Pig Swam for Life When Florence Struck, Then 1 Boy Changes His Life Forever


Meet Flo. He’s a pig with a bit of a crazy story.

The critter currently lives in Providence, North Carolina, on Ziggy’s Refuge Farm Sanctuary, with Jay Yontz and Kristin Hartness. He hasn’t been there long, but he’s made quite the impression.

“He’s the sweetest thing you’ve ever seen in your entire life,” Hartness told The Dodo. “He’s like a little butterball. He’s so friendly and cute and goofy and lovable. Everyone who meets him says, ‘He is so special.’”

Flo wasn’t born into idyllic pastures, and he didn’t spend his early days frolicking with the people who take care of him now. His story started last Monday when he made his escape and finally began his life.

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The pig initially wandered into the path of Josh Walls, a young man who spotted the pig on the road outside his home in North Carolina. To his surprise, the animal seemed curious.

“I wasn’t sure if it was friendly, but it was just hopping and trotting along, snorting, wagging his little tail,” he said. “He was oinking, and I thought it was more of a jovial type of oinking, which was really cute.”

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“A couple questions popped into my head,” he said. “I wanted to know where this pig had come from, and if there were more of them.”

Because of the flooding from Hurricane Florence, Walls named the pig “Flo.” The two bonded, but despite all the care Walls gave Flo, the family home was no place for the pig.

“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 told The Dodo. “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.”

That’s when he got into contact with Hartness and Yontz, and made plans to get the pig transferred to the sanctuary. Even when Flo finally got to the sanctuary, he was far from safe just yet.

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The pig was in caring hands but was suffering from the trauma he’d been through. It became clear that he had escaped a flooded farm that was raising pigs for meat. Flo had somehow floated away during the flooding and managed to swim to safety — but in the process, a lot of water got into his lungs.

“We thought we were going to lose Flo last night, actually,” Hartness admitted. “We stayed at the vet all night long until about 6 a.m. We literally thought he was going to have a heart attack — he was breathing so hard and so fast.”

Fortunately, the little pig has been heading in the right direction, and is in the care of gentle souls who are there to make sure he gets better and enjoys his life.

Hartness said that Flo and the other pigs they’ve rescued seem to know they’re safe and express their thankfulness in their own piggy ways.

“It’s like they knew that their life was destined for slaughter, and they’re so grateful that we’re giving them a chance at life — that is the personality that every single one of them has,” she said.

“They’re the most cuddly, amazing, happy-go-lucky pigs that you have ever seen in your entire life.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking


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