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Sanctuary One's beloved ambassador pig dies

The morning that Lulu the pig died in her sleep, a friend was at her side, offering comfort.

Jigsaw, another porcine resident of Sanctuary One, a nonprofit animal care farm in the Applegate, lay next to her, nuzzling her as she passed away Sunday.

“Basically doing a final hug and goodbye,” Sanctuary One Director Megan Flowers said.

Lulu lived at the farm for nearly 10 years, Flowers said. Opinionated, smart, and dubbed an “ambassador pig” for the facility, Lulu was a well-known face among the farm’s denizens — the feathered ones, the furry ones, and the clothed ones who walk on two legs.

“She really was a fun character on the farm, and we’re certainly going to miss her a great deal,” Flowers said.

Lulu came to the farm in August 2010, just 3 months old at the time. She’d come from Pigs Peace Sanctuary, a Washington-based nonprofit “dedicated to providing a safe home for unwanted, abused or neglected animals in need,” according to its website. Lulu had been rescued from a factory farm, where she would have been raised to be a breeder.

“She was extremely tiny,” Flowers said. “We’re talking the size of a cat when she came to us in 2010.”

Lisa, Sanctuary One’s first ambassador pig, already lived there. Lisa died in 2015 at 8 years old.

During Lulu’s time at the farm, she enjoyed running in the fields, wallowing in mud, getting massages and baths, and sitting for treats. Fully grown, she weighed about 800 pounds and was 6 feet long. Sometimes, she had an attitude to match her girth.

“She was very opinionated,” Flowers said. “My team always knew her likes and dislikes.”

Later in Lulu’s life, arthritis limited her mobility. In the weeks before Lulu’s death, pig pal Jigsaw, 8, stayed by her side much of the time. Sanctuary One staff and volunteers plan to give extra attention to Jigsaw in the coming days. He already seems to be a little better. On Tuesday, after weeks of keeping Lulu company in the barn, he was suddenly agreeable to going outside.

“It was (him) saying, ‘Well, I’ve said goodbye to Lulu. She’s not here, she doesn’t need me,’” Flowers said. “You see how close they had been.”

Before Lulu’s death, Sanctuary One had begun fundraising for a new barn that will be closer to the mud ponds, a consideration for senior pigs like her.

“The distance from their beds in the barn to the mud baths under the trees puts a great deal of pressure on our seniors’ bodies,” information on the project’s Go Fund Me page says.

Now one of the structure’s wings will be named in her honor. For more information about the project, see www.gofundme.com/f/pig-campaign-for-sanctuary-one.

Reach web editor Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @RyanPfeil.

Photo courtesy of Sanctuary OneLulu, a longtime resident and ambassador pig for Sanctuary One, died Sunday. She was 10 years old.