“It is quite possible that an animal has spoken to me and that I didn’t catch the remark because I wasn’t paying attention.”
– E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web, Ch. 14
You spoke with your eyes.
You spoke of an afternoon nap, the warm spring breeze traveling through your bristled hair.
You talked of the cold, how it was kept at bay by the loving hands of caregivers draping blankets over and heating discs under you.
You whispered of the darkness, how it crept across a sun-kissed field and how it could never blot out the stars.
You expressed yourself through the language of gaze, the movement of the body, through the joy of being.You chatted of the many visitors, the ones who spent summer afternoons with you, the ones who brought you whole pineapples, sweet potatoes, and a little special mix of love.
You left us on a spring day. You left us quiet and sad. You went wherever we go when our bodies die.
We always paid attention, Wilbur.
“Wilbur was the first pig I have ever met. When I visited AP for the first time, I remember seeing how large and majestic he was and being in absolute awe. For never seeing a pig in person, he changed my entire view of pigs and opened my eyes to how sweet and affectionate they truly are. My last memory of him was giving him lots of scratches the day I shadowed with Rachel and seeing the smile on his face. His soul was one of the brightest I have ever encountered. He was truly radiant.”
-Brenda Rynders, volunteer & intern manager
“Wilbur, always willing to share his food…….with chickens.”
-Blake, Animal Caregiver
My bond with him deepened over the last few months when Animal Care entrusted me to give him the royal treatment. I would arrive on my visits with roasted butternut, sweet potatoes and strawberries, all organic of course!
He had a marvelously expressive face and a wonderful assortment of grunts and we would have some good conversations. He was extremely observant and he would make me laugh with his mischievous sidelong glances. A week before he died I lay down in front of him and his eyes held a tenderness and tiredness I had never seen before. I felt so lucky to just be with him.
He was loved by so many and lovingly taken care of at his wonderful Animal Place home.
I have such lovely memories of hanging out with him and Kim on a sunny day.
He will always be a big part of my life and I am feeling his loss deeply. At his funeral I was crying and Brenda hugged me and said: “he really was your best friend” and those true words will forever be etched in my mind.”
– Alida Labia, Volunteer
“I am grateful to have known Wilbur and to have saved him from his previous miserable life. He soaked up all the love we offered him in terms belly rubs, massages, pineapples and cooked yams. I miss him profoundly – his smiles, distinct grunting greetings . . . just his entire being. Wilbur had a powerful presence. Volunteer Alida spent hours with him – and always prepared a platter of assorted organic fruit and cooked butternut squash. She treated him like royalty. And, our caring animal care team provided the very best care of our aging pig . . . breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plus blankets and heating discs at night, pedicures, ear cleaning, and close monitoring. In my office hangs a magnificent 16×20 photo of Mr. Wilbur – – compliments of Keri and Terran. And, my house is decorated with many Wilbur memories, including a fleece blanket sporting his handsome mug! His memory is etched in my heart forever. RIP dear Wilbur”
-Kim Sturla, Executive Director
-Susan McCracken, Volunteer & Tour Docent
“I first met Wilbur on the day of his rescue. From the moment I laid eyes on him, I knew he was special. His eyes were so kind and his face so sweet.
This winter Animal Care tucked Wilbur into bed each night. He received heated disks and warm blankets to keep him cozy. We each had our own ritual when it came to bed time. I watched as caregivers tucked him in, said good night and made sure he felt loved. My ritual was to sing “Good Night My Love” (the first verse) to him while I tucked him in.
I am so grateful for the time he was able to spend at Animal Place. It was a joy and a privilege to care for him.
I really miss him.”
-Michelle Miller, Animal Care Manager