As you can imagine, I get many emails each day requesting help for animals in need. And it’s not just dogs and cats who need help. Rabbits, birds, goats, chickens and, in the case I’m sharing today, a 400-pound pig named Elf, are looking for permanent homes as well.
Meet Alexa. Having raised Elf from a piglet for a school agriculture class, she refused to auction for slaughter the pig she’d come to know and love.
Now 17, Alexa must leave for college. Her family is no longer able to house or cover the costs of caring for Elf, who has become a part of the family. Desperate to find him a proper home, they reached out to neighbors and everyone they knew. Sadly, the only people willing to take him off their hands were those who intended to slaughter Elf for meat -- a fate they once again refused to allow.
Thankfully, a caring neighbor and mutual friend contacted me to ask for help. Most sanctuaries I contacted regretfully shared that they were simply too overloaded to take in another animal. Apparently, hundreds of animals like Elf are being relinquished due to home foreclosures and the economic downturn.
But my dear friend Frank, who runs Animal Acres sanctuary, answered my call and agreed to make space and secure Elf’s safety. While Animal Acres is also in dire need of funds to cover the ongoing care of more than 150 animals, Frank feels strongly about supporting young adults like Alexa who have made compassionate choices.
Franks’ only request was that Alexa and I raise as much money as we could toward Elf’s care, as he is only a year old and Frank expects him to live a long, happy life.
I feel so grateful that the dedicated crew at Animal Acres is making room for Elf, as I know they can only house as many as they are able to cover financially. Since Elf’s care will amount to about $50 per month, I will personally donate the first month and ask that others match what they can. There is even a way to sponsor certain animals with an automatic monthly contribution, which is a great way to help out! Anyone can donate to help the animals -- just note that your contribution is for Elf (or anyone else at Animal Acres you wish to help). I’ll keep track of how much we've raised for Elf and who has donated. I’d love to be able to raise at least a year of care for Elf and support the dedicated crew and other critters at Animal Acres.
Next week I’ll report on Elf’s journey to his new home, and hopefully we can also meet some of his new cow, pig and chicken friends at the sanctuary. Alexa has assured me that he plays well with others.
Dr. Pia Salk