Pigs ‘swam for days’ in Florence floodwaters. Now they won’t leave each other’s side

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A pair of pigs found frenzied and pummeled by Hurricane Florence are in better ways now, taking comfort in each other’s company as they heal, according to their rescuers.

Ziggy’s Refuge, a Providence, N.C., animal sanctuary run by Kristin Hartness and Jay Yontz, has posted constant updates on the pigs, named Jax and Flo, since the group helped rescue them.

“They were both a terrified, nervous wreck when they were first found, and both were in awful shape, covered in cuts and bruises, coughing up water for days, and on top of this, Jax was unable to open his eyes,” the group wrote in a Monday Facebook post.

“But the first night they met, we walked into the trailer where they were quarantined and they were snuggled up sleeping like this; they have done so ever since.”

Florence brought record rainfall and devastating flooding to eastern North Carolina last month. Odds were considerably against the animals making it out of Florence alive – much less a commercial hog farm to begin with, a HuffPost report noted.

The N.C. Department of Agriculture estimated 5,500 pigs were killed in the storm, along with several million chickens and turkeys, The News & Observer reported.

But these swine and other animals managed to survive, with the help of the refuge group.

Jax and Flo were rescued separately from Hurricane Florence floodwaters after their CAFOs (factory farm sheds) flooded,” the group wrote. “Thousands of their fellow pigs drowned inside submerged sheds, but Jax and Flo made it out alive and swam for days before rescuers found them.”

Flo gained some media attention from The Dodo after reaching a family’s yard on Sept. 17. Jax was pulled from a river the next day, according to Ziggy’s Refuge.

Jax, Flo and another rescue pig named Champ were transported to University of Tennessee Veterinary Medical Center for treatment on Oct. 2.

Doctors determined Flo had a cough caused by pneumonia and that Jax’s vision issues were twofold – “ulcers on the inside of the eyelid as well as entropion (eyelids rolled inward towards the eye),” the sanctuary wrote in an update.

On Tuesday, the group reported that Jax’s treatment was working.

As for Champ, an X-ray confirmed he had a fractured leg that required surgery. On Tuesday, the group posted video of Champ taking his first steps in a cast after surgery.

“It really is just amazing how trusting they are despite everything they went through,” Hartness said, according to the Danville Register & Bee. “But they can sense they’re loved.”