Winter storm Jonas pummeled much of the East Coast, rivaling some of the biggest snowstorms on record there.
It was during that blizzard that the Smith family was traveling from the Whitetail ski resort back to their hotel about 20 miles away when dad Perry spotted a white, pink mass by the side of the road in the freezing cold snow.
He knew it was an animal, he just wasn’t sure what kind or whether it was still alive, so he and his family turned back to investigate.
At this point, I’m already sold on this family. So many people would’ve shrugged it off and kept driving– remaining warm and cozy in their heated car. But not the Smiths.
Perry told BuzzFeed News, “My inital thought was it was a raccoon walking along the side of the road. Let’s go back and take a look.”
Once they spotted the animal, son Perry Smith Jr., who was in the passenger’s seat, rolled down the window. Dad asked, “What is that thing?” and the son replied, “Dad, I think it’s a pig.”
As daughter Catherine told ABC 7 News, once they shined a light on the situation, she said, “Oh my goodness. It’s a pig!”
The poor little piglet was covered in snow and ice– shivering. He had cuts and bruises with what appeared to be frostbite behind his ears. Perry Senior picked him up and they were off again, this time with the cutest passenger of all time bundled up in Catherine’s sweatshirt sitting on Perry Junior’s lap.
Can you just imagine?
The Smiths snuck the pig into their “no pets” hotel room because this family is cool like that. They named him “Wee Wee” after an uncle’s imaginary friend who was known to be a mischievous pig.
Once at the hotel, Wee Wee shivered through the night as the Smiths took turns caring for him. By morning they had him warmed up and eating out of the palms of their hands–literally.
We tried berries and oats but bananas are still his favorite
Posted by Elisabeth Roukis Smith on Sunday, January 24, 2016
The Smiths brought Wee Wee home with them to Chevy Chase, Md.
Knowing that Wee Wee couldn’t stay with them forever because they’re smart like that, the Smiths researched and eventually found a suitable animal sanctuary willing and able to offer Wee Wee a permanent, happy home.
He will now live at Poplar Animal Sanctuary, a 400 acre non-profit refuge in Poolesville, Md., for farm animals and wildlife. And would you believe— they just recently added a new pig barn?! Talk about a perfect match.
The Smiths left their hotel on a Sunday, and by Wednesday the family drove Wee Wee up to the farm.
How did Wee Wee end up in the freezing cold by the side of the road? No one will ever know for sure, but Terry Cummings, co-founder and co-director of Poplar Sanctuary told BuzzFeed News that the organization receives several calls a year from people who find farm animals abandoned on the side of the road. Her guess?
“Pigs are one of the more common ones to be found because these transport vehicles to take them to auctions are not very secure, and pigs will jump out of the windows or fall out,” she said. “I think that’s probably what happened to this little pig.”
Regardless, Wee Wee is safe now, thanks to the Smiths.
About Perry’s decision to turn back in a blizzard to help an animal, Buzzfeed News reports:
“He was an animal in distress,” he said. “It was a simple choice and I said, ‘We have to do the right thing here.’ We were immediately on board with it. We’re not going to leave this animal on the side of the road because if we do it’ll die.”
Knowing there are parents like this, teaching their kids by example what it means to live a compassionate life—doesn’t that just warm your heart?
I wonder how many “Mom, Dad, can we keep him?” these parents had to endure.
- The Smiths share their story: You can watch dad and daughter share Wee Wee’s rescue story on ABC 7 News.
- Get to Know Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary: Poplar offers care, rehabilitation and permanent sanctuary for neglected, abused or abandoned farm animals. Learn how you can support it or get involved here.
- Find an animal sanctuary near you: If you need to find a permanent home for an animal you’ve helped, you can search for an animal sanctuary near you here.
Photo Credit: Facebook/Elisabeth Roukis Smith