The plea for help came with an unusual email subject line, one we had never quite heard before: “Alice the mean girl.” A fellow sanctuary in Tennessee reached out to see if Heartland could help a potbellied pig who had been labeled “mean” because of her aggressive, unpredictable behavior.

At eight years old, Alice had yet to find her happily ever after. She spent most of her life living on the first floor of a home, while the family lived on the second floor, and Alice spent most of her time alone. Alice’s second home was with a foster family who tried to help, but they were afraid of her, tossing food into her small pen but completely unable to interact with Alice. The foster’s spouse had had enough, and demanded that Alice go – now. Because she had charged at other pigs, she wasn’t considered adoptable by anyone. Alice’s future was looking bleak.

Because of your support, Heartland Farm Sanctuary was able to give Alice a second chance at rewriting her life story. A Heartland staff member made the 16-hour round-trip to pick up Alice, as she was “so aggressive” no one at Alice’s current location could get her into a car. After her long trip, Alice spent her first month at the sanctuary in a comfy quarantine area, getting used to the sights, smells and sounds of our sanctuary.

Humane education campers witnessed Heartland staff approach Alice with compassion each and every day – gaining her trust with small popcorn treats, and slowly building up from gentle touches to applying sunscreen and giving her short belly rubs. Through a child’s eyes, Alice’s transformation from boxed-in and labeled to being understood and accepted illustrated what is possible when we approach each other with compassion.

It quickly became clear that while Alice was understandably nervous and fearful – she was not a mean girl. Her past behavior came from a place of fear, loneliness and a complete lack of self-confidence – but the “mean girl” label had unfairly become Alice’s reality. With time, love and unshakable patience, Alice showed us her truest self.

Alice is an extremely sharp pig with the most beautiful, soulful amber eyes. She enjoys exploring, gently making straw nests next to her new pig roommate, Maybelle, and she’s come around to the glory that is belly rubs in the sunshine. Slowly, Alice is learning how to trust, how to be a pig, and even how to make friends – all because of you.

Alice reminds us all of the importance of looking beyond first impressions and snap judgments. She’s a reminder to get to know the individual behind a label – a label they might not deserve in the first place.

Please, make your year-end gift today so together, we can support all beings – exactly as they are.

We all know first drafts of a life story can be really rough – but for the animals and people who find sanctuary at Heartland, their rewritten story can be one of healing, kindness and compassion – thanks to you.

5 Comments for The rescue story of Alice “the mean girl”

Renee Brantner Shanesy | December 28, 2019 at 11:55 am

What a hope-full story! May Alice travel the joyful road to becoming Alice the sweet girl! Thank you for your patient hearts and being ‘label blind’.

Holly Strope | December 29, 2019 at 7:41 am

Thank you ! We will send adonation.
Holly S

Newerweds | December 29, 2019 at 12:07 pm

“In a pig’s eye”…

A lesson on life we can all savor.

Newreweds | December 29, 2019 at 12:08 pm

Sorry, misspelled the name first try.

Teresa Tree Tario | January 1, 2020 at 8:09 pm

Please enjoy Oreos and Oatmeal pies with Percy and the gang!!

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