Orphan porker finds new home

Rodney the potbellied pig left his Kingman home Tuesday for what one can only hope will be greener pastures in Ash Fork.

Hackberry residents Roy and Pat Trempy, helped by volunteers, loaded the 8-year-old, neutered pig into a carryall that they muscled onto a trailer for the trip east to a sanctuary.

Rodney was a pet kept at a mobile home on Oriole Lane.

But his owner, Ruth "Selma" Eleerskof, was taken out of her home in January because of blindness and other health problems and placed in a care facility, leaving Rodney without daily human contact.

Bill Collins, property manager at Mohave Estate Management Office, said Eleerskof has out-of-state relatives.

"We were appointed by a court to oversee her care and she could not take care of herself," Collins said.

Employees from Collins' office stopped by the residence to feed Rodney after his owner was placed in a care facility.

Neighbors Dale and Rhonda Phillips pitched in to ensure Rodney had food and water on a daily basis.

Collins said he was buying pig feed at a local store when he learned that the Trempys were involved in pig rescue, so he contacted them.

Pat Trempy said she and her husband founded For Love of Potbellied Pigs of Arizona, a non-profit organization dedicated to rescue of the pigs that are native to Vietnam.

In turn, they are affiliated with the United Pet Pig Registry Service in Sistersville, W.Va.

The Trempys visited the Oriole Lane residence two or three times a week for the past three months to help care for Rodney.

They learned of the existence of the Hooved Animal Humane Society of Arizona in Ash Fork from Kingman resident Karla Kay, who helped them with a pig rescue earlier this year, and made arrangements to move Rodney there.

On Tuesday, volunteer Al Anglin helped the Trempys maneuver Rodney into a large carryall for the drive to Ash Fork.

Rodney was welcomed to his new home by Cynthia Voss, president of Hooved Animal Humane Society of Arizona.

She said he will live in an 18-by 30-foot pen with two other potbellied pigs.

The enclosure contains a mud hole and a doggie house.

"I estimate Rodney's weight at between 280 and 320 pounds," Voss said.

"It's obvious he was fed incorrectly because his weight should be 100 to 110 pounds.

"We'll put him on a diet of fruits, vegetables and alfalfa hay, which will slowly bring down some of that weight and get him back to a healthy weight.

Overweight pigs face the same dangers as overweight humans of heart attack, diabetes and other problems."

Voss said her organization was founded eight years ago and gained non-profit status three years ago.

The sanctuary encompasses 40 acres and takes in nearly any animal except dogs and cats.

Its toll-free number is (800) 324-4415.

Voss said potbellied pigs typically have lifespans of 20 years and Rodney will spend the rest of his life at her facility.

The circumstances of the rescue were different from other rescues for the Trempys.

But she offered advice to anyone with a potbellied pig or considering getting one as a piglet and raising it.

"It's a long-term commitment that you have to think about when you take it," Pat Trempy said.

"The latest studies done show that potbellied pigs live 17 to 25 years.

Be ready to give that long a commitment, if you want a pig."

Pat Trempy said it was her understanding that Eleerskof plans to make a donation to the non-profit shelter in Ash Fork.

Collins said that is true but could not say when the donation will be made or in what amount.

The Trempys own two female potbellied pigs, Blossom, 9, and Bubbles, 12.

Anyone knowing of a potbellied pig in need of rescue may contact the Trempys by e-mail at pandamine@frontiernet.net.

Be sure to mention pig rescue in the subject line of the message as they discard unsolicited e-mails as a safeguard against computer viruses.