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Wednesday, January 5,2022

How Stella Got Her Groove Back

By Susan Hargreaves Author-Activist-Educator of  

By Eryn, Animal Hero Kids reporter.

Rebecca was 12 years of age when the phone rang in their rural Grant, Florida home. A neighbor had just discovered a bruised, scratched, thin and extremely dehydrated female pig, collapsed in his yard. “She looked terrible, I knew I had to help in any way I could,” said Rebecca.

She had a missing tail and a stapled number tag in her ear, so they knew she had been used on a farm for breeding since her tail was cut off, standard practice on factory farms. Her scratches and cuts could have been from scraping on the road when she fell off a slaughterhouse transport truck. They call it road rash. But one thing was obvious: she needed water badly!

The day Rebecca first saw Stella

They dragged the water hose out as far as it would reach and began to make a giant puddle of muddy water in the yard. Their piggy guest was weak, but she used what little strength she had left to drag herself toward the water and her salvation.

As Robyn, Rebecca’s mother puts it, “She (Stella) allowed Rebecca to pet her while she was drinking some water, and after getting sprayed with the hose, she lay down and took a mud bath for a while. That is when Rebecca named her Stella.”

Stella was moved down the street to live with Rebecca’s family. They had plenty of space so that Stella could graze and simply enjoy the wide open space. Her weeks there were completely opposite of her previous living conditions at the factory farm.

When she was kept as a breeding pig, she didn’t even have enough space to turn around, let alone lie down. With Rebecca’s family she had more space than she would ever need. At the factory farm it seemed she was never fed enough to stay at a healthy weight, since she was so thin. Now she got to feast on grain, bread, carrots, hay, and her favorite food, grapevine leaves.

Stella received the kindness and love that, before meeting her rescuers, she had never experienced before. However, they could not keep her, so a kind neighbor named Sue knew of a sanctuary for pigs named Rooterville near Gainesville, Florida. Stella was safe for the rest of her life in her forever home.

Stella’s life was changed for the better when she was rescued, but also when Rebecca gave her love. Something as simple as the communication between children and animals is often seen as being inspirational, even miraculous. Rebecca didn’t just give Stella her name or pet her when she was hurt; she showed Stella that you can still hope. Rebecca taught Stella that some people will hurt and break you, but others will help and heal you.

Most of all, Stella got to experience the unconditional love of a little girl – which some people say is the most amazing thing anyone, human or animal, can ever have!


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