Many people take retreats to refresh, relax, and get back to nature. Guideposts staffer Doug Snyder takes a slightly different approach: Twice a year, he travels to Ross Mill Farm, a pig sanctuary in eastern Pennsylvania that serves as a foster home for Pig Placement Network, a non-profit organization that works to find homes for potbellied pigs. There, Doug communes with his porcine pals and enjoys the farm's beautiful grounds.
“I have always loved potbellied pigs," says Doug. "They are such warm, friendly and intelligent animals. The first time I went to the Ross Mill pig sanctuary, an adorable little black pig walked right up to me and followed me around the rest of the day. By the end of my visit, I felt I had made a bunch of new friends, but especially one special BFF.”
Ross Mill Farm, originally established in 1740, is located in Bucks Country, Pennsylvania, an hour north of Philadelphia. The farm boasts 30 acres of woods and streams, with historic buildings that have been modified to allow for the care of pet pigs.
The pigs like being around people, and they love being photographed.
Not only does the farm bring Doug back to nature, it also gives him the chance to pet, hug and play with his favorite animals.
The farm is home to pigs of all different sizes, shapes, personalities and ages.
The main farmhouse allows piglets and kids to get to know each other, so that the piglets may become sufficiently socialized to be household companion pets.
Potbellied pigs are much smaller than domestic hogs. They generally weigh between 80 and 150 pounds, while farmed hogs can weigh over 800 pounds.
This pig is one of the farm's elders. She walks very slowly but always catches up to her visitors, seeking attention and petting.
The pigs are allowed to go anywhere on the farm—the barn, the shed, and even the owner’s house.
The baby piglets are Doug's favorites.
The piglets love playing with people and, of course, being petted.
The piglets also love chewing on shoelaces.
Snuggling with their brothers and sisters is one of the piglets' favorite pastimes.
Dogs and cats also roam freely on the farm. All the animals get along nicely.
Doug always leaves the farm happy, refreshed, relaxed, and loving life.
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