J.J. and Toni Howley have rescued numerous animals, but for the past three years, Toni has had what she calls an “innate connection” with one very special pig. Meet Tululla Iris Cirabela — or Tutu, for short — a 13-year-old pig with paralytic back legs.
Through her role as an adoption coordinator for Brownsburg, Indiana, nonprofit Oinking Acres Farm Rescue and Sanctuary, in August 2020, Toni rescued Tutu, along with 14 other pigs, from a perilous situation in Michigan. They were left with more than 65 other pigs in an unregulated breeding environment that got out of control. It was amidst this chaos that Toni found Tutu and, along with Oinking Acres, gave her a chance for a better life.
“I wasn’t leaving there without her,” she says.
Toni says Tutu’s owner reported she was stepped on as a piglet, paralyzing her hind legs. When Tutu was brought to Oinking Acres about three years ago, it became clear that her injuries would not accommodate prosthetics or a cart. Tutu was cared for by Oinking Acres until recently, when the Howleys decided to bring her home to Evansville to live out her golden years.
Toni says Tutu is settling in very well with her three pig siblings Teddy, Tilda, and Rupert. (The Howley family also includes five rescue dogs.) The family renovated an old mowing shed on their West Side property into a condo just for her. The condo is complete with bright pink walls and tumbling mats on the floor as a softer surface for her joints. Thus far, she’s been enjoying grazing and lying out in the sun. Toni says Tutu is a very sweet and vocal pig who will start talking to you right when she sees you.
Tutu takes a joint supplement to protect her cartilage and joints, and she eats organic pig pellets, fresh produce, and golden paste for inflammation reduction. With these healthy steps, Toni says Tutu is totally mobile.
“She is a testament to the resiliency of animals,” Toni says. “She came from a terrible situation and lives with a disability that could’ve destroyed her, but she’s so happy and resilient. I’m just so proud of her.”