprise, the illegal pig was of no interest to either the police or the forestry department who declared that they had plenty of pigs.
As she started to grow very fast, Elena and Carlos realized they had to find a new, loving home for her. A wild pig, no matter how tame she is, can’t live in a townhouse in the city. Although they would have loved to keep her forever, they started to look for a new suitable forever home for her. Searching the internet, they found Love Animal Sanctuary, which houses formerly abused farm, domestic wild animals and birds in their haven just north of Chaing Mai. This seemed the perfect choice for Zoe since it was obvious she could never survive in the wild. That would be very scary…besides, there’s no watermelon and pasta out there. No belly rubs and lullabies. No, Elena and Carlos just couldn’t imagine Zoe in the wild.
At Love Animal Sanctuary, Zoe now gets an overdose of attention from visiting Thai students. She turns out to have the IQ of a 5-year-old child and relishes the attention. Yeah! Belly rubs! Four legs up in the air with snoring effects. She gives a good lesson in relaxation. The pig is a meditation master. More photos of Zoe here
Zoe only goes wild when she has a bath. She loves it! She jumps and screams and bolts around the compound tumbling over the surprised dogs and students. Love of life is such good therapy from a pig. Zoe will spend her life at Love Animal House Sanctuary