Helping Hoof Program        Outreach to pigs in need



Shepherd’s Green does not adopt pigs out of the sanctuary.  Neither are we able to take in any significant numbers of additional pigs into the sanctuary.  So the pigs who desperately need changes in their lives must be addressed in other ways.

Sanctuaries are finite. Pigs live to great ages. What begins as a huge capacity is, in a few years, full of rescued pigs.

What then can be done for pigs who cannot find space in a sanctuary?

In 2002 we began the Helping Hoof project to address this need. It has since become a model program for others who have seen the need for Outreach in their communities.

Above: Carrot, a Guinea Hog who made a whole town in New Hampshire aware of the intelligence and social nature of pigs.

Applications for assistance are on line  (See link below)  and in our brochure for the Helping Hoof Program found at Feed Stores and Farm Supplies in our area.

(1) In 2004 this program won the first Leader of the Pack grant at PetSmart Charities for its innovative approach to keeping pets in their homes.. Since then it has been used as a model program from which others have received Copycat grant funding

To seek assistance for a pig in your home click here

To see our Home Safety Questionaiire for fosters and placements click here

To Donate to this life saving Program click here





















         Most of the problems people encounter are due to lack of information. Pigs do not make good pets, but where the welfare of the pig is given genuine concern, the pig can be put into an environment with suitable health care where his needs are met sufficiently that the problem behaviors or health issues cease. The purpose of this program is to help you, the caregiver, solve whatever problems you have with your pig and providing him a suitable environment and life style.

We aren't in the spay/neuter assistance business unless that s/n assistance is all that stands between a death sentence and a good home..

Our program is to help that pig retain its home. An unneutered boy pig in the house is not going to have a home for long. An unaltered pig cannot be placed in a new home.

Our Helping Hoof retention program offers these ways to solve the problems and keep a pig in his own home.

  • Neuter funding: Male pigs suffer greatly from a sex drive that meets with no release, is aggressive ,a smelly houseguest..  and can develop testicular cancer and other related disease. We will pay up to 50% or $75 of the cost of a neuter by an approved vet. We have many approved vets or can recommend one in your area.
    • Spay Funding . Females are not often in any jeopardy of losing their home. For them, spayng is an owner's first responsibility for her health. All female pigs will have deadly reproductive disease if not spayed. Not a few, not some, ALL. Some may live long lives first, others succumb at 7 and younger. The need for spay is one of saving her life before she suffers and dies from tumors as big as 80 and 90 pounds or from infections in the uterus..  We may share in the cost of rescue spays when funds are available, usually up to 50% or $100.  To not spay can mean the premature death of a pig after  great suffering for months. Pigs as old at 18 with massive tumors already debilitating them  have  been successfully spayed by our vets.
  • Safe transportation to and from the vets in our local area. We are equipped and have the experience to provide safe rides.. Donations are requested to cover the cost of travel.
  • Fence design, materials and sometimes labor assistance to put the pig outside where his aggressive behaviors will cease.  We will share costs to see a housebound pig or a pig in an inadequate sized pen get an improved life style.
  • Housing  (usually temporary until the owner can buy or build a suitable one)
  • Zoning information and links for support to pig pet owners needing help with local officials understanding the position of pot bellied pigs in our communities.
  • Education   Sometimes people need nothing more than someone to help them understand what's going on in the pig's mind to resolve the issues. We are here via Email to help anyone who has a pig problem.



Placements and Re-Homing

When there is no fixing the problems in the home, the pig’s only option is to find a home .

Our network of small private sanctuaries and long term fosters is small but over the years has saved hundreds of pigs in Tennessee and beyond. Many times the pig stays forever in these locations.  Adoptive homes are sought but it is our experience over the past 20 years that less than 1 in 100 applicant's homes will be found suitable for a pig.  Pigs do not find safety or readily available health care in most private homes. Most private homes  do not have sufficient acreage for a rich and satisfying life and often when questioned, potential adopters balk at the prospect of providing a costly  medical procedure.  If these basics of care cannot be established, the pig will not find itself in that home.  We do not find that simply moving the abuse or neglect from one location to another serves anyone . We are here only to serve the interests of the pigs.

Inbound Pigs:

Pigs coming into the network must be spayed or neutered, vetted and quarantined at the Foster Farm where it is accepted before it can be placed in a new home, whether as a permanent adoption or a long term foster.  To give as many pigs a chance at a good life we ask anyone wanting to place their pig into our system to assist with the cost of vetting him/her. Typical costs to vet a female is now $300 minimum (varies with size) and a male with no complicating issues about $125.  Acceptance into the program is not contingent on payment, but we are most grateful to have a donation to help with this initial cost. 

Once in the foster home, photos of the pig are taken and records kept of all pertinent information with regards to surgeries, shots and medication and behaviors.

Before a pig can be adopted, they will need to be in quarantine for a minimum of one month.  Pigs that are too young to spay when brought into a foster home will need to stay an additional two weeks after they are spayed. 

Once in the foster home, if the pig isn’t people friendly, the caretaker will work with the pig to get him socialized, if possible.  If there are serious health problems or the pig continues being unfriendly, the pig will need to remain at the foster farm indefinitely.  The pig may need to be relocated to another foster home or sanctuary where his specific needs will be met. 

Pigs that stay in foster homes indefinitely will have food and vetting paid for by Shepherd’s Green, when funds are available.  There is no guarantee these funds will be available; it depends entirely on how many people support the program. Funds from the sanctuary operating fund are not used for the Outreach program, and vice versa. Keeping this in mind, foster homes  are cautioned to not take in more pigs than they can financially handle on their own. 

Outbound Pigs:

After a thorough home visit and completion of the home visit form, it will be up to the individual caring for the pig (the fostering home) to decide if they feel it is an appropriate home for the pig in their care.  The caretaker will need to arrange transportation for the pig to his new home.   Make sure any special blankets or toys he had while in your care and a supply of food and water are packed for the trip.  Adoption should be accompanied by a signed adoption contract from the fostering entity. We can provide a standard form .  Follow up visits within 30 to 60 days are required. A "cooling off" period of 30 days is an absolute requirement for any pigs in our network. Should the follow up visit within the first 30 days find the pig unhappy, the new owner unhappy or the adoptive foster unhappy, the pig will be brought back to its fostering home.  It is our policy that a pig will be "tried" in a new home just once. If it does not work out, his life will be spent in the sanctuary system where change is limited.  

For pigs outside TN we assist in remote placements under similar guidelines. See the Pig Rescue & Re-homing  section

Tennessee Safety Net:  Our electronic newsletter for placements . When a pig in our region is in trouble, a regional newsletter goes out by email to those who may be able to help. This group of people may be able to help with rescue and transport, get him to and from a vet, foster him or perhaps even offer him a home. With each of us doing what we can we have saved hundreds of pigs from suffering and death. If you live in Tennessee or close to its borders and want to be added to the regional newsletter please check out the sign up page. You can unsubscribe at any time.