Pigs are famous for their love of mud, but a certain famous pig had never tried it … until he took a dip in the pit at the Mountain Mud Run on Saturday.
“It was kind of a conscious decision on my part,” said Pickles’ owner and handler Maddie Johnson. “He loves the water, but I’m afraid he’ll love the mud even more and then I won’t be able to get him out.”
Johnson and Pickles have been inseparable since last year, when Johnson rescued Pickles from a farm in California that had been flooded.
“I had no intention of ever getting a pig, but I’ve loved animals my whole life, and I saw this [Facebook] post of this woman whose farm was flooded and she had to get rid of all her animals in the next 48 hours, so I drove there that night and he was the last piglet left,” said Johnson. It was a good thing that Johnson decided to make the three-hour drive in the middle of the night to the farm, because if she hadn’t, Pickles likely would not have survived the ordeal. He was very sick when he was found, but thanks to Johnson and a blood transfusion from another pig named Tickles, Pickles was saved and nursed back to health.
“It’s crazy because it was only a year ago that he was paralyzed in his front two legs, so I didn’t know if he would ever be able to walk on his own again,” Johnson said. Now, not only can Pickles walk, but he can go hiking with his best friend Dill the French Bulldog, ride on a paddle board, roll in the mud pit and run through the Canine Experience agility course … so long as Johnson has a carrot for him at the finish line.
People were quickly taken with the little pig. Over 53,000 people have followed his journey on Instagram (@livingwithpickles), and the response has spurred Johnson to document the entirety of Pickles’ story in a children’s book she authored. It is titled How Tickles Saved Pickles, is available for preorder on Amazon and will be released Oct. 16, 2018.
This weekend, Pickles was out and about in Vail, enjoying the GoPro Mountain Games, taking his turn at some of the events and posing for photos with fans, and Johnson could not be prouder of her piglet.
“Sometimes things just touch you,” she said. “Saving him just felt right.”
by Jaimee Rindy
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