In Memory of Miriam

It’s always difficult to say goodbye to a beloved friend.
But to lose two in a single week, as we did last week, has left us a little shaky.

Miriam pigletA year ago, Miriam and her siblings Ginger and Moses were rescued from a desperate hoarding situation. Found in a dark hovel of a barn in a filthy stall, the tiny piglet was obviously sick, just lying there as her brother and sister squealed and pushed their pink noses out to us. How delighted we were to welcome “the three little pigs” to the safety and plenty of Catskill Animal Sanctuary!

After a course of antibiotics and some TLC, Miriam seemed much better, although the difference between her and her siblings was pronounced. Ginger and Moses grew to healthy weights, with beautiful coats and robust appetites, while Miriam was still so small with a sparse coat. After consulting our local vets and those at Cornell University, we discovered that she had a rare birth defect and needed a colostomy to save her life. This surgery allowed Miriam to grow stronger every day and to enjoy being a pig, which was a wonderful thing to see. Unfortunately, after the initial surgery, another trip to Cornell, and another surgery was required. The road ahead did not look promising for our little girl.

Miriam pigWe did not have Miriam for very long. Still, watching her root up an entire garden with her flock of chicken friends, having her flop over for another belly rub, or seeing her charge to us with abandon when we called her name were the real rewards of this work. Caring for the little sprite was a labor of love; everyone who came to know her was the better for it.

A friend recently asked me how I could take the frequent heartbreak of this work. The answer is simple: the heartbreak pales next to the joy of having a once terrified horse put his face into yours, or of watching chickens go outside on grass for the first time in their lives, or of seeing an ancient pig happily up to her snout in a puddle. It was my sorrow but also my privilege to be able to look into Miriam’s eyes and tell her, “It will be all right” for the last time. I would not have missed that moment for the world.

From all of us whose hearts you touched: farewell, little pig.

Click below for a compilation of short videos of Miriam.





Herd Around The Barn, Saying Goodbye


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4 replies on “In Memory of Miriam”

  1. We met Miriam last weekend during our tour of CAS. What a sweet girl she was!

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