Roscoe giving Janice Gillett a kiss. Gillett founded Hearts on Noses Sanctuary in 1999 as a home for abandoned potbellied pigs. All photos courtesy of Janice Gillett.

Roscoe giving Janice Gillett a kiss. Gillett founded Hearts on Noses Sanctuary in 1999 as a home for abandoned potbellied pigs. All photos courtesy of Janice Gillett.

Mission potbellied-pig sanctuary mourns death of beloved old hog named Roscoe

14-year-old, 800-pound pig was ‘quite a character,’ said owner Janice Gillett

The owner and volunteers of a Mission sanctuary are mourning the loss their long-time resident and beloved friend, Roscoe the pig.

The 800-pound, 14-year-old Yorkshire pig came to Janice Gillett, the owner of Mission’s Hearts on Noses Sanctuary, when he was just a runt. She described him as the “big gentle giant.”

“He didn’t have a mean bone in his body,” Gillett said. “Roscoe always wanted to be with me … He was quite a character.”

Gillett made the “heart-wrenching” decision to put the old pig down on Jan. 15 after his rear legs gave out. She said he had been struggling to pull himself up in recent weeks, and had abrasions on one of his sides from trying.

Roscoe was a people pig, and was constantly seeking human attention and company, according to Gillett. She remembers him always looking for a scratch during morning coffees on the farm, and being curious as to which volunteer took sugar with theirs.

“Before you knew it we were all standing,” she said. “People don’t think that way, that an 800-pound animal would seek you out just to be close to you.”

Gillett founded Hearts on Noses Sanctuary in 1999 as a home for abandoned potbellied pigs. The breed became a popular pet in the 1980s with many owner were ill prepared for the commitment.

Roscoe was saved from a backyard farm and surrendered to the sanctuary at just five-weeks old in 2006. He was adopted out to a pre-approved home, but was eventually taken back by Gillett.

He loved playing “Where’s the pig?” on the farm, wandering around in his big blue raincoat and always had much to say through snorts, Gillett said.

“He was a good, good pig … I will miss him so much.”

Gillett’s passion for pigs began in 1993 after finding a baby potbellied pig that no one was claiming, and was surprised by the intelligence and personality.

“They’re so darn cute when they’re babies,” Gillett said. “He just wanted to lay with me, wanted to follow me around. He was in with the horses and bouncing around.”

She checked out a sanctuary in Washington and discovered pigs were being shipped across the border because nobody wanted them in Canada, something she found shocking considering the number of hobby farms in the Lower Mainland.

She said most of her herd has been surrendered to her by animal control or former owners, often because getting them neutered is an issue.

People who visit the three-acre sanctuary always want to know if pigs know their own names or come when called, Gillett said.She said people don’t realize a pig’s personality is quite similar to a dog or cat.

She said she can call a pig’s name out of her 38-strong herd and watch it’s ears perk up and dash towards her.

“I talk to them just like I’m talking to you,” she said. “They wag their tales just a like a dog when their happy.”

Gillett doesn’t think of herself as an animal-rights activist, but said she probably is in a technical sense, adding the industrial food industry is “based on greed, rather than need.”

Usually a pig’s knees give out much earlier than Roscoe’s had because of selective breeding, according to Gillett. She said his body has been donated to a lab for medical research.

“He’s not being used for profit.”

RELATED: Four Abbotsford pig-farm activists now facing 21 charges after first court appearance


@portmoodypigeon
patrick.penner@missioncityrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Mission

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Roscoe as a five-week-old runt in 2006, shortly after being saved from a backyard farm and surrendered to the sanctuary. All photos courtesy of Janice Gillett.

Roscoe as a five-week-old runt in 2006, shortly after being saved from a backyard farm and surrendered to the sanctuary. All photos courtesy of Janice Gillett.

fg

ds

sd

sd

Just Posted

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Retired Mission teacher and star CFL kicker charged for assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Alan Sweet taught in school district for 10 years, investigators seeking further witnesses

Members of the Abbotsford Community Action Team include (from left) Bev Olfert, Rebecca Tice, Tally Clement, Const. Mary Boonstra, Mandy Aujla, Wanda Phillips and Devinder Dherari-Sidhu. (Submitted photo)
Abbotsford group raises awareness about sexual exploitation of youth

Community Action Team uses posters, stickers and online information

The driver of a pickup truck failed to stop after knocking down a wooden fence on March 3, 2021. (screen grab)
VIDEO: Footage catches pick-up driver smashing fence on Abbotsford/Langley border

Driver came forward after video circulated on social media

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of March 7

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Free Reformed Church is seen as people attend service, in Chilliwack, B.C., on Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. Lawyers for the British Columbia government and the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms are back in B.C. Supreme Court today, squaring off over the legality of COVID-19 rules that prohibit in-person religious services. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. top doctor has power to restrict access to a place during health hazard: lawyer

Under B.C.’s Public Health Act, Jacqueline Hughes says, Henry can restrict or prevent entry to a place

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

The family of injured Willoughby resident Ronald Gerald Jesso is hoping someone saw something that will help solve the mystery of how he came to be so badly hurt on the morning of Feb. 22. Jesso is still in hospital. (Jesso family/Special to Langley Advance Times)
An appeal to help solve the mystery of an injured Langley man

Family of Ronald Gerald Jesso asks witnesses to come forward

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead on Vancouver Island in ‘targeted incident’

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. RCMP Lower Mainland District officer, Asst. Commissioner Stephen Thatcher presents RCMP blankets to (from left) Chief James Hobart, Chief Maureen Chapman, Chief Derek Epp and Chief Mark Point. (RCMP)
Historic agreement significantly expands Indigenous role in Lower Mainland policing

Community Safety Agreement builds relationship of ‘trust, communication and prevention,’ says Chief

Most Read