Ruby Ranch
Ruby Ranch is a sanctuary strictly for pigs. It's named after our very first potbellied pig, Ruby. Shortly after we got her, we realized there was a great need for safe haven for pigs of all kinds. So many potbellied pigs were being discarded, for many reasons. They were being adopted as cute little babies, and many people had no idea how big they would get, what to feed them, what their needs were, or even if they were legal in their area. Some were bought as gifts for children, and when the child lost interest, the pig was forgotten and discarded. Some were being tossed away by petting zoos, who had no desire to care for a full grown potbellied pig, when it's the piglets that the public wanted to see.

Farm pigs were also needing rescuing, again, people were saving tiny piglets from auctions, etc, and hand raising them, not realizing that when the wee piglet reached 6 or 7 hundred pounds, they were going to need more room than just a regular back yard. Rescuers always brace for a spike in farm pigs needing homes after movies like Babe and Charlotte's Web premiere, because people fall in love with the adorable piglets, and rush out to purchase a pig of their very own, not thinking of the pig's future. Farm pigs also come into rescue from 4-H programs, when the child raising the piglet realize they can't possibly let the animal they have loved and nurtured for months become someone's dinner.

We began planning a sanctuary about 5 years ago, and in January of 2008, we found the perfect place; a 12 acre farm in the Arthur/Mount Forest area of Ontario.

We moved our 6 potbellies in, and waited impatiently for our first "big pigs" to arrive. We didn't have to wait long. On a weekend in April, Willa and Harry arrived, transfers from another sanctuary, and the very next day, Rosie and Delilah drove up, lucky survivors of a sow breeding operation.

In August, we picked up our first farm piglet, Stormy. Shortly after, Truly, a young potbelly arrived, as a friend for Stormy. In September, Doc was brought home from a Humane Society, then Wuzzle, rescued from being someone's pig roast. In November, Beau was delivered, from a donkey sanctuary.

Ruby Ranch is approaching its first year in operation, and it's hard to believe that we are full to bursting after such a short time; Nine new pigs in 10 months.

Ruby Ranch is still very much a work in progress. We strive to make it a pig haven, with the help of caring, compassionate people who find room in their hearts for the most overlooked and misunderstood of all animals.

The Animals
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The animals is what the sanctuary is based on! Without them, Ruby Ranch would just be a house on a grassy field.

Mission and Goals Click for more
Ruby Ranch and it's caretakers wish to do more than just take care of the animals. They try to be less passive, and more active about educating so that later generations will understand their message; so that current generations will be better informed.

Mission: Our first priority is to give the best possible care to all the pigs that come through our gates.

Goals: To always welcome visitors to Ruby Ranch, to share in our greatest privilege, which is to love and care for these amazing creatures.

To educate, about pigs in general, and all the misconceptions about them, and about the plight of pigs raised for food.

To show people that pigs are no different than their beloved pets at home. They deserve every comfort, every compassionate touch, every bit of love that is bestowed on cats and dogs.

To help people understand how much they can do for the environment by choosing a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle.

To help people make the connection, and extend their compassion to all animals.

The Ruby Ranch Blog. Sherry and Bob will keep updates on the sanctuary, which can be found here. Check back often! Click the link on the left to see some of the latest headlines, or check out the full blog here.

The Ruby Ranch Blog
See the full blog

Very much time for an update!

Tuesday August 2, 2010

Where to start? Let’s begin with pigly news. Our newest addition is Milo. He’s a two year old potbelly, and his owners were distraught to have to sell their house and move to a condo.  Milo is a very resilient boy, and his people offered him all kinds of stimulation early in life, like camping, car rides etc. so he was used to new situations. But living in a condo where going outside meant a scary elevator ride was too much for him, so he was confined to indoors, which made him a sad little boy.

We really didn’t have the space for another pig, so we found him a home with a great couple with a hobby farm, and they already had a pig, so it sounded perfect. Milo’s family took him to his new home, and he seemed so happy to be outdoors again. The other animals appeared comfortable with his presence. At least at first.

Before long, poor Milo was being picked on by the goats, donkey’s and even the other pig. No one wanted anything to do with him, and the poor guy was shutting down. He spent long hours in his stall, away from the animals, and was afraid to venture out.

I got a call from his new family, saying they were very worried about him. I offered to come and get him.

Milo has been here for a couple of months now, and he seems very happy. However, I think I know why the other animals disliked him. He’s a little pig with a big attitude. He fence fights with everyone, even 800 pound Harry! A fence-fighting pig is a sight to see. They each turn sideways, tails raised high in the air, chomp their teeth and foam at the mouth. Then they begin to march back and forth, in unison, along the fence line, taking occassional bites at the other through the fence. it’s almost like a dance. A war dance.

We were hoping Milo could be a friend for Truly, who was a companion to Stormy and Doc, two young farm pigs. Last winter, we thought she might be too cold in the barn, and brought her into the house. In  the spring, when we tried to reintigrate her with the boys, it was terrible. Doc tried to attack her every chance he got, and she attacked Stormy, every chance SHE got. So it was just too dangerous, being as she is a small potbelly, and they are two very sturdy farm pigs. It was sad, because they were so close when they were young. They used to snuggle together, the two pink pigs on the outside, and little Truly smushed in the middle. They looked like a reverse Oreo cookie.

We tried letting Truly out one day when Milo was out loose. It seemed to be going very well, with each of them ignoring the other. However, my brother in law decided to feed Milo some clover that he had picked, and Truly was incensed, and attacked. It took a minute or two to break them up, but poor Milo was so stressed out, we haven’t tried again. He probably thought, “oh-oh, here we go again.” I am so bad at introducing pigs, as soon as there is a fight, I intervene, which you are really not supposed to do. You’re supposed to let them fight it out, and establish which one is going to be dominant.

So for now, Truly remains a house pig, and Milo remains a garage pig. He seems happy enough out there, with time out in the big yard, a couple of hours in the  morning, and an hour or so in the evening. He loves coming out to the barn to feed the bigpigs with us.

Truly is an excellent house pig. Probably the best ever. She always does her business outside, and she has free run outside. We  let her out, and off she goes, travelling every inch of the property. She has never left the property, and comes when we call. Comes running. She’s even taken to taking dips in the pond on hot days. She’s independent on one hand, and a big baby on the other. She loves to be with us. She’ll snuggle with Bob or I in the evening, and she sleeps on the couch at night, where she can tuck herself in under a blanket.

Happy Milo

Happy Milo


Pretty Truly

Pretty Truly


In other pig news, we were blessed to be able to find a wonderful home for Angie, a very sheltered, young potbelly from Thunder Bay. Her owner is very ill, and his wonderful, compassionate friend contacted us, hoping we could find a good home for her, before her owner passed away. Angie was picked up just last week, by an amazing lady who drove many, many hours to personally transport her home. She seems to be very comfortable there, and her horizons are expanding every day. I think she is blossoming. Many, many thanks to Marianne, for giving a home to this dear pig.

Angie in her old home-in need of a diet!

Angie in her old home-in need of a diet!

Back in June, Bob and I were pleased to be a part of the first ever Toronto Veggie Pride Parade. It was a fabulous success, and it was great to be marching right down Yonge St. alongside so many others who believed in a compassionate diet, as we do. The parade ended at Yonge/Dundas square, and we were able to meet and mingle with so many wonderful people. We hope to be able to participate again next year.

About a month ago, one of our young potbellies, Rebel, got a very bad injury to his shoulder. We’re not sure if it was from Ted the Ripper, who got into their enclosure momentarily, or from Pugsley, the babies surrogate Dad. Pugs would never hurt the babies intentionally, he loves them and is very protective of them, but his sharp tusks could have caused the injury inadvertently. It was a very deep wound, and required 2 weeks of antibiotics to prevent infection, and twice-daily cleanings with saline and a wound salve. Poor Rebel hated this so much. He had to be picked up and restrained, and he hollered mightily, but the wound healed up beautifully. He’s going to have a scar. What is a Rebel without a scar or two though? Puglsey and the babies share a condo in the garage, and spend their days in a huge enclosure in the front of the property. It is so funny leading them out there each  morning, with me in the lead, followed by the porocession of pigs. First Pugs, then Domino, with Rebel usually taking up the rear. Rebel usually likes to pause to sneak a few mouthfuls of grass, or scratch himself on the front stairs. They are quite a trio, one of my few successful introductions.

Pugs with a dandelion in his hair, and Rebel

Pugs with a dandelion in his hair, and Rebel


Domino-proud member of Puggy and the Pop Tarts

Domino-proud member of Puggy and the Pop Tarts

Last night Harry, our largest farm pig, decided he was going to camp out in the house Willa’s Dad built for her. This made me quite nervous, as I like to close the barn up at night, but as Harry was being stubborn and would NOT come inside, we had to leave it open, in case he got cold or scared. It’s now almost 8 am, and I’ve just seen Miss Rose venture out of the barn, she’s peeping into the house where Harry is. Rose, Delilah and Willa are 5 year old farm pigs, and none have been spayed, since they all arrived here too old and too large for the surgery. This means, that at any one time, at least one of the girls is in heat. This also means, that poor Harry has to put up with at least one  PMS’ing female pretty much all the time. Willa just ignores him, she has been his companion for the longest, and knows he is not equipped her. Delilah just gets ornery, and snarks at everyone, mostly Harry. Rose, on the other hand, falls deeply in love with Harry, every 21 days. She follows him non-stop, mooning over him, nudging him with her nose, and singing a very provocative song to him. She actually will sing this song to anyone who will listen, and it’s a sure indicator of when she is cycling. It’s a very deep and fast “UHH UHH UHH UHHH UHH.” The “UHHH’S” coming with both her inhale and exhale. It’s actually quite lovely. I do feel sorry that she has to have this unrequieted love though, all our males are neutered. Poor Rose.

On August 21st, there is going to be a Trot-a Thon held in Toronto. It’s organized by a commitee from the Toronto Vegetarian Association, and the proceeds will benefit both the TVA, and 5 local farmed animal sanctuaries, including Ruby Ranch.

The link with info is here: It would be great if you could join us!

We also are in the planning stages of a Big Pig Shin-Dig, sometime in September.  We’re planning a nice vegan buffet, a garage sale and raffle. More info to come.

I do believe I have rambled on long enough, shame on me for not posting more often! The pigs are beginning to stir, and breakfast preparations need to begin. The residents at this hotel for pigs don’t like to be kept waiting!

Peace, kindness and piggy hugs!~


I wonder if everyone who has pets has the extensive rituals that we do. I remember back when we just had one dog, there were rituals, of a sort. It mostly revolved around “walkies.” But I don’t remember there being things that “needed” to be done, on a daily basis, things that she expected, and by expect, I mean waiting intently for the thing she knew was coming, and showing real displeasure or downright haughtiness if it didn’t materialize.

Now with seventeen pigs, the rituals mainly revolve around feeding, but not exclusively. And I don’t mean they expect to be fed at a precise time every day, because they have learned that this varies, depending on whether we work that day, whether the day is just too gorgeous to stop enjoying it, whether we have company, there are a lot of variables, and the pigs are ok with that, they know breakfast or dinner IS coming.

The house pigs, LJ and Stannie are usually asleep when we prepare their meals. They usually wait to be called, once we have their food and water bowls ready. They come marching out of their bedroom, LJ in the lead and head for the kitchen. Then LJ waits by his mat in the dining room. When he sees his bowl in my hand, he starts to nod his head, as if to say, “Put it here, Mom, put it right here.” Then I put Stannies bowl down on his mat in the kitchen and then their water bowls. I shouldn’t say water, as their “water” has to be liberally splashed with grape juice in order for them to even consider drinking it. And not just any grape juice, thank you very much, it has to be Paul Newman’s Concord grape juice. I close the gate between the kitchen and dining room, because LJ will finish first, and then try to steal Stannie’s. LJ will finish up, then come into the living room, where he plays a little game with us. He waits a few seconds to see if we are going to let him into the kitchen to lick up Stannie’s leavings, and when we don’t he starts for the hallway to the bedrooms. This is a signal to us, it says, “you better get up and let me in the kitchen, or I’m gonna pee on the floor!” He’ll stand by the corner of the couch and look sideways at us, to see if we’re going to get up or not. Then he’ll take a few steps, stop and see if that was enough of a threat, and if we still don’t react, he’ll go around the corner where we can’t see him. This is always when we get up and go to the kitchen, LJ close behind. I look to see if Stannie is done, his buck teeth and protruding tongue cause him to eat a lot slower than LJ. He’s usually sucking up the last of his pellets by then, and if he still has a substantial amount of juice left, I’ll climb over the gate and tip his bowl, so he can more easily slurp the last of his juice.

Then LJ gets to come in and brave a head swipe from Stan as he tries to lick the bowls. He often ends up with a foamy purple streak on the side of his head or his flank for his efforts, as Stan will try and defend his empty bowls. Then they both leave the kitchen and wait for their Milk-Bone. That eaten, they wait for me to get a handful of cereal, grapes, or some such incentive to march outside for bathroom time. They’ll march down the front steps, and often Penny the dog is already outside and she’ll come running, knowing there are treats. It’s kind of funny to see two pigs and a dog lined up in front of you, heads raised, waiting for a treat. Penny will eat whatever the pigs are having, whether it’s cereal, apples, a cookie, it doesn’t matter, if the pigs are eating it, Penny will too. In nice weather, the ritual is to lead the boys around the back, and then wait around for them to go into the hay field, where they are safe, and I can see them from the house. Sometimes they’ll stay out there for hours. When I come back inside, I leave the door lightly latched, so they can open it themselves when they want to come in. LJ always comes home before Stan, except in inclement weather. LJ’s feet are very sensitive to cold, and when they turn tomato-red, he’s ready to come in. He’ll even stay out in a rain shower, as long as it’s warm. But there darn well better be a Milk-Bone waiting when they come in.

The garage pigs meal preparation is a whole big deal. We fill four 2.84 liter jugs with water, two of them get one quarter Paul Newman’s grape juice. An apple must be peeled and chopped for the babies, Domino and Rebel. A bowl of corn gets microwaved. This started out as Pugsley’s thing, as he was used to getting corn with his pellets at his old home. But then I felt guilty that the others weren’t getting it too, so now everyone gets some. Three of the pigs get Mazuri, Pugsley because that is what he was used to, and Domino and Rebel because they are babies. Three get the mini-pig lab diet pellets. I would love to feed them all Mazuri, because it’s the best in my opinion, but it’s very cost prohibitive. The first three bowls go out, and as soon as the door to the garage opens, in pop the babies, Domino and Rebel. They mill about on the landing, making it hard for us to get in the garage. Once we get past their little squealing selves, we can put their bowls down in their eating area, and we have to quickly dump out any remaining water in their bowl and replace it with fresh, warm water. They all get room temperature water, never cold. Then Pugs gets his bowl, loaded with kernel corn, just as he likes it. His water bowl is refilled. Then back inside to get Ruby, Bart and Teddy’s bowls, which have to be moistened with a little warm water, the lab diet is a lot more powdery and dry than the Mazuri. We then put Ruby and Bart’s bowls in their pen, and quickly fill their water bowls, then Teddy, who is quite indignant by this time, and standing on his hind legs peering over his fence, gets his bowl and his water filled. By this time, the babies are finished and come running for their Milk-Bone, one each. Then hop over the barrier, retrieve Rebel and Domino’s food bowls, keeping a careful watch over our thumbs, which the babies often mistake for bits of their apple as we pick up their bowls. Bowls get wiped out, and apple bits are doled out as evenly as possible. Water bowl gets topped up. Then Pugsley is usually ready for his two Milk-Bones. Teddy gets his two, then gets the rest of his jug of water-juice, which he waits expectantly for. Ruby and Bart then get their two Milk-Bones. Ruby still waves for her treats, something we taught her many years ago when she was a baby. She does this every time, without us asking. Then bowls are collected and wiped in preparation for washing. Pugsley is let out in the yard first, he will NOT do his business inside, no matter what. He’s a good boy. We leave the garage with all the pigs snoodling in the hay for any leftovers.

Now the bigpigs. Bob fills all the bowls, because the food is kept on the basement landing, and since they get the biggest quantity of food, those bowls are heavy! Three jugs are filled with warm water, and one is 1/4 juice, for Beau. All the barn pigs get sow gestation ration, even Truly and Beau, the potbellies. I tried giving Truly potbelly food, but since she was raised with Doc and Stormy the farm pigs, she wants to know what I am trying to pull. She really thinks she is a farm pig.

The bowls and jugs go into the wheelbarrow, and we head for the barn. The bowls and jugs go on the food prep table, inside the babies outdoor pen, and Bob takes the wheelbarrow out and latches the gate. He prepares Doc’s food, setting down his water bowl, pouring a little water over the pellets, and then lets Doc out the man door. He has to stand back, because as soon as that door opens, 250 pounds of pig is leaping out. Then he goes into the barn and slides open the big door. I quickly open the gate and let Truly into the yard, where her bowls are waiting. Stormy runs in circles. I wet Stormy’s pellets and hand the bowl over the gate to Bob, who is busy having his toes stomped and knees whacked by Storms. Then I hand Stormy’s water bowl over the gate. Next Beau gets his meal. Bob then leaves the barn while everyone is eating and brings the hose in. He has to be careful, in case Doc has already finished his meal, because he will leap back into the barn to steal Stormy’s food. I then grab the bigpigs bowls and fumble with the latch one handed, holding 5 heavy bowls. The bigpigs by this time are very excited, and lined up peeking through the fence. “Hello, all snouts!” I call. Little Wuzzle is right there in the fray. He’s so small he reaches up and nips the other pigs chins or necks if they are getting too pushy. Bob then climbs the fence, (it’s just easier than opening the gate and having all the pigs storm it.) I hand him the bowls, keeping one behind. Then the running of the bowls. Bob takes off with all the pigs chasing. I try and convince Harry to stay behind and get his bowl from me, which ensures that he starts eating first. At least that way he gets a few mouthfuls in before the musical bowls begins, and he spends most of his time being chased to another bowl. Generally he takes off with the others, though, and I end up giving my bowl to Wuzzle. Wuzzle will take a few bites, spill the contents, and take off for a better bowl. Harry is the only one who will concede his bowl to Wuzzle. Delilah will sometimes stay at her bowl, the first one that Bob sets down, but generally she delights in running for another one, knowing full well that EVERYONE will leave their bowl for the Queen. Willa will leave her bowl for Delilah or Rosie, but not for Wuzzle, and certainly not for Harry. I like to watch the dynamics over the fence, but I would never go in there to be chased by about a ton of hungry, slobbering pigs, like Bob does. He did get tripped once, with an armful of bowls, Harry hooked his leg with his snout. The bowls went flying and I held my breath as Bob landed, rolled, and popped up like a slice of toast out of the toaster. The look on his face was priceless, and I burst out laughing despite of the seriousness of the situation.

By this time, the little pigs are done, and I let Truly into the barn first to see if Stormy has left any “lickings.” Storms runs out to check Truly’s bowls. Then I let Doc back in the man door, and I’ve learned to open the door from the side, and stay out of the way, or I would be slammed to the ground and trampled by the Galoopus, AKA Doc. He goes straight to Stormy’s bowls, displacing Truly, who takes up her place under Doc’s belly, rooting through the hay for any missed pellets. I wondered why she did this, until I figured out what she already knew. This was the safest place to snurdle for goodies, as Doc couldn’t reach her there, to give her a toss with his snout. Stormy toddles back in and joins the hunt, and then waits for his neck rub from Mommy, who also whispers sweet nothings in his ears. If I happen to be distracted and forget his “special time” he stands alongside me and leans on my leg. He’ll stand there for several minutes, getting his neck, cheeks and forehead rubbed, before he is off again. All the bowls get collected, Beau’s bowls have to be set down for the piglet pack to inspect. Stormy usually gets these lickings, unless Doc is there, then Stormy concedes to the Galoopus. All the bowls are taken outside and rinsed with the hose. The pigs will soon leave the barn to do their business and graze for a while, but not before Daddy tells them..”Be good, be safe, be warm, Daddy loves you.” without fail.

Those are all the food related rituals, there are many others, mostly centering on bedtime, but I’ll save those for another day!

Georgie Pie Guy R.I.P

Bob and Georgie

Bob and Georgie

September 29, 2009

Exactly one month ago today, Ruby Ranch lost a very special resident. One of our first group of rescued pigs, from even before we started Ruby Ranch.

George Kune was a special pig in many ways. He was at least part Kune Kune pig, a very rare breed in Canada. Kune Kune’s originated in New Zealand, and are different from the potbellies in their shape, coats, temperment, and the fact that most of them have these unusual appendages hanging from their chins, called Piri-Piri’s. They are like fleshy tubes, like goats have.  Georgie had a beautiful, silver coat of bristles.

George was found on someone’s farm up Newmarket way, or so the story goes. The lady only went there on weekends, and needed to find someone to take Georgie. A good friend of mine found him a home at a donkey sanctuary, where he was named Clarence. Georgie was suspicious, fearful and unhappy. If I remember correctly, he was transported there in a huge livestock trailer, and we don’t think the trip was very pleasant for him.  The donkey sanctuary owner never really felt comfortable around him, and he never really settled in there. When I found out that the sanctuary owner was looking for a new home for him, I wanted him so badly. I really didn’t think hubby was going to agree to another pig, since we were now up to three in our little suburban semi-detatched. But when I told him in the back yard one evening, he got up from his chair, and started measuring a corner of the yard for a pen! I couldn’t believe it! I was outwardly calm, but my heart was pounding, and I was smiling like a kid at Christmas.

Bob built an amazing pen for Georgie, complete with a great little house a friend had found us on Freecycle.

The day finally came that we were to pick up our lovely new pig. It was a scorching hot summer day, and once we had Georgie loaded in the piggy mobile, I worried all the way home about the effect the heat would have on him. As soon as we got him home, he thundered down the ramp from the van, down the path to the backyard and straight to the cool earth beneath the apple and pear tree, where he promptly started digging a cool wallow. We put some cool water from the hose into it, and he was so happy. He spent the next few hours checking out his new yard, and he seemed to approve.

At first, Georgie was very wary of us, but it soon became clear that he was once someone’s beloved pet. The first time he dropped for a bellyrub, I was ecstatic. He was still nervous, though, and would leap up suddenly and try to bite us. He warmed up to Bob much more quickly than he did to me. One day, he was down enjoying a bellyrub, and this time when he jumped up and tried to bite me, I smacked him lightly on the nose with two fingers and said “NO, George, BAD!” He screamed and slunk away, like he knew he shouldn’t have done that. From that time on, he was much more gentle with me.

He hated when I smelled like other pigs. When we came home from volunteering at a friend’s farm, he could smell their pigs on me, and would chase me. I remember being in his pen and he chased me right up the fence, where I stayed for some time hoping Bob would come and rescue me. He didn’t. :0)

George LOVED applesauce. He would slurp it off of a spoon, his lower lip smooching out adorably. It seemed he had been taught a trick at some point as well. Whenever he was getting treats, he would take one gently, then touch his nose to the ground and look up for another. He didn’t mind his hooved being trimmed, nor the Hooflex that we rubbed on the pads of his feet. He had evolved into such a sweet, trusting boy. Whenever it was his turn to roam the back yard, all it would take is for Bob to lay a blanket down, and Georgie would be there, ready to snuggle. He would lie in front of Bob, and Bob would reach around and rub his tummy. We called this playing the “piguitar.”

Georgie loved rain, and we’d watch him in the back yard, running and barking, before retreating to his nice, dry house.

It wasn’t too long after George’s arrival that we decided we needed to sell the suburban house and look for our farm. We needed to move the pigs to another location while we painted, sodded, re-floored, and eventually showed the house to prospective buyers. Our friends whose farm we volunteered at offered to board Georgie, Ruby and Bart while we got these chores done. I’ll never forget the day we moved George. We were worried about getting him into the piggy mobile, because there was a stretch of several feet between the fenced back yard and the ramp to the piggymobile where he could possibly bolt, and I was terrified he was going to take off. I got some of his favorite treats and lead him out of the safety of the back yard. He followed me right up the path, and straight into the piggymobile. I was relieved, but so sad that he trusted me so completely and here we were moving him again, from his very happy home to something new and unknown for him. I cried all the way to the farm.

When we arrived, George was very agitated, and once we got him into his nice large pen, which already had his little house in it, he couldn’t be settled. He ran from us, and wanted no part of our attempts to console him. The entire time he was there, about 6 months in total, he was angry. He wouldn’t let me near him, and I was crushed that he felt I’d betrayed him. Bob could spend short periods with him, before he got upset, and Georgie also bit my friend’s arm while she was reaching over the fence to feed him. He was so angry.

When we’d finally sold the house and bought the farm, I couldn’t wait to bring him home. It was a freezing day in January when we finally went to pick him up. I was leery of him, since he had been so distrusting of me since being boarded. We backed the piggymobile up to his new home, and he marched down the ramp and into his new pen with a look that seemed to say, “What took you guys so long?” He adored his new condo that Bob and his brother built for him. He immediately started rubbing his big head on Bob’s knee, a game that he liked, because he’d rub so hard that Bob had to really flex his legs, or George would knock him off balance. It took a few days for me to be brave enough to pet him, since he’d tried to bite my hand several times at the other place. One day though, I just got in his pen with him, and started petting him gently and telling him how happy I was that he was finally home. He flopped over for a tummy rub, and I cried. Our sweet Georgie was back.

When spring finally arrived, he was thrilled with his new yard. What made him even more happy was when we let him out to roam the farm with us, and he could eat whatever grasses he liked, and he’d follow us anywhere. He loved taking trips alongside us with wheelbarrows overflowing to the manure pile way out back. A blanket still produced the magical pull for him to charge over and flop down beside us. He spent hours in his yard, often munching grass till well after dark.

George was healthy and happy until one day in August. We arrived home from work and he wasn’t in his yard to greet us. He was curled up in his condo, and no amount of coaxing would bring him out. When he still wouldn’t come out for his dinner, I was really worried. After the other pigs were fed, we managed to get him out and take his temperature. He had a fever. I tried to get an injection of antibiotic into him, but he was well enough to resist my unskilled attempts at that. I knew he needed them, so we decided if he still wasn’t well the next morning, we’d take him into the vets. My thoughts were that they could just get a shot into him, give us some oral antibiotics, and we’d take him home to recover.

The vet, however, wanted to keep him overnight, and try to get some blood samples. As ill as he was, he resisted her every attempt. We reluctantly left him there overnight, in the company of strangers, after returning home to get his juice, his bowls, his blanket, and his food. He was very tired.

The next morning we both had to work, and Bob called the vet from his office. She told him that George was acting very aggressively, and though his fever had broken, he still wouldn’t eat, and when he wasn’t trying to bite them, he was acting lethargic and depressed. She was in the midst of rounding up a team to anesthetize him, in order to get blood, x-rays and ultrasound. When Bob came to my work and told me this, my immediate reaction was to wait. If he was behaving aggressively, he was likely feeling a bit better. I called the vet to ask her to hold off on the anesthetic. I was very scared of letting him be put under, and had a very bad feeling about it. She told me that if we didn’t get the tests done right away, it would be Monday before anything else could be done. Oh why did you have to be sick on a Friday, George? I very reluctantly agreed that the tests should be done.

Late that afternoon, the vet called to say that all the tests results were back, and inconclusive. He had an infection, that much was clear, but it’s origins were unknown. He was having some difficulty coming out of the anesthesia, but she had just given him another shot to bring him out, and she thought he would do best to recover at home. We could come and pick him up after work, and she would give us some oral antibiotic for him. I was thrilled. Georgie was coming home!!

We got to the hospital, and George was awake, but very groggy and not himself. He was only too happy to get into his crate for the trip home. He knew exactly where he was going. He fell into a deep, snoring sleep on the way home, and we stopped and picked up his favorite treat of all time..applesauce. When we got home, it was hard to wake him. He groggily got up and snuggled right into his condo. We stayed with him for a while, but he was out like a light. I thought he just needed to sleep it off.

The next morning I had to rush out to work very early. I called home a little while later, and Bob said he couldn’t wake George. He had wet himself during the night. I told Bob I was on my way home, to call the vet and say we were bringing him back. It’s a 1.5 hour drive home, and I was out to break all landspeed records, until I got a call from my neighbor, saying Bob had come over and borrowed her SUV to get George to the hospital, and he would meet me there.

I got there before Bob and sat and waited, fearing the worst. Finally Bob pulled up, and I jumped out of the van to meet him. I knew from the tears on his face that it was too late. George had passed on the drive, fighting mightily to breathe, to survive. If ever there was a pig who loved his life, it was George, and he wasn’t going to give it up without a fight. We sobbed over his body for some time, before wrapping him in a blanket and taking him home. Bob dug him a grave amongst a peaceful grove of trees, and we laid him to rest.

The week after his passing consisted of some of the best weather we had had all summer, and all I could feel was anger, that George was missing it. I was in a fog of despair and guilt. I felt that if I had just listened to my instincts, and not let him be anesthetized, he’d still be with us. I couldn’t function, and it was impairing the care and attention the other pigs were getting.

One week to the day after his passing, I got an email from my son’s ex-girlfriend, who had just heard about George. Reading her words, it was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders, and the sunlight that had been beating down on the barricade I had built around myself was finally getting through. I cried, and I got up and started to go about life again. This is what Vanessa told me:

With animals I believe strongly that their souls will follow you into the next life and be reincarnated as some other being. They will be with you to teach you again and share their love. I am convinced that animal lovers will never be alone. Not in this life or the next. 
For me it’s a piece of mind to think that you will meet again with the souls that surround you in this current life. 
I don’t know if you necessarily believe in reincarnation or past lives, but the idea is very comforting.
Apparently every past life you’ve had and every life you will have after this one the same souls will follow you. Together you will teach each other and grow as greater beings. 
Every time I lose someone close to me I think about that.
I think about how I will see them again, in a different form and we will continue to learn about life together. We will continue to love each other.
I am crying again at her beautiful, wise, life saving message. I don’t know if she knows what her message did for me. Of course I thanked her, but words can’t express the lightness I felt, the great relief at knowing Georgie was not forever lost to me. It made perfect sense, of course I had known Georgie before, there was no other way to explain the relationship we had otherwise, the great sense of knowing him, knowing his soul. I know we’ll meet again, I only hope that I remember what he was to me in this life. I think I will.
I sat alone in the backyard that night. When I looked up into the sky I saw a brilliant blue star, winking at me. Georgie had striking blue eyes, and I just knew he was sending me a  message, telling me it’s ok, and that he was glad I finally understood. Now whenever I see something blue and beautiful, I’m reminded of George, and I can be happy for the brief time we shared in this life. I miss you Georgie, and can’t wait till we are together again.

The House is a mess…but the barns are clean!


Monday June 1, 2009

Sometimes I stress about the state of our house, it’s a mess, truth be told. There’s usually newspaper strewn about, because the housepigs love to tear it up. The floors are dirty, because we are constantly in and out of the house in our Wellies, and the pigs dirty hoovies leave tracks the minute I try to clean the floor. There’s usually puddles on the kitchen counters from all the bowl washing and water jug filling. Stannie likes to root up the carpet where two pieces join, and lie on the floor beneath. There’s usually hay tracked in somewhere. The only thing you will never find on our floors is a kernel of pig chow, dog kibble or cat food. With pigs, not a morsel is safe from their sensitive snouties. It’s just not a priority for me to keep the house spotless. It’s more important that the barns are clean. I sweep the floor more often in the little barn than I do the house. I fret about the cobwebs in the barn more than I do the ones in the house. Sometimes I go into panic mode when we are expecting company, but then I figure, hey, anyone who knows us knows that the pigs are the most important thing, and if they can’t deal with a messy house, then they generally just don’t come back. Someday we’ll have all the stalls, yards and pastures just the way we want them, and I might have time to concentrate on beautifying our living space. Until then, you’ll sooner see me with a broom in the barn than in the house, and there it is.

Our boarder, Pugsley arrived a week ago today. He’s a lovely pig, due to the fact that he was raised with love. His human Mom is truly a kindred spirit, she even has the same name as me! First and last! She understands pigs the way only a true pig person does. Pugsley seems to be enjoying life here. The nests he builds with his hay and blankies from home are phenomenal. His Mom was concerned that Pugs would miss his special meals that she always prepared for him, pig chow, kernel corn and potatoes. Well, the potatoes are a little much when we are feeding 18 pigs, but it’s so easy to just open a can of corn and pour it on his chow, at least he still gets that, and always will. He brought his radio from home, and although we can’t seem to tune in any classical music, (his favorite) he seems to be enjoying the same rock station we listen to. No hard stuff, just the ballad-y type stuff. He has his bowls from home, and his blankets, and he seems to love the pig yard. I’m hoping that he can be friends with Rebel and Domino in the near future, then he will have all that I wish for him, except his human Mom. But I’m confident he will be reunited with her someday. In the meantime, I will do all I can to be his replacement Mom.

Little Wuzzle is just so amazing. He is an important part of the bigpig herd. I was letting him back into his old pen at mealtimes, until the piglet pack moved into it, because I was afraid he was too small to withstand the frenzy and stampede at meal time. I needn’t have worried. He runs to the far end of the barn where the first bowl is hurriedly placed by Bob, takes a quick mouthful from under Queen Dee-Dee’s nose, follows to the next bowl, takes a bite, and so on till the last bowl is placed, and that one is the one for him. He does the musical bowls game like a pro, running for the unattended bowl the second Willa, Rosie or Delilah oust him from his. Harry does not oust anyone, and will even leave his bowl should Wuzzle demand it. Sweet Harry. I am looking forward to the day Doc joins this herd. Somewhat. I’m worried about him, but I want him to be among pigs his own size, and to have the large pasture to run and play in. It’ll be sad to separate the three Musketeers, the piglet pack, and I’ll miss seeing Doc and Storm lying side by side, with little Truly smushed in the middle. They’re like an oreo cookie in reverse. Truly is the chocolate in the middle.

The visit from the Vegans and Vegetarians of Guelph is approaching, and we are so looking forward to it. The Bake sale is this month too. If anyone would like more info on either of these events, or directions to the ranch, please contact me at

Dirty Wuzzle

Dirty Wuzzle

Spring Happenings

Spring has finally arrived at Ruby Ranch, and although it’s been a chilly, wet one, the pigs are very happy.

Stannie and L.J spend hours out in the hay field, the bigpigs are already wallowing, and the piglet pack are simply thrilled that their grass is back.

We welcomed two new piglets about a month ago, from the Oakville Humane Society. We named them Rebel and Domino, and darn, are they cute. There is nothing in the world they love more than apples.

Pugsley, our boarder, is due to arrive soon. I’m looking forward to getting to know him, and figuring out where he is going to fit into the scheme of things.

The piglet pack is moving to the barn this weekend, I want Doc to get accustomed to the big pig herd, as he will eventually be moving in with them. He will get to know them through the fence, just as we did with Wuzzle, who now lives with Willa, Harry, Rosie and Delilah full time.  Doc needs to be in a roomier area, he’s getting so big, and I’m afraid he may  eventually hurt Stormy or Truly. I would like Rebel and Domino to move in with Storms and True, once Doc is with the bigpigs.

We have so much work to do, I’m so happy I’m on holidays for the next week. Pens need to be finished/built, mountains of stuff to go to the dump, and also mountains of winter poo to be moved to the manure pile. I was hoping to have a work party while I was on holidays, but with the threat of H1N1 still hovering, I feel the pigs are vulnerable to someone bringing in the virus, and I’d like to keep visitors to a minimum for the time being.

We received an email from a wonderful lady who is planning to participate in the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale, and she wants to donate all the profits to Ruby Ranch! What a wonderful surprise! We plan to go to the bake sale, and have been toying with the idea of taking little Stormy. We had a harness on him for the first time, and he didn’t mind it at all. He used to be quite the traveller when he was younger, he went to work with Bob every day when he was sick with his ear infection, so I think he’ll be alright with the trip to Guelph.

Check out all the great things happening around the world with this fantastic idea:


Wow, what's this place?

Wow, what

Spring is coming..I think

Truly Scrumptious

Truly Scrumptious

We here at Ruby Ranch, human and pig alike, are awaiting spring anxiously. The babies, especially, I think. Doc, Truly, Stormy and Wuzzle are so bored. I can’t wait for the barn to thaw out sufficiently, so we can give it a good cleaning. We’ve had the bigpigs and Wuzzle out a few times, but not for very long. Their feet, noses and underbellies turn quite an alarming shade of pink when they’ve been out for very long.

Every once in a while, Wuzzle will wait for the man-door of the barn to open, and leap out, running down the path full-tilt, spinning and barking happily. Well, he doesn’t so much leap, as throw his upper body over the raised threshold, and grunt and strain to get his back end over. He’s definitely put on a few pounds this winter!

He was sick for a few days, but a day in the house and TLC seemed to put all that right. I think it was some kind of virus, because shortly after Wuzzle felt better, Beau came down with the same symptoms. Just like Wuzzle, Beau’s malady lasted about 2 days. Strange. None of the bigpigs appeared to be affected.

Baby Truly was spayed 4 days ago. She went to a wonderful vet, one recommended by a friend who also rescues pigs. I can’t say enough about Dr. Halbert. She is compassionate, with a very calm and soothing manner. She let us stay with Truly even after she was out, lying on the table being shaved. I got a little panicky after she had her second shot of sedative, when she was fighting it so hard, and trying to get up. The vet quickly calmed my fears. The incision is undetectable, I’ve never seen such a nice sewing job. Truly will definitely be able to wear her bikini this summer! Dr. Halbert even called Sunday evening at 8:15 to see how Truly was doing. Truly has been inside the house since the surgery, and I love having her here. She is so cuddly, and wants to be wherever we are. I think she’ll have to go back out to the garage soon, though, her “brothers” Stormy and Doc miss her, and L.J hates her. It’s really hard rotating through three groups of pigs being in the living room. Ruby and Bart come out while Stannie and L.J are in one bedroom, Truly in another, then Stannie and L.J come out, then Truly comes out. Musical pigs. Truly is not used to being alone, she’s been Stormy’s constant companion since she arrived. She’s so darn adorable.

Willa and Bob are really developing an amazing bond. Each evening after feeding, Bob will lie in the hay in the bigpigs pen. Willa will come over, sniff him all over, and then push her way in behind him and lie down, right up against him.  She’ll lay there, happily getting her belly rubbed, until it’s time for us to go. It’s really something to see, great big Willa, dwarfing Bob. I told Bob his head looks like a grape next to Willa’s. Willa and Harry are like giant puppy dogs.

We are off to put the latest delivery of hay and straw into the barn, the pigs will be so happy.


Christmas Feast!

Christmas Feast!

Welcome to the Ruby Ranch Pig Sanctuary blog! Not a lot happening at the sanctuary in the frozen winter. The pigs prefer not to be out in the snow, and I can’t say I blame them. On sunny days, the bigpigs will go out for a few minutes, but only if we go with them.

They all had a nice Christmas, with a special feast of popcorn, carrots, spinach, lettuce, apples, canteloupe, sweet potatoes, pears, and gingerbread man cookies.

Winter is a time of catching up on sleep for the pigs here. We all dream of spring, and can’t wait for it’s arrival. For the humans, it’s a dreary time of longer commutes due to the weather, leaving before the sun comes up and getting home after sunset. The morning feed is a hurried affair, but the evening feed is more leisurely, and we get to spend some time with the pigs, dodging the serial rooter, Doc, watching Wuzzle and Penny the dog play and lick all the bigpig bowls, sitting in the hay with Harry, Willa, Rosie and Delilah, and watching Georgie and Ted savour a second bowl of warm water and grape juice, and laughing at the antics of the wee babies, Stormy and Truly.

The 4 house pigs don’t care for the cold at all. Ruby and Bart are strictly litterbox babies in winter, while Stannie and L.J will brave the subzero temperatures for a few minutes to do their business outside, but only if one of us goes with them. Mostly they sleep, with a keen ear out for the tell-tale sounds of someone entering the kitchen. Kitchen=food in their minds.  L.J likes to curl up beside me on the loveseat as I type on the computer, and Ruby lays with her Dad on the couch, letting him know if she feels he is taking up more than his fair share. Bart likes to lay on his blankies, and Stan is usually in the bedroom, burrowed into his blankies, and whatever clothing, newspaper or bags that he can find he incorporates into his “nest.”

We are all more than ready for spring!

Welcome to Ruby Ranch


This is just a temporary post, establishing connectivity between all the working bits inside of the website. Soon it will be taken down for Sherry to continue posting for herself

Thanks for visiting,


Blankets, hay, straw, pink insulation, plywood, dog houses, fruit, veggies, cash donations.

Of course, anything is welcome.
Without the support of many different parties the ranch itself would be very difficult to sustain. There are so many tasks that need to completed daily and those tasks require supplies. This section allows for an easy way to donate to the ranch directly. For 20 dollars a month a pig can easily be sponsored. Expand this page for more information.
Become a sponsor of one of our pigs!
Expand for more information.
BIG Pig's Name
Small Pig's Name

Sponsorships are different depending on the size of the pig. Farm pigs need more accommodation and also eat more than a smaller potbelly. If you are setting up a sponsorship, please inform us which pig you wish to support after you click on the 'Donate' button.
Farm Pigs : $20/mo.

Stormy, Delilah, Doc, Wuzzle, and Harry.

Potbelly Pigs : $10/mo.

Ruby, LJ, Stan, Truly, Bart, George, Ted, and Beau.

One Time Donations

Any amount is welcome and appreciated for a single donation.

Special Appreciations
Click for more
We would like the thank certain special people for their donation of time, effort, financial support and construction materials towards the Ranch.

Thank you to:
Janice W

Thank you to Janice W for your generous sponsorship of Rosie Rocks.

Misha B

Thank you to Misha for allowing us to care for his beloved Willa and for all the materials and hard work he's brought to the Ranch. We also appreciate his continuation of financial support of Willa.

Terri P

Thank you to Terri for her fundraising efforts and her ideas for future fundraising events.

Jane D

Thank you to Jane for all the construction site goodies that she brings us.

Please contact us at Sherry @!

Quick Donate

Bob and Sherry are always looking for ways to make the pigs more comfortable. Donations are always welcome. You can use the below PayPal methods, or make other arrangements by contacting Sherry @

Or if you feel like donating on a monthly basis to a BIG pig, use this button.

BIG Pig's Name

Small pigs can be donated here, too!

Small Pig's Name
Blog Headlines


Posted: October 14th, 2009
Filed Under: Uncategorized

Georgie Pie Guy R.I.P

Posted: September 29th, 2009
Filed Under: day to day life

The House is a mess…but the barns are clean!

Posted: June 1st, 2009
Filed Under: Uncategorized