Editor’s note: This post is a Care2 Favorite. It was originally published on March 3, 2012. Enjoy!
Written by Laura Guttridge of Florida
I received an early morning call from an animal welfare group that needed someone to rescue a 4H pig named Dragon, who was about to be auctioned off for slaughter. Apparently, this pig was a 4H project for a group of special needs students that had no idea of the impending fate of their beloved pig.
Well, this sounded like a job for me. The group wired me enough money to win the bid on Dragon, and I left. The auction was to take place that evening in Ocala, Florida, which was about a three hour drive from where I was living. First, I needed a place to bring the pig once I won the bid on him. Ocala was my old stomping ground since I had lived there many years ago with my parents, so I contacted a fellow animal lover who had a sanctuary for rescued wildlife there, and I explained the situation to her. Thankfully, she agreed to let me bring the pig to her sanctuary, pending all went well that night.
Now I needed a way to transport the pig. I called my mother, who was still living in Ocala, and she agreed to let me use her truck, a Pathfinder. I realized this was not ideal, but I had no choice. She said she would throw a ramp in the back to help load him.
When I got there I met with my mother and a high school student named Maria. She was the one that alerted the animal welfare group about Dragon. She showed me where Dragon was being kept while the auction was about to take place. Dragon was a very sweet pig. I could tell that he was well cared for. I was determined to win the bid on him, and bring him to safety.
Dragon Started a Bidding War
Many pigs were sold before Dragon made his entrance. The pigs were all selling for around the same price, and I had just enough money it seemed to buy this pig. However, when Dragon was finally led out, a big commotion started to take place. The bidding became a bidding war that I could not win. Dragon ended up selling for more than triple the money I had. The high schooler that was with me started to cry. To be honest, I felt like crying too. I will never understand to this day why this happened. It may have been because the pig was raised for a special needs program though.
After losing the bid, my mother insisted that I approach the man who bought Dragon. I did, and after explaining the situation to him, he agreed to re-sell Dragon to me. As luck would have it, this man was simply going to donate the pig to a firefighter’s barbecue anyways. So with this, I went to claim Dragon and was told “Sorry Miss but we don’t re-sell hogs around here.” I somehow convinced them to allow this “re-sale,” and went to get my truck.
When I returned, they actually started laughing at me, and said there was no way I was going to get that pig in a Pathfinder! Thankfully, someone that was hauling off other pigs over-heard what was happening. He asked me, “Where’s that hog going?” I told him to a nearby sanctuary. He agreed to do it for $200 and he wanted the cash upfront. He said he could deliver Dragon there in the morning. Unfortunately, I had just given all the cash I had to the guy that re-sold me the pig! So I re-approached him, and he was kind enough to give me back more than enough money to cover the transportation cost. Before leaving, I stressed to the man that would be transporting Dragon to get the right pig. His ear tag number was 374. Phew! Determination really does pay off.
Wringing My Hands as I Waited
Later that night, I was worried sick that the person I gave the $200 to transport Dragon would not pull through for me. I had visions of Dragon being barbecued, and all those people that were taunting me, laughing about it. The next day, I was at the sanctuary bright and early. It was a misty morning as I drove past the iron gates down a dirt road to the sanctuary. As I parked my car, I could see Dragon. I was so relieved when I got close enough to see his ear tag number 374.
Several years later, I went back to visit Dragon. He was still living there happily with another pig. I couldn’t believe how big he had gotten! If people only knew how sweet pigs could be, I’m sure they would stop eating them.