Found on the side of a South Dakota road, the growing gal is now thriving

By Kate Hogan
Updated August 02, 2010 06:19 PM
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“There’s nothingness in South Dakota,” Lanore Hahn tells PEOPLEPets.com. “Just nothing there.” So it seemed odd to the Wisconsinite and her boyfriend, Derek Pritzl, when they spotted a piglet all alone on the side of the road during a drive through the quiet state in mid-July.

Concerned for the animal’s well-being, Hahn and Pritzl, a musician who was wrapping up his summer tour, pulled over and chased the piglet down. “She was fast,” Hahn recalls. “I chased her a good couple hundred yards, then got in front of her, chased her back to our van, scooped her up in a towel and that was it.”

As soon as the piglet – lovingly nicknamed Stinkers for her, um, aroma – was settled, she fell asleep. “She was in rough shape,” Hahn says. “She was exhausted and dehydrated, sunburned, and you could see she had an injured front leg. You could tell she’d gone through some trauma.”

Determined to find the lone animal’s home, Hahn and Pritzl stopped at a few farms to see if anyone knew where she came from, but no one had any leads. They ultimately came to the conclusion that the tiny critter had fallen off a transport truck – “the road rash was a telltale sign,” Hahn says – and took her home to Shelton, Wisc.

There, Hahn nursed Stinkers back to health, putting Neosporin and itch cream on her cuts and burns twice daily, and feeding the starved little pig. “It took a long time to get her to eat – she wasn’t very interested,” Hahn says. “I tried goat’s milk, six or seven kinds of baby food, Cheerios, watermelon, peaches, corn. Eventually, she went for fish, and there was no stopping her. She put on 10 pounds.”

Hahn also contacted PETA, who put her in touch with Farm Sanctuary in Watkins Glen, N.Y., a spot where Stinkers could peacefully live out her life. Since Hahn had transported the piglet across state lines – a no-no – she needed to fill out paperwork and get Stinkers to the vet before she could be placed in a permanent home elsewhere. “Many of the vets out here wanted to put her down,” Hahn says. “But I wasn’t going to let that happen.”

A few days later, Farm Sanctuary staffers came to Wisconsin to take Stinkers – whom they renamed for Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon as a nod to the piglet’s rock star saviors – and brought her to her new home. “I miss her terribly,” Hahn says. “It was tough. But I felt this was a good place for her to go … they’ll take great care of her.”

Now, the growing pig is settling into her New York digs, where she’s hopefully receiving all the cuddles, belly rubs and kisses she got from Hahn and Pritzl. “Once in a while she … just looked at me, as if to say ‘thanks,’ ” Hahn recalls. “She couldn’t have been friendlier.”