CHIEVRES, Belgium (Reuters) - Pastis the pot-bellied pig likes nothing better than snuggling down for the night with the ponies at his retirement home, but also enjoys playing with the elderly cats.
The 10-year-old, 90-kg (200-pound) Vietnamese pot-bellied pig is one of 150 ageing animals, including dogs, goats, horses and sheep, living out their final days in peace at “Les Petits Vieux” (“The Little Old Ones”) in rural southern Belgium.
All the animals either have health problems or have been abandoned because their owners were too old to care for them.
They are never in cages and are free to play with each other, indoors and out, although many choose to merely lounge quietly on the sofas.
“We wanted to recreate family life for the animals,” said Valerie Luycx, who founded the shelter in 2000 with her husband Serge and knows all the animals by name.
Reporting by Yves Herman, writing by Julia Echikson; editing by Robert-Jan Bartunek and Robin Pomeroy