Three-legged mini pig paints for a cause — ‘4 the Love of Art and Animals’ auction benefiting animal rescue organizations
January 18, 2018
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — How does a three-leggged mini pig express itself?
Through art, of course.
"Pigs are insanely smart animals and are a challenging pet," said Rory Clow, born and raised in Steamboat Springs in a ranching family that is passionate about the care of rescue animals. "They are often smart enough to out-think their owners, and need fairly constant attention and stimulation to keep them out of trouble.”
But not just any mini pig. Tripp, the three-legged, 9-month-old mini pig, can identify three colors and do around 15 tricks, including weaving between Clow's legs, ringing a bell on command, pushing a ball, sitting, spinning and more.
But one of his favorite activities is particularly messy — painting.
"It acts as an enrichment project to keep him stimulated and out of trouble," said Clow. "It's a lot of fun if you're ready for the mess, and he loves the feel of pushing paint around a canvas."
Two of Tripp's masterpieces will be featured in the "4 the Love of Art and Animals" monthly online art auction, which ends at 11 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 22.
"This auction is unique in the rescue world because it helps both artists and animals," said Clow, who helped start the auction in June 2016. The auction has raised almost $4,500 for rescues across the U.S. and Canada.
Ever since the local zoning for mini pigs changed, Clow has been active in the mini pig world and was inspired to start the art auction, which features four artists each month who then choose four rescue organization to benefit from their art sales.
This month, Amber Elliot, a senior at Steamboat Springs High School, is the first local artist to be featured in the event who chose the local Born Free Wildlife Rehab as her featured rescue. Born Free Wildlife Rehab was started 23 years ago by longtime Yampa Valley resident Tracy Bye.
In honor of Izzy the Goat — the 5-pound baby goat who lost his back legs to frostbite and received donations from across the U.S. to help purchase custom prosthetics — Clow chose to select a special fund at Steamboat Veterinary Hospital, installed by Lisa Kim and Rosie Larsen, as her designated recipient of the auction.
"This little goat also made me realize that rescue has always been a part of my life, and that this was my passion," said Clow. "I wanted to be part of the change of ensuring that, even in the ranching world, animals are cared for humanely, acknowledged for feeling pain, and aren’t just a number on a budget."
Steamboat Veterinary Hospital PC also has been instrumental in Tripp's care. In addition to being three-legged, Tripp arrived from Utah to Clow's care, blind, from a condition called Entropion, which causes the eyelids to curl inwards and scratch the cornea. Thanks to Dr. Lee Meyring's experience with pigs, Tripp avoided needing a costly surgery to reverse the Entropion and regain his sight.
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Two other rescues — perhaps more to Tripp the pig's liking — will be featured this month in the 4 the Love of Art and Animals Auction: Colorado-based Hog Haven, selected by a high school artist Trinity Wilson, and Kansas City Pig Rescue Network in Missouri, selected by artist Misty Marie Abney.
"Sometimes putting an animal down is the most humane option, but there are times these animals can have good lives as pets where they don't fulfill a rancher's need for consumerism,” said Clow. “They deserve that chance of life. It's the least we can offer to animals that are bred and raised completely for human needs."
Nonprofits that have benefited from "4 the Love of Art and Animals" auction:
- Hippie Pig Sanctuary
- Central Texas Pig Rescue
- Best Friends Animal Society
- Gracies Acres
- Houston Mini Pigs
- Pigsburg Squealers
- Eden Animal Haven
- Mo Money for Pigs
- Pig Pen Inc
- The Wild Animal Sanctuary
- The Pig Preserve
- Alaqua Animal Refuge
- Oscars Piggy Oasis
- Wolf Hollow Animal Sanctuary
- Blind Spot Animal Sanctuary
- Heart of Louisiana Humane Society
- Oscars Piggy Oasis
- Panthera Africa Big Cat Sanctuary
- Larimer County Humane Society
- Gracies Acres
- Kansas City Pig Rescue Network
- Stars Piggly Wigglys Sanctuary (Canada)
- Hog Haven Farm
- Steamboat Veterinary Hospital, P.C. Owner Assistance Fund
- Born Free Wildlife Rehabilitation
For more information and to see other artists’ work, join the Facebook group, "4 the Love of Art and Animals Group." The auction runs until 11 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 22.