Providing therapy, this pig has a purpose

Judy the Therapy Pig

WEXFORD COUNTY, Mich (WBPN/WGTU) — It's not your typical preschool birthday party at Forest View Elementary in Cadillac. Of course there's singing, decorations, and even a birthday cake. However, this birthday girl is a whole different animal.

“Usually a therapy animal is a dog or a cat," said Sara Bush. "You don’t see a pig that often.”

Sara Bush is the owner of Judy, a therapy pig celebrating her first birthday. While she's a proud owner now, it took some convincing at first.

“My boyfriend wanted a pig for four years and I told him absolutely not," Bush said. "Then finally I found her on Facebook and I said 'alright, just go get her.'”

Judy came home initially as a pet. But once Bush’s patients at the doctor’s office where she worked got wind of her new pet pig, Judy had a whole new purpose.

“Once I heard them get really excited about me having a pig... I started looking into how to certify her to be a therapy animal,” Bush said.

As a therapy animal, Judy visits hospitals, nursing homes and even visits those on hospice. All to bring a glimpse of joy when people need it most.

“There was a lady that we saw on hospice," recalled Bush. "When I walked in, I thought to myself 'oh she’s not gonna like this,' and I went out and got Judy and brought her back in, and she just lit up.”

“Pure excitement," said preschool teacher Michelle Wegener, describing the reaction from her class when she told them Judy would be making an appearance for a special birthday party. "They’ve been talking about it for weeks.”

After another teacher brought a bunny into her class, Wegener had another idea for a unique lesson involving Judy.

“We talked about a pet that would have a job," Wegener said. "My kids wondered what that would even mean, to have a job as a pet?”

Even though Judy came to the class to teach the kids about job, she never stopped doing her job. Struggling with anxiety, a young student by the name of Blake had never spoken a word in class. That is, until Judy came to the rescue.

“He had a full conversation while Judy was next to him," Wegener said proudly. "He talked about Judy, and to Judy."

Even though she's wearing wings, Judy the pig still can't fly.

However, she is able to lift up others, and help their spirits soar.

If you or someone you know is in need of a visit from Judy, you can message them on the Judy the Therapy Pig Facebook page HERE.

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