A real life ‘Babe’ pig is mourning the loss of its best friend a sheep dog – and will now take on the role of house hound.
Savvi the porker was taken in by a pig sanctuary as a piglet and then raised alongside border collie Skye.
And now the role of house dog has officially fallen upon Savvi as his beloved best friend died two weeks ago, at the age of 13.
The 18-month-old boar really does think he is a border collie after learning all of life’s tricks and habits from mentor Skye when he was taken in by the Haggata family.
Ironically Savvi’s original owners thought he was a micropig – and when they realised he wasn’t – he is now a staggering 15-stone – he had to go.
Jac and Rus Haggata, who run a pig sanctuary, Pigs in the Woods, took in thriving Savvi and because he developed a special friendship with their pet dog, Skye, he remained in their home in Skelmonthorpe, near Huddersfield, West Yorks.
Technical manager, Rus, 43, said: “Savvi really does think he is a dog. As soon as we took Savvi in, he and Skye had such a close bond that we could not separate them.
“And because she was just learning the way of the world, she learned all her skills from Skye.
“Skye was like a mother to Savvie. They were inseparable. They would sleep together, go on walks together and always be by each other’s sides, it was lovely to see.”
Rus and part-time social worker, Jac, 52, would take the pair in the car to see their piggy friends at the sanctuary for walks and visits.
They also slept together on a giant dog bed set up in their living room behind the sofa.
You can tell Savvi apart from the other pigs as he doggy skills show his super-piggy intelligence.
He also has his own squeaky toy – Mr Squeak – that he will bring out when he wants to play.
But now Rus and Jac, and their sons, Nathan, 27, and Hayden, 14, all fear for Savvi as he is showing signs of depression after Skye passed away two weeks ago.
The much-loved collie she passed away in her sleep of kidney failure and a heart attack.
But poor old Savvie is pig-sick as he shows signs of depression.
Father-of-two Rus said: “He is so incredibly sad, you can see if in his face.”
Only last week Savvi had to be rescued by firefighters when he took flight from his garden, possibly looking for Skye, breaking through a fence and ending up in a stream.
It took eight firefighters to rescue him from the cold muddy ditch.
Rus said: “At the moment Savvi has taken on the role of our family dog but it looks like Savvi will have to go outside and join his other pig friends in the woods.
“Now Skye has gone he wouldn’t be very happy on his own. He needs friends.
“He is also still growing.”
The pig sanctuary began six years ago when Jac and Rus lived in Cornwall and literally saved three pigs from the chop.
They have now moved their vocation up north where they continue to take in swines.
All their pigs are named after their children’s friends.
Jac said they are always looking for help and donations.
“Pigs are really intelligent creatures but I think some people are misguided about them.
“They’re not aggressive as long as, just like any other animal, they are looked after correctly.
“And they have a lot of similarities to humans.
“They feel the same emotions as us and get the same health conditions.
“Pigs also keep learning for much longer than dogs and are extremely adaptable.
“Obviously, due to these reasons and our growing awareness of healthy living, I think it’s best we don’t eat them.”