Master Julian, as he has come to be called, was one of three piglets stuffed in a straw basket on the back of a motorcycle. They were being taken to town, to be raised for meat. They would be slaughtered within six months.
Catherine Besch, co-founder of Vietnam Animal Aid and Rescue, saw the litter of piglets on the back of the motorbike and wanted to do something. Sadly, she couldn’t save them all – just one. She had to make an agonizing decision – and she picked Julian. In her blog, Besch explains:
The small terrified one in the corner was quickly chosen as the seller grabbed him by the ear, screaming as he was pulled away from his siblings. I had my shelter volunteer get me a blanket to wrap him in, and as these nosy neighbors watched, I kissed his snout as he was tightly wrapped in my blanket, pressed his terrified little body tight against my chest, and walked back to the shelter where he would begin to learn what love truly is. Living with 50 rescued animals at a shelter in central Vietnam, I already know what love is, so I certainly had no trouble showing him.
Vietnam Animal Aid and Rescue is a veterinary training clinic and rescue shelter that focuses on education for Vietnamese veterinarians, animal welfare organizations, and school children. They work to end the proliferation of the dog/cat meat trade, public health disasters through zoonosis, and food safety concerns from animal product consumption.
According to Besch, Julian is an ordinary farm pig. Yes, she loves him dearly but she promises all pigs are like Julian – intelligent, affectionate and a bit naughty.
Master Julian now lives like a king. As a piglet, he slept with his human, but his BFF was Chairman Meow, a stubby-tailed orange and white tabby.
The piglet and the kitten grew up together – likely thinking they were of the same species. Then one became proportionately larger than the other! Size didn’t matter for these two who are still best friends a year and a half later.
And it’s not just Meow – Julian loves all kitties and is frequently cuddling one or more:
“Chairman Meow was a kitten and he was a piglet so they were both babies, they were both silly. He was very interested in the pig and they been quite tight,” Besch explains.
This cute video shows more of Julian and his BFF, Chairman Meow:
Today, Master Julian is 250 pounds and sleeps on the floor. His purpose in life is to educate the Vietnamese that animals have a name, a face and in this case can also be a friend.
He is the mascot for the rescue. You can learn more about Vietnam Animal Aid and Rescue by visiting their website and following them on Facebook. Want to help Julian and his cause? You can sponsor him for a month.