Companion to Richard and Laura Hoyle

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April 5, 2003

Dear Friends,

It is with great sadness and very heavy hearts that we announce the sudden death of Leo our 1200 pound Hampshire barrow.

Leo awoke today as usual, ate a hearty breakfast, drank several gallons of water and then he and Big Earl headed off into the woods for the day.....as usual.

We watched him make a "day nest" right at the edge of the woods around noon and settle in for an afternoon nap. At 1 PM Laura took some visitors to meet Leo and he had just died.

Our vet and I performed a field necropsy on Leo before we laid him to rest. The cause of death was a sudden and catastrophic inversion of his entire small intestine. The cause of the inversion was found to be a large piece of bone (apparently a chicken bone) that has probably been in his bowel for many years and around which a mass of scar tissue the size of a grapefruit had developed. That was the point at which the bowel rotated. What caused the bowel to rotate after this many years will forever remain a mystery.

Leo's death was sudden...probably within an hour after the rotation of the bowel. He did not suffer.

His death has left us grief stricken as we had come to love this 9 year old "big boy" a great deal. Leo was a gentle giant who enjoyed being pampered after his many years as a breeding boar on his farm in New Jersey. He and Earl had become good buddies and you seldom saw one without the other. Leo was so gentle that he would lie in the straw and let me cut his imposing tusks with a wire saw without so much as a toss of his massive head. He had developed a fondness for apples and animal crackers since his arrival and I always carried a few in my pocket for him.

The Lord truly works in mysterious ways. It was just last week that a four month old Hampshire was rescued after having been abandoned in a trailer in southern VA and arrived here. He looked so much like Leo and had the same marvelous personality that we named him LJ.....for Leo Junior. I think God knew he was going to take Leo and thought he had better send us someone to take his place and help fill the huge hole in our heart that Leo's death has caused.

In the middle of dealing with Leo's death we were also surprised by the unanticipated arrival of a tiny little sow and her three surviving two week old piglets. So the circle of life and death continues.....

Leo was loved dearly and will be greatly missed by me, Laura and all who were privileged enough to get to meet this wonderful old boy.

Richard and Laura Hoyle
Mini-Pigs Sanctuary
Culpeper, VA
(540) 937-5229