Earlier this year, Charlie and I enjoyed an amazing getaway in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley. We fell in love with the place as we hiked through forests, watched majestic waterfalls, watched foals play in the fields at a mini horse ranch, and enjoyed delicious wine from vineyards all over the central coast. We also met some very amazing people while on our trip, one who stood out in particular.
Her name is Sue Parkinson and she is the founder of Lil’ Orphan Hammies, a pot-bellied pig santuary and rescue located on 5 beautiful acres in Solvang.
I must admit, the idea of a pig sanctuary seemed rather odd; it may sound naive but I’ve really only imagined them wading in mud at a farm or as a side at a non-vegetarian breakfast. Regardless, I’m a total softy for any animal that needs rescuing so when Charlie and I were invited to visit the sanctuary we couldn’t resist!
We arrived early the morning before we left and were immediately greeted by two friendly rescue dogs (just my type) who escorted us down the gravel driveway. Sue waved us in and walked us around the rescue introducing us to all her 4-legged babies, including Judge, Junior, and Sammy among many, many others.
I didn’t know much about pot-bellied pigs before we went to the sanctuary but Sue passionately shared her wealth of information . Shockingly, Lil’ Orphan Hammies recent influx of pigs is due to the public’s sudden interest in micro-pigs, which, Sue informed us, are an absolute fallacy. Sammy, a recent tenant who’s weight was no more than 50 lbs when she arrived should have been in the 200 lb range. The petite piglet came to Sue from an apartment dweller who could no longer handle the pig since she was larger than the 30 lb max that was promised by the breeder.
Micro or miniature pigs, like Sammy, are none other than regular ol’ pot-bellied pigs who have been starved, stunted, and mistreated. One of the rescue’s main goals is to eliminate the public’s misconception regarding the existence of tiny apartment size pigs. So please, take it from Sue and Sammy: before you bring any animal into your home, do your research so you can care for your pet the best way possible! I hope you enjoy the beautiful property and story as much as I did and consider donating to Sue and her Lil’ Orphan Hammies.