Gail Pepe had lost her beloved pet pot-bellied pig a few months before she came across the story of Maybelle, an abused, obese pig who could hardly see or walk.
Pepe and her husband decided to adopt the one-year-old animal and construct a small house of her own in their backyard in West Bridgewater, where Maybelle has called home for the past week, according to a Wicked Local report.
“She went out in the yard — I don’t think she’s ever seen a yard,” Pepe told Wicked Local.
Maybelle’s adoption is the latest step in a lengthy recovery. The pig weighed 196 pounds when she was removed from her previous owner in Billerica, according to Animal Rescue League of Boston spokesman Michael DeFina. The ARL determined that her ideal weight should be somewhere between 120 and 140, DeFina said.
“When she first came to ARL, she was, of course, obese and immobile, but she was also depressed,” DeFina told Boston.com. “However, as the pounds came off and she regained the ability to move around freely, her demeanor completely changed. She was happy and loved engaging with staff, volunteers, and of course with the cameras when they were around.”
To help Maybelle lose weight, the staff fed her six small meals a day with basic pig feed, as well as healthy snacks of celery and cucumber — a more appropriate diet than the high-calorie dog food her previous owner allegedly fed her, according to DeFina.
“It was hard to get an exact weight on her, just because she wouldn’t stand on the scale,” he said. “She’s probably around 170 or so when she left.”
As for Maybelle’s next move?
“Hopefully, on her new diet, she can lose more,” Pepe told Wicked Local. “We want her down to 120.”