In North Carolina last Monday, 20-year-old Josh Wells walked out of his house and saw a pig racing towards him — a site one does not normally see most days, if ever.
Due to Hurricane Florence flooding the area, Walls and the community had seen plenty of bizarre sights in the past days like alligators and snakes in floodwaters.
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But a pig?
This was definitely, unexpected.
As the pig made its way towards Walls, Walls was unsure of what to do next. But Walls soon discovered that the pig was very friendly and that the animal had been through much trauma, as the pig was sunburnt and his lungs filled with water.
It was soon discovered that a factory farm that breeds pigs for pork production had been taken over by the floods — leaving many pigs who had been left behind to swim for their lives to safety.
The pigs trapped in the factory were not accustomed to exercise and most died due to exhaustion or drowning as a result.
But not the pig who found Walls.
Walls thought the pig was a female and named the pig Flo (he later discovered the pig was in fact, a male.) Walls decided to do look after Flo, giving him food and water, as well as covering Flo’s skin with mud to attempt to help with the sunburn pain.
Walls then found he was not able to keep Flo on his family’s property so Walls and his mother got in touch with Ziggy’s Refuge Farm Sanctuary in Providence, North Carolina.
“I sat with Flo and got the trust from Flo, and ever since then, I tried to figure out how to get Flo in the right direction,” Walls said. “They’re really cute animals. And smart. I’ve learned so much [more] about pigs in three or four days than I ever have in my entire existence.”
Cofounders Kristen Hartness and Jay Yontz were beyond happy to take in Flo but there was an issue with getting Flo to the sanctuary, as many of the roads leading into Walls’ neighborhood were closed off and they could not get the pig to safety right away.
Hartness was able to find a family who would keep Flo safe until she and Yontz were able to pick him up and take him back to their sanctuary.
Everyone at the sanctuary, including Hartness and Yontz, fell in love with Flo just as Walls did but Flo was very sick. The pig was having difficulty breathing as he took in so much water he was overheating.
It was then that Hartness and Yontz took the sick pig to a vet. But thankfully, the next day Flo made a miraculous recovery according to the pair and was even reported to be “running through the yard.”
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Since Flo came into Hartness and Yontz’s lives, the two have taken in multiple pigs rescued from Hurricane Florence and are working hard to make sure all the pigs get medical care.
And as for Walls, there isn’t a day that goes by that he does not think of Flo, who he says changed his life in so many ways. Walls shared that he had never before thought of the factory farmed pig’s lives before and had never thought himself to be an animal welfare advocate before Flo but now wants to do everything and anything to help animals just like him.
To help Flo and other pigs rescued from Hurricane Florence live their news lives at the sanctuary, you can donate to Ziggy’s Refuge Farm Sanctuary here.
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