Founded in 2017 in Cave Creek, Better Piggies Rescue aims to rescue, rehabilitate and educate about pot belly pigs. Danielle Betterman, director of Better Piggies Rescue, discusses how the nonprofit came to be, myths about this smart creature and Better Piggies Rescue’s adored pig yoga events.
What prompted the start of the nonprofit? And why pigs? I received a pig as a gift about 13 years ago and had no idea how much work he would be. I started doing research, rescuing for other sanctuaries and fostering when homes were needed. In 2018, I started BPR since the need for pot belly pig placement was so great. Since then, BPR has rescued over 500 pigs, giving them the best chance possible to thrive. Pigs are amazingly intelligent and loving animals and need the same care and attention as dogs or cats.
What is the greatest reward in being involved with Better Piggies Rescue? Knowing that pigs are safe from harm because of our rescue. Additionally, rehabilitating an extremely scared pig and getting them a new loving home with an amazing family makes it all worth it.
What is the biggest challenge the nonprofit faces? The myth of pot belly pigs staying under 25 pounds based on breeders’ lies. People get these baby piglets after seeing them on Instagram or Facebook, not realizing they have to get them fixed and they don’t stay small (even though the breeder that sold them the pig said they will). Once they grow to their 65- to 300-lb. size or get aggressive because they aren’t fixed, people no longer want to care for them. Also, not all vets work on pigs, so it can be costly to get vet care done for this specialty animal and people are not willing to pay that fee.
In what ways, if any, has the pandemic affected Better Piggies Rescue? The biggest way is not being able to host large-scale events that bring in much-needed donation dollars. However, we have been very focused on social media events to ensure that our volunteers and BPR fans stay connected to what is going on with the rescue, even if they cannot come out in large groups.
What are your goals for 2022? The biggest goal in 2022 is to educate the public that pigs make great pets if you are willing to put in the work. Better Piggies Rescue and other sanctuaries are overflowing with pigs that need homes and more adoptions mean we can rescue more pigs wandering the streets or desert. Adoptions are a huge need for all sanctuaries right now.
How can readers help? Come take a tour, volunteer and just stay connected with BPR to learn about our upcoming events. Visit Betterpiggiesrescue.org to sign up for tours/volunteer orientations and TikTok/Instagram/Facebook @betterpiggies for information on how to donate or participate in our upcoming Piggy Yoga sessions.
Does the foundation have any events or fundraisers on the horizon? Before the weather gets hot, we are going to host a month of Piggy Yoga at the sanctuary. Our volunteer yoga instructors will be hosting hour-long sessions with the pigs on Saturdays and Sundays. Dates are still pending but check back with us on availability. The $20-pe- person donation goes directly back to our rescue pigs.