PLEASE DO NOT VISIT THE SANCTUARY WITHOUT AN APPOINTMENT, THANK YOU.
Please plan ahead for your visit, particularly if you are visiting from out of state and are only here for a few days.
We try to only do tours on Saturday mornings at 10am in the winter months and 9am in the warmer months. Starting April tours will be at 9am. We do not do tours from mid May to mid September because of the intense heat. However, we can make special arrangements for out of state visitors and those that can't come on Saturday or in the cooler months. We would appreciate you working your schedule if possible to visit on Saturdays to save us staff time.
The best way to arrange a visit is to send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with your preferred day to visit (hopefully Saturday). We try to accommodate everyone but are not always able to do so. Visits to the Ironwood Pig Sanctuary are by appointment only. We have one tour on the days we are open for visitors. These tours start at 10am in the cooler months and 9am in the warmer months. We are not available to accept visitors every day due to things like shortage of staff, monthly vet visit, trips to rescue animals, major projects or other reasons where we do not have the time or staff to show the visitors the sanctuary. Because of these limitations we try to have most of our tours on Saturday. A typical visit to the sanctuary takes about 2 hours, not including travel time. We do have a golf cart for those visitors who have trouble walking over our fields. But unfortunately we are not wheelchair accessable. It is not practical to just come and look around. Our pigs are in large fields scattered over 15 acres. Your enjoyment will be much better if you are able to have a safe visit and pet some pigs.
There are 4 miles of dirt roads leading up to the Sanctuary. These roads are passable with small and large vehicles. Conditions vary depending upon the weather. If you are concerned about road conditions during wet weather you can call ahead at 520-631-6015 for the latest road conditions.
Even if you think you know how to get here I would recommend that you review the directions on our "Contact Us" page because road conditions may have changed. Do not use any mapping programs or your GPS because the data base they all use is not correct and may not be updated with the latest information. We are in a very rural area and you need to use our directions.
The Ironwood Pig Sanctuary is dedicated to eliminating the suffering of pot bellied pigs in Arizona and surrounding states by promoting spaying and neutering, assisting owners and other sanctuaries, and providing a permanent home in a safe, nurturing environment for those that are abandoned, abused, neglected, or unwanted.
We are home to almost 600 pot bellied pigs.
Do You Want To Donate?
The Ironwood Pig Sanctuary is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and any donation is tax-deductable. It just takes a few minutes to make a secure donation by PayPal using your credit card. Click the donate button to make a donation. You do not need a PayPal account. Select the amount of your donation and how you want to pay either by means of your PayPal account or your Credit Card then go to the next page. If you want to make a donation in the name of another person, for a special reason like a birthday or anniversary or for a special purchase such as a 2014 calendar just describe what you want on the PayPal form. Click on the "Add Special Instructions to the Seller" and describe what you want with names and addresses if needed.
Refer to our SUPPORT page for more ways to support your Sanctuary such as sponsoring a pig, being a sustainer, getting the sanctuary credit card, or double or triple your donation by using your company's matching gift program.
Winter Is Here!!!
Winter is finally here across the country.
Don't forget to provide a dry, cozy, shelter, shade, a sunny area and plenty of water for all of your pets. Even in the winter it can be hot in the sun! So shade and a good shelter are always appreciated by all your critters.
Best Friends' Article on the Ironwood Pig Sanctuary
Best Friends, in their News and Features page have written an article about the Ironwood Pig Sanctuary. Click on the image to the left to read the article.
Introductory Video of the Sanctuary.
Click on the link below to view an introductory video of the Sanctuary. Click the lower right hand corner of the video for full screen. Depress the escape key to return from full screen.
From the President
Last week Ben and I made a nearly 2000 mile round trip journey to UC Davis with little Si in tow to do surgery on a broken elbow on his left front leg. He is ten months old and one of the five boys who were born here last April to Charlotte who was rescued from a hoarder/breeder near Tucson. X-rays by Dr. Page revealed he would need a complex difficult surgery by an orthopedic surgeon. In addition to the broken elbow he has moderate to severe degenerative joint disease. We explored different major University Veterinary Schools and decided on UC Davis. All else being equal with good surgeons, this was the most convenient overall for us with an offer for a night lay over at a friend’s home in Ojai and a warm safe pen for him to stay in. The new x-rays revealed his break was healing on its own and he did not require surgery. However arthritic changes were already evident. With much relief for Si and for us, since we did not have to struggle to raise the many thousands of dollars the surgery would have required, we headed back to Tucson. Si is very social and accustomed to people since we raised him and his brothers by hand. He was not stressed by the trip and enjoyed the stops with frequent fruit treats along the way.
We don’t know how his injury occurred since he and his brothers now live in one of our large fields. There was no other evidence of any other injury. He could have a congenital weakness that left him prone to the break.
Inbreeding and a small gene pool in pot-bellied pigs has caused a great deal of pain and suffering for them. Nearly all of them will develop painful arthritis and for some it will be the cause of their early death. We spend thousands of dollars each year on meds to help relieve their painful joints. Now the breeders are inbreeding even more trying to produce a “teacup pig”, the result of which will be even more congenital issues and suffering. To my mind this is immoral and unethical. I hope you agree and will not buy or promote in any way the continued breeding of these animals.
This whole process has been a difficult one for us. The main consideration was how would Si be if we did do the surgery and of course the huge financial consideration. In the end we proceeded with what we thought was best for him and because we have the wonderful support from you we felt we would not have to sacrifice the care of our many other animals here at Ironwood. You only need to look at Si to know why we have gone to such lengths to save this little boy. We are so grateful for your support so these wonderful animals may live out their lives with us.
President & Co-Founder
Ironwood Celebrates Thirteen Years!
Shown here are many of our first pigs five years after our opening in June of 2001. Many of you are making this journey with us
and you may recognize many of them from issues past.
You may click on a picture to see a larger version.
June 10, 2001 we officially opened the doors of the Ironwood Pig Sanctuary. Claire and Popeye arrived that evening. Then on June 11th Misty and Tully came, June 12th Owen and Taylor, June 14th a litter of babies, June 15th Oreo came to our home and June 30th Blossom
arrived along with Eddie and Flapjack. That rounded out our first month and filled the 8 pens we had constructed at that time, and the overflow went to our home and introduced me to my dear
Soon thereafter Pearl, Princess, Bubba, Mr. Pibb, Arnold, Benjamin and Oliver,
Desiree, Pammy, Corky and so many others followed them. We built more pens and they were soon full, and we
anxiously awaited the completion of our large 6-acre field. With a sigh of relief, our field was completed in early Oct. 2001 and we began the hard process of releasing our pigs out of the pens and into the fields. This is never an easy task since pigs sometimes fight furiously for their position in the herd, so
these first few days were a prelude of what was to come and the beginning of subdividing our new large field
to suit the capabilities and ages of our new family.
Since those early days in 2001 so much has changed. Our facility has grown and we now have a good well and storage for 40,000 gals of water. We hope to have power by this summer, and our staff
continues to grow to meet the growing needs of our pigs. A large herd of pigs arrived from
Pigs*A*Lot in January of 2002, as well as a small herd of less-able pigs from there. These
became our East and West fields. Ben, Donna, and I had volunteered there and some of
those pigs, like my Wilma, were the reason Ironwood became a reality. I had come to love some of the pigs so
much and as Pigs*A*Lot grew to overflowing and more calls came in to take pigs we decided the
only solution was for us to open another sanctuary. Of course this was not the solution nor will it ever
be. The only solution is to stop the breeding, which we try to do every time we have the
Pigs in the East field
Pigs in the West field
The years passed and more homeless pigs arrived and more field
divisions were made. Nineteen arrived from a sanctuary near Phoenix and 7 from a
large Florida rescue. In May of 2003 we purchased the Annex property, previously Pigs*A*Lot, where we had
our beginnings, and our family grew by nearly 90 pigs. In July of 2004 St. Matilda’s was
unable to continue and our family grew by 46, and in September of 2004 the final 30
pigs from Pigs*A*Lot were back home at our Annex.
Pigs from St. Matilda’s
More of the St. Matilda’s rescue
We now have nearly 600 pigs living at our
two facilities. We continue to take in more pigs as we find homes for others and
are making every effort to keep our numbers stable. In all, over these eleven years,
well over 1000 pigs have been a part of Ironwood. Many have gone on to new homes and others have
lived out their lives with us. We have been happy and fortunate to provide them a
safe nurturing environment for the rest of their journey. Our lives are now co-mingled and
we are making the journey together.
Ironwood Pig Sanctuary, PO Box 35490, Tucson, AZ 85740-5490
Please e-mail when you want to visit for confirmation on the day and time and for directions to the sanctuary since we are in a remote location and GPS and mapping programs are not accurate. We generally do tours Saturday mornings at 10am in the winter and 9am in the summer. However, we generally do not do tours during our hottest months of June, July and August. We do not do tours every Saturday so you need to get a confirmation for your visit. Sometimes we can do tours on other days for out of town visitors and for other circumstances. Our Open House for 2014 is Saturday November 8th from 11AM to 3PM.