Community Of Compassion Seen At Celebratory Pig Party
“Be kind to all kinds” and “Peace begins on your plate” were just some of the decorative handmade signs on display at Little Beanie Tofu and Dolphin’s pig party in Newtown on Sunday, August 4.
What is a pig party you may ask?
Well, if the large metal “Thank you” sign near the pig pen gave guests any indication, it is a celebration of heartfelt gratitude — for both the pigs’ lives and for the people involved in supporting their journey.
Some may remember Little Beanie Tofu and Dolphin from The Newtown Bee’s April 2018 article “Young Pigs Rescued From Being Slaughtered Get Second Chance On Life,” which chronicled their unique story of coming to town.
In 2017, students from the University of Connecticut’s Animal Science 101 class were given Yorkshire Cross pigs from Tufts University to raise and train for an upcoming agricultural show, where they would be sold for meat consumption.
Among those in that class were Madilyn Cole and Zack Clyne, two Newtown residents who grew bonded to their assigned female pigs and knew they had to intervene to save them from their inevitable death sentence.
The pigs were unable to be surrendered by the UConn program, so Zack’s family purchased the pig he had raised, Dolphin. Likewise, Madilyn’s family paid the fee for Little Beanie Tofu, the pig she had raised.
Madilyn’s family — rounded out by her parents, Kathleen and Don, and sister, Rachel Cole — were also able to home the pigs. They built an enclosed pen, repurposed an old children’s playscape into housing, and set up toys for enrichment.
On October 21, 2017, Little Beanie Tofu and Dolphin traveled to town and quickly made their way into the hearts of all who met them.
Ms Cole says rescuing and raising the pigs over the years has been a “rewarding, joyful, fun, and educational” experience.
She decided to host the gathering this month to bring everyone together who has shown them support and to express how sincerely thankful her family is for them.
“We could not have saved and raised these girls without the support, generosity, and compassion of our community, friends, and family,” Ms Cole said.
At the pig party last weekend, Little Beanie Tofu and Dolphin lapped up the limelight, “talking” to everyone who went to their pen and relishing in all the back rubs and ear scratches they could get.
The two even took some dips in their mud pool, to the delight of all who watched, and got their robust pink bellies partially submerged.
Guests attending the special gathering also had the opportunity to feed Little Beanie Tofu and Dolphin treats of apples and carrots, before their dinnertime meal of grains and greens; while humans dined on a plethora of animal-friendly food.
Ms Cole prepared all vegan appetizers, including Cannellini bean dip on cucumber and squash chips, stuffed mushrooms, Mexican tortilla rollups, black bean and corn salsa with corn chips, and watermelon; and vegan main dishes of Beyond Meat sausage and peppers, BBQ pulled jackfruit, “cheesy” scalloped potatoes, veggie pasta salad, coleslaw, rolls, and pickled onions.
For dessert, mouthwatering vegan treats consisted of “pig nose” cupcakes (pink frosted cupcakes with two chocolate covered almonds for nostrils), banana fudge brownie bites, fruit salad, and vegetarian strawberry rhubarb and blueberry crisp pies.
After humans and pigs were all able to eat, well, like pigs, Ms Cole encouraged everyone to select their favorite framed photo of Little Beanie Tofu and Dolphin, which were displayed throughout the party, to take home with them.
The Next Chapter
The story of Little Beanie Tofu and Dolphin does not end there.
While the Cole family truly loves the two pigs, their hope has always been to find them a forever home where they can have land to run on (yes, pigs run) and a place to live out their days in safety and serenity.
When Madilyn began helping at JP Farm Animal Sanctuary in Newtown, she met its founders, Oscar Janssen and Lynn Printy, and shared her experience rescuing the pigs. Coincidentally, the couple was looking to expand their farm to help more animals in need and offered to adopt Little Beanie Tofu and Dolphin.
“We became quite close with Madilyn, Kathleen, Don, Rachel, and the piggies, so it seemed like a natural fit that they would come to our Sanctuary,” Ms Printy and Mr Janssen said in a combined statement.
JP Farm Animal Sanctuary has since relocated to Litchfield, and Mr Janssen and his team are in the process of building a barn where Little Beanie Tofu and Dolphin will reside together.
The pigs are anticipated to move in later this year and will have five Scottish Highland cows and steers, all rescued by the couple in November 2013, as well as two dogs as farm friends.
In preparation for Little Beanie Tofu and Dolphin’s arrival, Ms Printy and Mr Janssen have been visiting them often to learn about their personalities and how Ms Cole cares for them.
The couple have even attended Farm Sanctuary’s Farm Animal Care Conference in Watkins Glen, N.Y., to learn how to best care for their animals.
“This three-day program taught us essential tips, protocol, and general maintenance and care of running a farm animal sanctuary. During this event, we gained not only education, but also the confidence to take our own initiatives in helping animals, hence building the pig barn ourselves!” Ms Printy and Mr Janssen explained.
Ms Cole is happy knowing Little Beanie Tofu and Dolphin will being going to a “wonderful, compassionate family with the biggest hearts and a beautiful home to live out their lives safe and loved.”
Zack agrees, saying, “Rescuing Dolphin and Beanie has been an awesome experience, and they’ve had a wonderful home the past two years at Kathleen’s. They built such a great space for them. I am really excited about their future moving up to Litchfield with Oscar and Lynn at their farm. They seem like a really good fit for them… [Dolphin and Beanie] will have a lot more space to run around, and they get to stick together.”
For more information about JP Farm Animal Sanctuary and to soon follow Little Beanie Tofu and Dolphin’s adventures in the farm’s weekly “Moo!” news, visit jpfarmsanctuary.org.
Facts About Yorkshire Pigs: While Little Beanie Tofu and Dolphin are just a few years old, they are estimated to weigh more than 400 pounds each.
Yorkshire pigs can grow to weigh more than of 650 pounds and on average can live to be 6 to 10 years old when not slaughtered for meat consumption (which typically occurs around 6 months old).
Pigs are commonly ranked as one of the most intelligent animals in the world and NBC News reported, “[Pigs] are perhaps the smartest, cleanest domestic animals known — more so than cats and dogs, according to some experts.”
Farm Sanctuary’s literature titled , further explains that domestic pigs:Thinking Pigs: Cognition, Emotion, and Personality
Possess cognitive capabilities similar to dogs and young children;
Form likes and dislikes;
Enjoy creative play;
Experience emotions not unlike those of humans;
Have excellent long-term memories;
Understand symbolic language;
Are excellent at navigating mazes and other spatial tasks;
Have a sense of time; and
Remember specific episodes in their past and can anticipate future events.