ARL Rehabbing Morbidly Obese Potbellied Pig

Maybelle Allegedly Fed Dog Food, But Now is Eating Her Vegetables

When one-year-old Maybelle came to the Animal Rescue League of Boston (ARL) about six weeks ago, she was more than just a robust 196 pounds. She was also immobile, being able to stand on her legs for mere seconds at a time and suffered from several pressure sores attributed to her lack of movement. Her hooves were also overgrown and causing discomfort. Because of her size, Maybelle also couldn’t see because a roll of fat was, and still is, covering her eyes.

Maybelle Web

Maybelle in her stall at ARL’s Dedham Animal Care & Adoption Center.

ARL’s veterinary staff jumped in with both feet to formulate a plan to get Maybelle back to being a fully-functional animal.

“It was a collaboration and it took some research,” said ARL Veterinarian, Dr. Kate Gollon. “She needs to lose about 80 pounds and regain her strength, so once we had all the information, we decided to take a number of steps to begin moving Maybelle in the right direction.”

Because Maybelle was allegedly fed only dog food in her previous situation, the first step was to drastically decrease her caloric intake. ARL is now giving her six small meals a day, consisting of feed and vegetables, and already Maybelle has lost some weight and is improving her mobility daily.

Additionally, Maybelle has had her hooves trimmed, and is receiving plenty of attention and love.

“Enrichment has been so important and the staff has been great,” Dr. Gollon said. “The staff are sitting with her, comforting her, and she enjoys petting and being scratched, it’s made a tremendous difference.”

Along with receiving plenty of love from staff and volunteers, Maybelle has also garnered public support, as her story has been publicized nationally in the media. While trending in the right direction, Maybelle’s rehab is going to be a lengthy, and costly process. It’s estimated that it will take 9-12 months for the potbellied pig to return to a normal weight, and the goal for this summer is to have Maybelle hopefully be able to get outside and have to opportunity to act like a pig, which will aide in her weight loss.

No Scale — No Problem!

Maybelle is making progress, but because of her size and immobility, ARL is unable to get her on a scale to monitor her weight loss. However, staff will be using a fabric tape measure to track her weight loss in inches, so make sure you check back often for updates!

Overfeeding is an Act of Cruelty

Maybelle’s situation has been deemed an act of cruelty, and police in Billerica have charged Maybelle’s former owner with animal cruelty. A court hearing is scheduled for mid-August.

“It’s not healthy,” said Darleen Wood, ARL’s Associate Director of Law Enforcement. “It’s cruel for an animal to be malnourished, but it’s also cruel to overfeed an animal to the point of morbid obesity.”