In mid-February I traveled to a rural part of north-central Florida, about an hour south of Jacksonville and 50 minutes east of Gainesville. After my Apple GPS told me several wrong ways, nonexistent roads to take, and other tomfoolery, I arrived on the outskirts of Melrose at Rooterville's doorstep, marked by a marquee like you might see outside a church or a theater.
It marked the second sanctuary of the new year I would visit, and I was soon to learn that the source of its name were the potbellied pigs who originally inspired the creation of the sanctuary. Rooterville had grown from its early days as a potbelly rescue into a more fully-fledged farm animal sanctuary. Here I met a host of porcine characters, lounging, rooting, and exploring almost everywhere I looked.
I also met a few equine and caprine friends, including (pictured) Doodle and Leo, both whom insisted on selfies with me, and many photos of themselves besides. I must say, both boys have dashing hairdos - I don't think I've quite seen the like at other sanctuaries!
While later perusing Rooterville's website, I noticed that they had several open staffing positions available. I did not intend to leave Florida until April, so I reached out to Elaine, the founder of Rooterville, and asked if she would be interested in me working at the sanctuary for the month of March. It fit for both of us, especially given my previous caregiving and tour guide experience, both roles for which she is looking, and thus I have been helping out the last week and a half. Katie Kowhugger is getting acquainted with several of the most curious porcine residents, and it has been a delight to get to know the residents even better myself. More photos to come throughout the month!