Winnie arrived at Charlotte's Freedom Farm when he was around 6 weeks old after the family who bred him realized they weren’t able to properly care for him and his developmental issues. When they first took him in, his rescuers thought it was just his front legs that were underdeveloped. They quickly realized that his sternum also didn’t develop properly, meaning his lungs and heart aren’t being adequately protected at all right now, and he’s going to need extensive thoracic reconstruction surgeries.
“The main problem right now is I have to limit what he does because he is [at] high risk of something happening,” Lauren Edwards of Charlotte’s Freedom Farm told The Dodo.
Poor Winnie used to be able to play with the other dogs at the sanctuary, but they play too rough, and it’s just too risky right now. They felt bad that he was suddenly without any playmates — until Wilma arrived.
Wilma was taken in by Charlotte’s Freedom Farm after she was found wandering all alone outside somewhere. Her rescuers assumed she jumped off of a livestock truck — which definitely fits with her boisterous personality.
“She is sweet, but, oh man, she’s sassy,” Edwards said. “If you pick her up, she screams so loud I’m sure they can hear her a street over. She figured out how to jump up on the couch and loves doing that.”
Wilma definitely has strong opinions, and almost the moment she arrived, she made one of them very clear — she absolutely loves Winnie and has chosen him as her official best friend.
"They met right when she came actually and were playing within minutes,” Edwards said. “They see each other and instantly go into play mode — it’s quite cute.”
Wilma plays with Winnie differently than the dogs do, so it’s a little safer for her to play with him. Still, Edwards always makes sure she keeps a very close eye on them while they’re playing and still has to limit things in order to keep Winnie completely safe. The limitations haven’t discouraged them, though. The pair are still the best of friends and love every minute they get to spend together.
“They hang outside as well, but she’s very focused on rooting around for insects,” Edwards said. “He just sits and hangs out and watches her when they’re outside.”
Wilma was definitely exactly what Winnie needed, and in turn, he’s helped her a lot as well as she settles into her new home at the sanctuary.
“He definitely helped her feel more comfortable coming here,” Edwards said. “She’s still being quarantined from the other pigs (just protocol — for safety), so she gets a good friend this way and isn’t lonely. And he lost his dog sister playtime ... so this way he still has a play buddy. It works out for both of them!”
Winnie and Wilma may seem like unlikely best friends, but, really, they’re perfect for each other and will hopefully stay friends for a long time — even after Wilma becomes much, much bigger than Winnie.
“People love seeing them together — and she will be 800+ pounds, so watching him watch her grow will be fun too,” Edwards said.
Photo Source: Charlotte's Freedom Farm
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