Pickles the pig brought joy: Three months after escaping Belchertown home, piglet hit by car in Granby

Catherine Ruell, who adopted Pickles in August, photographed her pet before the pig escaped. He was struck by a car and died from the injuries, Granby Animal control said Friday night.

Catherine Ruell, who adopted Pickles in August, photographed her pet before the pig escaped. He was struck by a car and died from the injuries, Granby Animal control said Friday night. CONTRIBUTED

Pickles was seen eating some food left by Granby Animal Control officer Kimberly Bernier-Goldsmith in an attempt to lure the piglet home.

Pickles was seen eating some food left by Granby Animal Control officer Kimberly Bernier-Goldsmith in an attempt to lure the piglet home. CONTRIBUTED/Granby Animal Control

By EMILEE KLEIN

Staff Writer

Published: 11-13-2023 5:30 PM

GRANBY — Three days after Pickles the pig — a ham on the lam for the last three months that garnered the attention of residents and the media — died from injuries after being struck by a vehicle, owner Catherine Ruell recalled her pet with fondness on Monday.

“I loved how his adventures brought people joy in a world filled with just turmoil,” Ruell said. “It’s amazing how a domestic pig could rally the community together.”

Granby Animal Control at 7:04 p.m. on Friday that Pickles the pig — who escaped in August from Ruell’s Belchertown home — had been hit by a car and succumbed to his injuries.

“In spite of our best efforts and those of the Granby Police Department, Belchertown Animal Control, Mill Valley Vet Clinic and so many others that tried to help us keep Pickles safe, tragically Pickles was hit by a car this evening and succumbed to his injuries,” Granby Animal Control wrote on its Facebook post. “We were all hoping for a better outcome.”

Since Pickles’ escape, citizens of Belchertown regularly posted sightings of Pickles on Facebook to help in the pig’s rescue. Ruell expressed gratitude toward the community members who volunteered time and resources for the search, including allowing her to hike through and set traps on privately-owned woods.

When Pickles crossed into Granby on Nov. 4, citizens called and texted animal control officer Kimberly Bernier-Goldsmith with regular updates on Pickle’s whereabouts.

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“Everybody was great about texting and calling and keeping us up-to-date on where there were sightings,” Bernier-Goldsmith said. “It also helped us learn that [Pickles] had a routine because he would go to the same spots every day at the same time.”

The Ruell family had adopted Pickles shortly before the piglet escaped. Eating from home gardens and trash, the town celebrity survived in the Massachusetts woods for three months and avoided any capture efforts.

“It was a lot of frustration due to him always running away when approached. I was concerned about his safety especially as the colder weather started to settle in,” Ruell said. “[There wasn’t] a lot of oral sedatives we could safely give him and it’s also illegal for animal control to tranquilize, so our options were very limited.”

Bernier-Goldsmith said the last time she saw Pickles was the previous day when she worked with Belchertown Animal Control to concoct a trap of pumpkins, donuts, canned corn and grain.

Bernier-Goldsmith received a phone call reporting Pickle’s injury on Thursday evening. Granby Animal Control was in contact with Mill Valley Vet Clinic in attempt to get Pickles medical attention, but Pickle’s injuries were too severe.

Ruell acknowledges that Pickle’s passing was an accident most likely caused by the night’s weather.

“It was dark, the roads were slick and visibility was poor due to the fog. My sympathies go out to the driver, who must be devastated as well,” Ruell said.

Belchertown citizens posted condolences for Pickles on the Facebook post announcing the pig’s passing on the Belchertown Community Forum.

“Pickles was a legend around here! I told my family it’s like where is Waldo instead with a pet pig. My family and I enjoyed hearing of his whereabouts and seeing the sightings of him on Facebook,” one resident wrote.

Another said, “Pickles became a little mascot for Belchertown. With all of the sightings and adventures this is so sad. So sorry for the loss of pickles the pig.

Emilee Klein can be reached at eklein@gazettenet.com.