Lucy the pig

Erica Rushing

on Monday

helped transport Lucy the red wattle pig to a new home in Grass Valley on Monday. The orphaned pig was rescued by Napa County’s Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch.

Lucy the pig started 2017 by moving to her own little piece of hog heaven.

The four-month-old red wattle pig had a big assist from Napa County’s Jameson Animal Rescue Ranch (JARR). She’s no longer an orphan, unwanted and facing death.

On Monday, volunteers drove her to her new and permanent home at the Animal Place animal sanctuary in Grass Valley, Nevada County.

Along the way, the team stopped at The Shed Country Store and BBQ near Stanly Lane south of the city of Napa for a Lucy the pig press conference. Lucy got in a few grunts from her traveling trailer, but the humans did most of the talking.

“She’s going from rags to riches,” said Monica Stevens, the founder of JARR.

Lucy’s story started on a Solano County ranch, where she was abandoned by her mother as one-week-old in a field last September. Stevens couldn’t say for certain why this happened.

“She was probably the runt,” Stevens said.

A local resident’s daughter who worked on the ranch found Lucy. The resident contacted JARR, the Napa County nonprofit which rescues not only dogs and cats, but also farm animals.

Lucy needed to be bottle fed for three weeks. JARR found a Napa resident to take care of her for a few weeks, and then transferred her to Flat Broke Farms in Cotati as a temporary foster home. Flat Broke Farms prepares unwanted farm animals for adoption.

At first, Lucy had no name. JARR turned to the public for suggestions, largely using Facebook and other social media. About 10 people suggested the name Lucy after Lucille Ball, with the link being both the pig and the famous comedian have red hair.

Runner-up names that didn’t make the cut included Piggy Smalls and Piggy Longstocking.

Lucy doesn’t look like a run-of-the-mill pig. Since she is one of the rare heritage breed called the red wattle, she has two small wattles or fleshy appendages hanging from each side of the neck. The wattles have no known purpose.

She is a pig with personality.

“She’s sassy,” Stevens said. “She knows who she is … she’s a confident pig.”

Erica Rushing of Flat Broke Farms has gotten to know Lucy well in recent weeks.

“Lucy is gregarious and very silly,” Rushing said. “She loves to play soccer. She has a soccer ball and she pushes it round her stall and she snorts and squeals the whole time she’s doing it with excitement and joy.”

Not just anyone would want to adopt a pig. Lucy weighs 75 pounds today, but she could be 400 pounds of snorting, squealing excitement when full grown.

A few people offered to adopt Lucy. JARR chose Animal Place, a nonprofit group that has a 600-acre sanctuary for unwanted farm animals. There, Lucy will be kept with a lone male pig, Bert.

“Her life is about to change in a big way,” Stevens said.

Lucy demonstrates that JARR works with not only dogs and cats, but also farm animals, she said. The group is also looking for a home for Ben and Jerry, a goat and sheep that have bonded and will be kept together.

“We never know from day to day what call we’re going to get,” Stevens said.

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Barry Eberling covers Napa County government, transportation, the environment and general assignments. He was worked for the Napa Valley Register since fall 2014 and previously worked 27 years for the Daily Republic of Fairfield. He is a graduate of UC Sa