When a couple in Franklin bought Amy the pot belly pig two years ago, they thought she would stay small.
But that notion quickly evaporated when Amy began to grow and the mixture of meat and vegetables plus sweets she was being fed made her balloon into what one official at MSPCA at Nevins Farm called “easily one of the fattest pigs I had ever seen in my life.”
Now, after spending almost three months in MSPCA care, Amy has dropped 20 pounds — she has about 80 more to go to be in the normal range for a pot belly pig — and the 2-year-old, dark-colored pig is up for adoption.
Amy was kept inside most of her life since her owners were simply uninformed about how to properly care for a pig — they thought she would remain a “mini pig,” a myth that MSPCA officials said has caused a “sharp increase” in the amount of pig surrenders over the last five years, 96 to Nevins Farm alone.
“Half of these surrenders are due to owners who only realized after their pigs grew larger than expected that they could no longer care for them,” Ellie Monteith, Nevins Farm’s equine and farm animal program manager, said in a statement. “Pigs make wonderful pets but it’s essential that we know what we’re getting ourselves into when we decide to take one on.”
Along with getting the wrong foods, Amy was also given too much to eat and wasn’t exercised.
“She was at least 100 lbs. overweight when we got her and was easily one of the fattest pigs I had ever seen in my life,” Monteith said.
Amy couldn’t move much and lacked motivation to do so when she arrived at Nevins Farm on Sept. 27, according to MSPCA officials.
But that began to change via a strict diet and what’s being called “piggy aerobics” — Amy walks the length of the barn a few times a day and is rewarded with treats, according to Rob Halpin, an MSPCA spokesman.
“Her personality has emerged,” Halpin said, noting that Amy was “lethargic and irritable” when she first arrived. “Like all of us, as we get healthier, our personality tends to get a little brighter and we’re seeing the same thing from Amy.”
He described her as “more outgoing” with “more energy.” Plus she even seems to like exercise now.
Now that she’s made progress, Amy is ready for adoption, and Monteith wants to find her a home with someone who knows how to care for her.