Winnie was just a tiny little piglet when she met the person who would change the fate of her life.
When Lindsay Scroggie was just 16, her grandfather lent her a pig to play with and raise for the summer.
“My grandpa’s been raising pigs for slaughter since my mom was a kid,” Lindsay explained. “[When I was] growing up he’d usually give me and my brother a pig or two to play with for the summer and then they’d go back in the fall for obvious reasons.”
So off Lindsay went to her grandfather’s barn to pick out a pig. She explained: “I sat on the gate while I pointed to which pig I wanted and home it came.”
This wasn’t the first time Lindsay had picked out a pig, but somehow this time it felt very different. “Maybe it was because I was a little older but Winnie always seemed different than the other pigs we raised as kids. She was personable. She’d lay beside me in the grass, help me do chores in the morning, follow me for walks,” Lindsay said. “I knew there had to be more for Winnie than going back like all the other pigs but I never actually thought about the ‘slaughter’ aspect throughout the summer.”
Over the summer Winnie grew and grew and Lindsay and her family really fell for her personality. “She turned into a pet and no one really viewed her as meat,” Lindsay said.
Soon Winnie had a pen in the yard for when Lindsay wasn’t around to watch her. Winnie really had become part of the family and was viewed as a pet by the family. “It started to become an issue,” Lindsay said.
As the summer came to an end the air began to go cold and Winnie got pneumonia. Even if Lindsay could persuade her granddad to spare Winnie’s life – there was no way the pig could carry on living with Lindsay.
“I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep her warm enough through the winter if she were to stay, and keeping her at the pig barn all by herself all winter wouldn’t be fair,” Lindsay said.
Lindsay began to put up ads to try and find a forever home for Winnie.”I was scrolling through Facebook … which is how I got into contact with Esther’s owners,” Lindsay said.
Lindsay decided to contact the owners of Instagram famous Esther the Wonder Pig hoping they could help. They couldn’t take Winnie on theirselves but they did know a sanctuary, Home Free Farm, in Kingston Ontario that could take Winnie on.
Lindsay’s grandfather agreed to release Winnie for $350 – the market price of a pig.
So at the end of the summer Winnie caught a ride with a volunteer who drove her 4 hours to her forever home.
But Winnie didn’t ride alone.
“Lindsay insisted that she jump in with them to make sure that Winnie was OK,” Carrie MacInnis, the owner of the sanctuary explained. “Lindsay is a very special soul. She so deserves recognition for her choice to save Winnie.”
“Winnie ended up here, at about 8 months old and about 400 pounds,” MacInnis added, remembering how, on Winnie’s first night at the sanctuary, she and her kids cuddled with Winnie to comfort her. “She’s now almost 4, and weighs almost 900 pounds.”
Ever since that day, Winnie has lived out her life at the sanctuary. She loves lying in the sun and going on walks.
Three years later, Winnie got a surprise visitor.
Lindsay was touring colleges in the area when she got in touch with Carrie to see if she could arrange a visit to see her pig.
When Lindsay arrived she hopped in Winnie’s pen and immediately came over to see her long-lost friend.”She nearly knocked me over! With one call Winnie perked up her ears,” Lindsay said. “She definitely remembered.”
It turns out Lindsay’s love and affection had had a lasting effect on Winnie. The pair definitely have a friendship that will last a lifetime!