Rescue pig Holly now raising a family of 11 piglets

by Gazette Reporter
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Holly, a young Vietnamese pot-bellied pig is quite the darling of volunteers at My Lovely Horse Rescue animal charity.

The devoted sow was delivered of 12 piglets at the MLHR sanctuary in Moyvalley last month, but one was sadly stillborn.

“Our vet was amazed that so many survived, two were brought back to life by our volunteers and all 11 are thriving,” co-founder Martina Kenny told Dublin Gazette.

In 2011 Martina, along with her sister Deborah and friend Cathy Davey, founded the rescue centre which has since saved countless stricken and abandoned horses.

“Holly has the most gorgeous temperament; she is so gentle and so attentive to her little family but is totally exhausted now,” said Martina.

“Poor Holly got mastitis and was put on antibiotics so we are bottle and pan feeding the piglets. Five are already pan feeding, four are still being bottle fed but alas, two will only drink from mother”.

All eleven snuffling survivors were named: Jasmine, Daphne, Sophia, Hazel, Meryl, Oliver, Jet, Wilbur, Alf, Napoleon and Gavin.

“We rescued Holly a year ago, along with another pig Noel,” explained Martina. “They were both very thin and underweight and clearly neglected.

“We didn’t realise Holly was pregnant for ages and we think she is still only a year old”.

And just how is the centre coping during the pandemic restrictions?

“We were fortunate that we had a few volunteers working with us via the Workaway Travel scheme – a blessing for us, perhaps not for them when the Covid-19 restrictions were imposed,” said Martina.

“We also have two volunteers living at the centre so there is 24/7 cover. We currently have 130 farm animals such as horses and donkeys on the farm but in total, we are looking after 400 animals including sheep, piglets, goats, cats and kittens, dogs, wild birds and so on.

“The number of pigs and piglets that have come into our care in the past year, that we decided to open a second centre near us in Moyvalley, My Lovely Pig Rescue which Cathy runs.”

Fundraising badly hit

Demands on the rescue charity meant it needed to open a third centre in Cork and it now costs €250,000 to €300,000 to run the sanctuaries each year.

“We receive a grant – €19,000 was the last one – from the Department of Agriculture so you’ll appreciate the loss of our fundraising events is a huge blow,” said Martina.

“Electric Picnic was our biggest fundraising event and that’s cancelled owing to the pandemic. The vet bills, food and bedding are astronomical for our three centres. 

“So please, log onto our website or Facebook page where you can donate – all contributions will be greatly appreciated!”

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