Left Hand Valley Courier - All Local, All The Time

This little piggy needs a fence


February 9, 2018

Photo by Jim Dorvee Curious Winston

There are some things in life that are sure to bring a smile. In this neck of the foothills, one of those sure things is a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig named Winston.

Winston and his family live near Dodd Lake by the three-way stop at 73rd Street and Niwot Road. Anyone who has seen him there once is sure to crane their head and search the yard for another sighting of his 90 pounds of grin-inducing, speckled snout-twitching, creamy-colored elliptical shape.

Elizabeth Wright and Rod Mazzone adopted Winston when he was just a 30-pound bundle of joy at six months old.

“Of course, as soon as we met him, we fell in love with him,” Mazzone said. “A friend thought he reminded her of Churchill, so the name stuck.”

That was seven years ago and, since then they have added three Nigerian pygmy goats and a terrier mix dog named Buddy to their family.

Living on that particular corner gives the Wright-Mazzone family a magnificent view to the north and west and it gives passers-by the unique view of Winston nibbling in their yard.

“Winston grazed the front yard down to nothing. We were able to leave him in a larger section of pasture to graze and he wouldn’t go anywhere, but he’s curious adventurous, even when we were home, and he’d cross the street,” Mazzone said. “There is no specific size of lot recommended for pigs, but you definitely want to have accessible grazing for them. That’s just what they want to do all day long.”

Winston’s family decided they needed to fence in the larger area to keep him happy and safe. Their landlords, Nancy and Pat Hindman, were supportive of the project. Mazzone added up the materials needed to construct the fence and the cost came to $1,500. Unfortunately, the family could not afford it on their own, so Wright set-up a GoFundMe page.

The intersection where they live is the perfect rolling thoroughfare for cyclists and is often included in race courses. Many a race spectator stands at their corner to cheer on competitors.

Acknowledging the moments of happiness that Winston brings while on their rides, organizers and members of the 303 Triathlon community (a website for multisport athletes in the area) became instrumental in spreading the word that Winston needed a fence to keep him safe.

Winston’s GoFundMe campaign was shared on the community’s forum page and word spread quickly bringing the fund to its goal of $1000 by the end of the first day. Thanks to local newspapers and television stations, as of Sunday, Feb. 4, the money raised is nearly three times that amount.

“We are overwhelmed with the generosity, compassion, and giving nature we’re experiencing. We never realized how many people Winston has touched,” Mazzone said.

Pigs like Winston can live to be 20 years old. Wright and Mazzone adopted him through PIG-A SUS Homestead Sanctuary; a pot-bellied pig rescue in Mack, CO. Money raised beyond the original goal for the fence will be donated to the sanctuary.

Beyond financial donations, the Wright-Mazzone family has been touched by offers to pitch in with building the fence. Colorado Dirt Dog will provide an excavator to dig 50 post holes for the fence.

“Offers to help just snowballed,” Mazzone said, “We have people coming to help us build the whole fence and, with this much help, it looks like we should be done in a day.”

Weather permitting, the work will be done on Feb. 17 and 18. Mazzone asked that interested parties continue to check the GoFundMe page for the latest information.

Mazzone said, “Winston is cuddly and cute, but one of the things worth reiterating is that pot-bellied pigs are an endeavor not to be taken lightly. We take him to CSU once a year for a check-up or, a spa day as they call it. Taking him there is instrumental to allow us to be good owners. He gets his hoofs and tusks trimmed and he gets a medicated bath. He also gets a medical evaluation to be sure he’s healthy.”

“A pot-bellied boar should have a waist when you look at them from the top down.” he said, “and their weight should be carried in their belly, as their name implies.”

Visitors may feed Winston, but not everything is okay for him to eat. He’s likely to eat most everything he’s offered except celery. Palate pleasers include apples, plain Cheerios, and carrots.

Winston stays warm and beds down in the family’s utility room where all of the cabinets now have child locks. He may not have opposable thumbs, or even fingers, but he’s resourceful enough to get into trouble. His abilities led to him opening cabinet doors and ingesting so much of his own food and the dog’s food “that he was moaning and had a huge belly you could play like a drum.” This is why Mazzone said the hardest thing about owning a pot-bellied pig is their incredible intelligence.

Photo by Jim Dorvee Rod Mazzone and Elizabeth Wright with Winston the pig and Buddy the dog

Mazzone’s three previously breached renditions of an”‘impenetrable fence” in the front yard are another example of how ingenious Winston can be. Pot-bellied pigs are so smart they can be taught to sit, lay down and follow other commands.

“But,” Mazzone said,” they are more like cats....If he doesn’t want to, he will just walk away. Other times he crawls up on our laps or rubs against our legs.”

When asked about the family’s pork consumption, Mazzone said, “We do eat pork, but we would not and will not eat Winston.”

It’s good to know that there will be many more smiles down the road, all because of the delight Winston brings.

To donate money or learn more about helping to build Winston’s new fence go to: https: http://www.gofundme.com/free-range-winstonbuild-a-fence.


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