Our precious Moses, our beautiful spotted boy with giant floppy ears that masked huge golden eyes, is gone. He was 7 ½ years old.
Moses arrived in 2013 from a hoarding case, along with Miriam and Ginger, his presumed sisters, and nine goats. The piglets, just a few months old, reveled in their spacious pasture, where we joked that surely they were digging to China as we watched them root—hour after hour, day after day, intensely, fiercely. They’d stop for a visit, racing to us when we called their names and flopping over, often in our laps, for belly rubs, and then return to rooting. China was a long, long way away, after all! How we loved them.
For years, Moses was our “spa pig” during Camp Kindness, chosen for his gentle and relaxed nature. And Pig Day was often cited as the “best day ever” by children attending camp—no surprise given that part of the day was spent bathing and grooming Moses, who outweighed each child by 700 or so pounds, but who grunted his appreciation throughout the process.
“We love you, Moses,” the kids whispered.
“Mmmmph,” Moses responded.
Several months ago, caregivers found Moses lethargic, constipated, and vomiting. We rushed him to Cornell, where bloodwork and a battery of tests, including an ultrasound, proved inconclusive, though the possibility of cancer was raised. The team brought him home, showered him with love, and ensured his diet contained extra fruits and vegetables, Metamucil, and canned pumpkin—everything he needed to keep his system moving!
Until last Thursday, Moses seemed well: his weight, his appetite, his energy, and his attitude were all, well, normal. He ran to us when we called his name, he ate with gusto, he snuggled in the straw with his sister.
That is, until Thursday morning. On Wednesday night, our most experienced caregiver, Crystal Green, put Moses to bed: his appetite and his affect were “perfectly Moses.” On Thursday morning, however, Crystal found him with the same symptoms we’d seen months ago: he was lethargic, he wouldn’t eat, and Crystal smelled vomit. Once again, Moses climbed the ramp of the trailer, settled down into a deep bed of straw, and made his second trip to Cornell.
This time, the findings were grave: the vet discovered a large free-floating mass in Moses’ abdomen, and his white blood cell count was ominously low. She strongly suspected lymphoma, and did not feel that Moses would survive exploratory surgery. Even if he did, treatment options were extremely limited. None of this was what we wanted to hear, of course, but when caregivers gathered to discuss options, there was only one choice: letting him go would be our final act of love.
And so, we did.
Moses’ ashes will be spread in his pasture. His spirit will live in every blade of fresh spring grass, and when we welcome our next batch of rescue piglets and watch as they, too, dig to China, we will smile, remembering….
To care for an animal for his entire life is a profound privilege. We’re grateful to all of you who believe, as we do, that their lives are important, and whose generosity enables hundreds just like Moses to experience comfort, love, and the touch of kind hands.