The Story of Piggins and Banks
Do you know how Piggins and Banks came to be?
The story begins all the way back in 2011. Co-founders Aaron and Christie Riddle (Mr. and Mrs. Head Hog) wanted to find a pet for their young daughters at the time. Not yet ready to take on a puppy, they settled on a pig to help their children learn about caring for animals. That pig was Rosie (who is still with us today)!
Over the next few years several more pig friends were acquired for Rosie until the Riddle Family had six pet pigs. Learning about pigs during that time and realizing how emotional, intelligent, and smart they were as animals gave them the idea of finding another piglet that they could raise as a certified therapy animal. This would allow them to take that pig around to local organizations to help teach people about pigs. In September 2019 they found a piglet that they would train to become a certified therapy pig…Mary Piggins!
Saving Mr. Banks
However the idea of a pig sanctuary had not yet entered their minds until they decided to find another pig to train along side Mary Piggins (since pigs do best with other pig friends being that they are herd animals). In June 2020, they found a piglet for sale on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
When Aaron arrived to pick up the piglet, it was sitting outside in a small cat carrier. The seller showed the pig to Aaron and realized that its tail was docked and right ear clipped-off half way. Offering to replace the “messed up pig” (in the heartless words of the seller) with another, Aaron declined and quickly took the rejected pig home…naming him Mr. Piggy Banks (Mr. Banks for short)!
Aaron and Christie came to realized that Mr. Banks had been marked as a meat pig. If Aaron would not have taken Mr. Banks home, he surely would have been sold for slaughter once old enough. As The Riddles worked to train Mr. Banks along side Mary Piggins, they began to see through social media hundreds and hundreds of pigs out there that needed homes. Abused pigs, abandoned pigs, neglected pigs, pigs sold for meat, pigs not wanted anymore…more than they could count (for more detail see our article: Why Help Save Pigs?).
A Forever Home for Pigs
They began to toss the around the idea of ways they could help with the problem when by chance (or perhaps fate), they found a 17-acre property with a home for sale only minutes north of where they were. Moving there would not up root their family as they would be in the same county, same school district, same area. Then the idea came to them…a pig sanctuary.
The property could become a pig sanctuary to give a forever home to as many pigs as possible (along with other types of animals as well such as horses, cats, chickens, etc). It could also be used as a means to educate the public about pigs to create a ripple to hopefully put a small dent in the pig re-homing problem.
At the end of August 2020 The Riddle Family moved to their new home and within months had established Piggins and Banks: Pig and Animal Sanctuary, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit thanks to initial contributions and gifts from people who believed in their mission. A year later in August 2021, The Riddles, along with Aaron’s brother Josh, purchased the adjacent property to expand the sanctuary and add a barn for housing elderly pig residents.
World-Wide Support for Pigs
Piggins and Banks now gives a forever home to 66 pigs as of this writing, along with a variety of other animals. Our donors, supporters, and pig sponsors can be found all over the world including The United States, Canada, and Europe just to name a few. Through social media, public tours, volunteer opportunities, and a variety of other ways, people are learning about why pigs are “friends, not food” and should be thought of differently.
All thanks to two little pigs who have made a lasting impact to their kind: Mary Piggins and Mr. Banks.