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Pot-bellied pig with 'heart of a lion' survives mauling, on the road to recovery

Rex the pot-bellied pig is shown recovering in a handout photo. A pig with a profile is getting even more attention in Prince George, B.C., as he recovers from a severe mauling by two neighbourhood dogs.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Dayna Denman
August 11, 2016 - 6:00 AM

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. - A pig with a profile is getting even more attention in Prince George, B.C., as he recovers from a mauling by two neighbourhood dogs.

Rex is a miniature pot-bellied pig who entertains at children's birthday parties, but he was hospitalized after being attacked on July 18.

His owner, Dayna Denman, 23, said there's a twist that makes the pig's tale more traumatizing for her.

"He wouldn't have flinched if they came up to him, because he's so used to dogs," she said. "He thinks he's a dog."

Denman rushed from work to her two-hectare property in search of Rex after her boyfriend phoned to say the pig wasn't responding to the rattling of his food bowl. Rex normally grazed on grass in their yard, but he had disappeared.

Then she received a text from a neighbour and found her beloved pet bleeding badly.

"(Rex) was down there in thick bush. He was not doing well at all. He was in shock. He was basically lying there to die," she said.

Denman was able to rouse the pig.

"He knows my voice. He's my baby, he sleeps in my bed."

Her mother drove Denman and the injured animal to a clinic where veterinarians started emergency care.

The pig's condition peaked and then plummeted. The vets told Denman that Rex's tendons in his legs had ruptured and they might have to put him down.

Denman said his pain was being managed and she asked what else could be done.

"He's not suffering. That's another reason why I didn't want to give up on him. Because he wasn't giving up on us," she said.

Veterinarian Jodyne Green said Rex suffered extensive puncture wounds and lacerations all over his body. His ears could not be saved. She said the vets were swayed against euthanasia when the pig suddenly climbed into Denman's lap.

"He's got the heart of a lion," said Green, who owns Green Mobile Veterinary Services. "He definitely has a huge will to live."

Green said they started muscle rehabilitation and teaching Rex a new method for walking. He was put in a splint. They built him a scooter so he could be propped upright.

Last week, the vets revised the pig's prognosis and predicted he would survive.

Denman believes the dogs spotted Rex a week before the attack while the pair was in her driveway. She was picking raspberries from the top of a bush while the pig was gobbling fruit from the bottom.

She said she hopes her pet's plight will remind dog owners to watch their animals more closely.

Green said Rex is walking on three legs while he continues to heal.

Denman's goal is for him to resume his volunteer work with the humane society. Rex delights people at birthday fundraisers, she said, and has an important duty as an "educational pig."

"He's really good with kids. He likes kids. He knows they drop lots of crumbs."

People who have heard the tale around town have been compassionate, said Denman. Some have even made anonymous donations to help pay the vet bills.

— By Tamsyn Burgmann in Vancouver, follow @TamsynBurgmann on Twitter

News from © The Canadian Press, 2016
The Canadian Press

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