Hannah the pig was rescued from a snake food site in Montana when she was born with deformed rear feet. She was initially rescued by a woman named Allison who reached out to 40 sanctuaries, but Ziggy’s Refuge animal sanctuary in North Carolina was the only one that accepted her. For four years she was looked after by the sanctuary staff and was able to walk thanks to protistic boots that had to be fitted every day to her delicate rear legs. Hannah slept in a house setting, as she needed a memory foam bed to be comfortable.

But in June 2023, Hannah was approaching 600lbs, and her two severely deformed feet worsened to the point she needed surgery. On the 19th of June, she was driven to a hospital 11 hours away, where Dr. Hawkins would perform the surgery. On 20th June, the sanctuary posted the following on Instagram: “Hannah loves to play, loves to run (yes you heard us right), loves to love and loves to be mischievous. She absolutely loves her life and watching her live such a rewarding life with her disabilities makes everything worth it. She’s beautiful inside and out and we pray these surgeries go great. We’re very concerned with recovery as we’ll be trying to heal wounds that hold up her 600-pound body.”

After the surgeries, Hannahs seemed to do well, but then she turned to the worse and needed another emergency surgery. On 28th June, the sanctuary posted the following: “Dr Hawkins was able to speed up Hannah’s procedure and she’s getting ready to be prepped for anaesthesia. He recognized something going wrong with one of her casts and didn’t want to wait any longer for intervention. Dr. Hawkins is the most highly recommended surgeon in the world and we’re honoured to be able to have our little girl under his care.” On 2nd July, things were not looking good: “This past week, we watched our once vibrant girl lose herself. Loneliness and depression creeped in as she lost her appetite, wouldn’t get up, and it was clear that she had given up. It broke our hearts to witness her misery, knowing that the best care in the world couldn’t heal her emotional wounds. We were losing her to a broken heart.”

However, after the sanctuary’s staff went to see her at the hospital and took her back to the sanctuary, Hannah recovered. Now she can walk again with her new orthopaedic shoes. On 15th July, the sanctuary wrote, “As Hannah continues to heal and improve everyday we are starting to shift our focus back to her long-term care. Even when her feet are healed she will always need to wear her prosthetic boots which requires a minimum of 8 rolls of vet wrap every day.”

If you want to contribute to Hanna’s care you can donate to the sanctuary on this webpage: https://ziggysrefuge.app.neoncrm.com/forms/donate

Jordi Casamitjana
“Originally from Catalonia, but resident in the UK for several decades, Jordi is a vegan zoologist and author, who has been involved in different aspects of animal protection for many years. In addition to scientific research, he has worked mostly as an undercover investigator, animal welfare consultant, and animal protection campaigner. He has been an ethical vegan since 2002, and in 2020 he secured the legal protection of all ethical vegans in Great Britain from discrimination in a landmark employment tribunal case that was discussed all over the world. He is also the author of the book, ‘Ethical Vegan: a personal and political journey to change the world’.