The Pigs


On Saturday, May 12, 2018, three little pigs came to live with us. They urgently needed a place to live, and we wanted to take them in so that they didn't end up separated or at a shelter, or worse.

Although we were already vegan animal lovers, we had no idea how much they would change our lives. As a family of six humans (my husband and I have four sons), we've always cared for companion dogs and cats but these piggies changed the way we look at and our sensitivity to all "farm" animals. 

three pigs grazing in field, Grand Rapids Michigan vegan animal sanctuary fundraiser

My sons and I committed to a vegan lifestyle in the spring of 2016, and our reasons were primarily ethical and for spiritual/religious reasons. (My oldest son, then 12, was the one who initiated our journey into veganism- it's another great story for a blog post some time!) We knew that the Creator of the universe, the Creator of us, was the same creator of all living beings. There was no doubt about it. The breath of life is the breath of life, and it comes from only one force.

three pigs roaming in a field, grand rapids michigan vegan sanctuary piggy

We made it our priority to follow the merciful examples in history and made it our regular practice to honor the beautiful living creation that not only conveniently surrounded us in domesticated situations but also those who were overlooked and silenced because their spirits dwelled in different body types.

We came to want more exposure and experience with the marginalized and overlooked "farm animals." Our home's suburban zoning at the time did not allow "farm" animals, so we prepared to move out to the country. Once moved into the country about 25 minutes away, an opportunity to take in three beloved pigs came into our path.


This (below) is Big Carlos with me. He's around 150 lbs of pure love. He is the dad of the Moana & Mowgli and we always wonder if he realizes that. He is the boss, and can be a little skittish around some people. Despite his size (and sometimes attitude) he is very, VERY polite when it comes to food, waits for me to put the food bowls down for his babies, then calmly approaches his bowl after they've gotten started eating. He wags his tail a lot and is a great alpha pig leader of their herd.

This is sweet little Moana!  She is a princess- her sass, snuggles & attitude make up for being the only girl. She's the most vocal, most pushy and the slowest eater. She always tries to get the prime sleeping spot on their pile of straw- the prime spot is right next to the wall. Every night she tries and every night she gets kicked out of the prime spot by Big Carlos. Mowgli often covers her up once she's snuggled in... did you know pigs cover themselves up completely with straw for sleeping? It shows their intelligence, kindness, & is quite adorable to see. Moana is quick to fall over to her side for belly rubs, and adores children, especially girls.



And this... this is my sweetest little boy- this is Mowgli. He is gentle, sweet, peaceful, loving, snuggly... and anxious. He rolls over for me within seconds of touching his belly. He was slightly smaller than his sister Moana when they arrived and today, he is a bit larger. His tail wags the fastest out of the three piggies. Any time other than meal time, he is the most chill of the three pigs. At meal time, he gets pretty excited (anxiety, maybe) and runs around a lot. He's the only one of them that leaves his food bowl to get drinks of water, then goes back to finish. He is playful, comes easiest when motioned or called... he stays close to me. Mogley and I have a special bond and I see so much of my own heart and personality in him, his eyes are beautiful. Here he is with Jennifer, the wonderful graphic designer of some of our shirts.

Carlos & Mowgli, enjoying a little mud on an otherwise dry summer day...three pigs in michigan vegan sanctuary

Here I am, picking up food bowls after feeding them, these are the two siblings, the smaller of the three, Mowgli & Moana:

Big Carlos the pig taking a stroll with my friends:

I love this picture of Carlos- he looks so majestic, peaceful & strong:peaceful pig, Carlos grazing on grass in field, vegan Michigan animal sanctuary

All the piggies rounding up for some treats & some belly rubs... ♥

Here's Big Carlos in his little pool. Their pool is in the shade of their barn and they DO use it! The sides have to stretch out when Carlos lies down in it. Pretty funny, if I must say. In this photo, you can see a little more of his eyes:
pig in swimming pool pot belly pig barn pool cooling off

One more of precious Carlos.
Before adopting these friends, we had very little experience with pigs. Okay, none really. We'd snuggled up with a few rescued farm pigs at the New York Farm Sanctuary but besides that, we have been learning as we go, with a few VERY knowledgeable, generous and helpful mentors.  Every day, we love these babes more and more, they are our family, just as much as our indoor dogs & cats. Every day, we engage with them like we do with the indoor animals. We pray for them, protect them, love them, get their vet care, play with them talk to them, feed them, read to them. Sometimes we get curled up legs & sweet smiles like this:

Smiling pig in the mud, muddy pig, smiling sleeping piggy michigan pig rescue sanctuary
Thanks for reading their story and learning a little about them. We welcome any additional support to pay for the pigs' care and help with our operating expenses, vet care, and barn improvements. You can help support us through our Patreon page or make a one time donation through PayPal or Venmo (@dominionsanctuary) that will support our residents! As a small, growing non-profit, every donation is appreciated.

Please follow along on our Dominion Sanctuary Instagram page for some piggy love, along with new vegetarian, vegan, & animal lover shirt designs, sales, and vegan motivation.