July 9th, 2016 is a day that will remain emblazoned in our memories for eternity. It's the day that Rocky entered our lives.
In the four months since his rescue, we've learned more about pigs, about rescue and about life, than we'd ever imagined possible.
Because of Rocky, we quickly learned how to wrangle a squirmy, screeching piglet and take his temp without getting bitten. Or pooped on.
Rocky's rescue opened our eyes to the really good side and the really bad side of animal rescue -- and to humanity, in general. It taught us to work on thickening our skin and to remember that there will always be naysayers and people who try to undo the good we're doing. But those people don't matter.
Most of all, though, Rocky taught us that life is truly a gift -- that tomorrow is never promised and that small victories matter. He taught us to trust our gut, since it's usually right, to think outside the box and to never give up hope, until there's no more hope left to lose.
Oh, and patience. Rocky definitely taught us a lot about patience.
The moment I met Rocky, I knew there was something different about him. Each of the animals we take in are special, but there was something extra-special about Rocky. I couldn't quite put my finger on it at the time, but in hindsight, I think it was the many lessons Rocky's rescue would teach us that I sensed.
During Rocky's recovery, his doctors warned us that he may have long-term effects from his conditions, but that truly, only time would tell. Patience. When he came home, he had some trouble with his front legs and we sought out the help of an animal physical therapist, who determined that because Rocky was down for so long as a baby, when essential growth and development happens, that his tendons were much shorter than normal. Again, we were told that "time" was the key. We helped Rocky strengthen his legs with special exercises, but his body needed time to fully heal and make up for the lost development during the first weeks of his life. All we wanted was for someone to tell us that Rocky would be perfectly okay. That for all he'd been though, he was going to make it just fine. But no one could. We had to wait it out. Our patience was being tested yet again.
Today, Rocky's getting around just fine and he has a personality many times bigger than he is. He screams at the top of his lungs, gets a foamy mouth and does a very impressive "hangry dance" when he's ready to eat, and he melts into an adorable piggy puddle for belly rubs. He's smart and adorable and stubborn. So, so stubborn. Rocky does what he wants, when he wants, how he wants -- but really, can you blame him? He's been through the works in his short life -- if he's a little grumpy here and there, that's totally fine with us.
Rocky's still a baby and has a lot of growing left to do. If and how he will be affected long-term by his rough beginning is still a question no one can really answer. We will be patient and see how his story plays out. But one thing's for certain -- no matter what happens with Rocky, or what challenges we may face with him down the road -- we will know that we made the right decisions for him. We can see it in his eyes, every time we look at him, and we feel it in our hearts, whenever we are in his presence. He embodies everything that animal rescue is about -- giving it all, until you've got no more left to give because you know, in your heart, there's no other option -- and we are so, so grateful that Rocky came into our lives to show us that, first-hand.
People say that Rocky is so lucky to have landed with us -- but I'd say we're even luckier to be the ones who get to help him along on his journey.
We know that Rocky's changed many other lives besides just ours! We want to hear about how Rocky has impacted your life! Leave a comment and you could be featured in a future piece about Rocky's impact on the world.