(Photo by Randy M. Cauthron) [Order this photo]
(Photo by Randy M. Cauthron)
Dr. Thomas Beall was sitting behind his desk at his veterinary practice, Homestead Small Animal Clinic, taking advantage of the after-hours quiet to complete some paperwork on July 16.
A knocking from outside stirred Beall, who opened the door to find a woman with a considerable amount of blood on her clothing. She had not been injured, but instead was transporting something in need of his medical attention.
"A client of ours was heading into town, following a truck, and saw somebody throw something from the truck," Beall said.
Thinking it was a puppy, she stopped to check on the animal, only to find out it was a baby pig. She scooped up the bloodied and bruised animal and raced to Dr. Beall's office.
Initially, Beall was reluctant to take the animal.
"In the 11 years I've been here in Spencer, it's the first time I've had a pig dropped off. I don't typically do large animals," he explained, but eventually he took the pig in.
Initially, the woman just wanted Beall to humanely put it down, but the vet, after cleaning the baby pig up, decided the injuries weren't that bad after all, and instead began nursing it back to health.
"Low and behold, she's doing quite well," Beall said.
The pig is being placed with one of his staff members, whose husband farms near Ruthven. Amy and Kyle Orwig have created a private pen area for "Charlotte," named for the character in the popular children's book, "Charlotte's Web." In the book, the pig's name was Wilbur, but since the injured piglet is a girl, Beall and his staff felt Charlotte would be more appropriate.
"We have hogs already," Orwig said. "We have the space available and she'll get her own enclosure. She won't be near any of the other hogs."
Orwig added, "She's getting pretty special treatment, certainly more than the other hogs are getting. She had a mani-pedi this morning. I doubt any of the other hogs she meets will have had that."
The new addition to the Orwig farm will most likely serve as the operation's mascot, even when she reaches full size weighing in at 250 to 300 pounds.
"She's getting loved on a lot," Orwig said, snuggling Charlotte who appeared more than comfortable in her arms, and looked more like a young puppy than a pig.
Charlotte will remain at Homestead Small Animal Practice a few more days before leaving for her new home. She's used to being walked on a leash and going outside to use the bathroom.
The unusual guest has grown on the staff and Beall expressed frustration with the manner the original owner tried to dispose of the animal.
"It makes you wonder what people are thinking," Beall said.