That’s the question Vicky Stambaugh, who recently adopted Homer the hog from the Nevada Humane Society (NHS) in Reno, is asking.
Homer was found wandering the streets and taken to the humane society to wait for someone to adopt him.
“I just keep picturing him under the Reno arch,” Stambaugh joked.
In all seriousness, Stambaugh said she believes Homer was probably someone’s pet and was turned loose because the owner could not afford to feed him. He was picked up in Lemmon Valley, according to Beata Liebetruth, animal help desk manager for the NHS.
“He had to be somebody’s pet,” Stambaugh said. “He has tusks but they have been trimmed down.”
Liebetruth said Homer was picked up as a stray by Washoe County Animal Services about one month ago. Two days before Christmas, he was turned over to the humane society.
“He definitely was a pet,” Liebetruth said. “He is very sweet and loves other animals.”
Sadly, she said, in this dismal economy many pet owners are abandoning animals they no longer can afford to feed.
NHS “sprang into action” and began looking for a new home for Homer as soon as he was taken to the shelter, Liebetruth said.
Stambaugh is a nurse at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center who heard about Homer from a co-worker.
“Another nurse has a friend that works at the shelter, and she knew I had a pig already,” Stambaugh said. “I e-mailed the shelter and said I wanted to meet him (Homer).”
Though she wasn’t sure what to expect when she met Homer, Stambaugh said she was delighted when she visited the humane society barn.
“There was Homer just kind of oinking around in the stall,” she said. “He is just a doll-baby.”
Once Stambaugh agreed to adopt Homer, NHS arranged for a trailer to haul him to his new home.
“It was quite a day,” Stambaugh said of Homer’s arrival. “The humane society was wonderful. They did all the go-between work and brought him to the house.”
Liebetruth said it took two hours to get Homer to load into the trailer to be transported to his new home.
“He was a little nervous,” she said.
Homer is settling in and getting used to the good life with Stambaugh.
“He’s doing great,” she said. “I went down to TJ Maxx and got him some blankets and quilts. He’s just out there wrapped up like a pig in a blanket.”
Emma the pot belly pig has her own blankets and will be Homer’s roommate someday, she said. Right now, the two must be kept separate because Homer has not been castrated.
Stambaugh treats her pigs to fresh apples, carrots, bananas and lettuce, along with hog or pig food, eggs and even tortilla chips.
“Emma loves tortilla chips, but Homer wouldn’t touch them,” she said. “He did like the chopped up apples, bananas, carrots and lettuce though.”
Homer also enjoyed the half-dozen eggs Stambaugh fed him several days ago, she said.
“He left the shells though,” she said. “Apparently (hogs) are supposed to eat the shells, but I guess he is a picky eater.”
Stambaugh, who used to volunteer at an animal rescue in California, has a soft spot for animals. She and her husband live north of Spanish Springs and share their home with a fainting goat, an Alpine goat, a mustang, a burro, four cats, six dogs, Emma the Vietnamese pot belly pig and now Homer the hog.
“I think he is a Hampshire,” Stambaugh said, although she isn’t certain. “He has a white band around his neck and four white socks.”
According to the National Swine Registry (NSR), Hampshire hogs are black with a white belt.
“The belt is a strip of white across the shoulders that covers the front legs around the body,” the NSR website states. “The Hampshire, which is a heavily muscled, lean meat breed, is the fourth most recorded breed of the pigs in the United States.”
Liebetruth said she believes Homer knows he has found his “forever home” with Stambaugh and he is very happy.
“He really hit the pig lottery,” Liebetruth said. “It is the ideal setup, a match made in heaven.”