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Missionaries Assist at Local Animal Sanctuary

Missionaries and other members of the Hogs and Kisses family. Photo courtesy of Ruth-Anne Speirs.

Hogs and Kisses of Texas, an animal sanctuary in Sanger, takes in all sorts of animals, and was just the place for Hoover, Alexis Selvera’s pig. In 2020, Alexis bought what she thought was a miniature pig as a gift for her mother, Beth. Soon the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the world and around the same time, the family realized that Hoover was going to need more care than they bargained for.

Alexis and Beth spent long hours at home led to training their very intelligent pig just like they had trained their dogs. They named him Hoover because of his skill in vacuuming up any and all crumbs that fell to the floor. The Selveras had to add child-proof locks to their kitchen cabinets because Hoover helped himself to the food inside. “He can sit on command and will do just about any trick for a treat, especially his favorite: peppermint candy,” Alexis explained. The mother and daughter had to watch him carefully because he liked to sneak into the neighbors’ backyard and eat the dog food. 

Alexis, Hoover, and Beth Selvera take a family photo.
(Photo provided by Alexis Selvera)

Hoover thrived with lots of lots and belly rubs, and soon Alexis said she realized that he was too big to be an indoor pet. They knew something needed to change, but they loved Hoover and wanted him to have a safe home. They researched and found the Hogs and Kisses of Texas Animal Sanctuary run by Liz Seibt and Francois DesCotes in Sanger, Texas.

“Once we moved to our new land, things took off and Hogs and Kisses of Texas Animal Sanctuary became our dream. We have spent the last four years cautiously growing, even though there is tremendous pressure to expand because of the need,” Seibt said. “The cost of properly feeding, housing and caring for animals have kept us humble. We have recently become a non-profit organization in hopes that this important mission continues long after we’re gone.”

When asked how she runs her animal sanctuary, Liz explained, “Volunteers are the lifeblood of a non-profit organization. Our biggest impact comes from the involvement of the missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. They have made so many more things possible for us while providing a much needed respite to the caregivers. They are directly responsible for the completion of many crucial projects that benefit the animals in our care.”

Hoover is enjoying his stay at the Hogs and Kisses of Texas Animal Sanctuary. (Photo provided by Hogs and Kisses of Texas Facebook Page)

Hogs and Kisses currently houses 29 mini pigs, 20 chickens, five ducks, five dogs, five cats, three three Sulcata tortoises and three mini donkeys.

When asked about serving at Hogs and Kisses, Elder Kwincy Dye, a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said, “The phrase that comes to mind is from ‘Winnie the Pooh.’ ‘We didn’t realize we were making memories. We just knew we were having fun’,” he said. “That quote sums up my experience there working with them. I think about it daily. I grew a lot as a missionary on that farm.”

Elder Wyatt Petersen, another missionary who serves at Hogs and Kisses, said, “I love being able to go work with Liz and Francois. They are such great people and love the animals so much. It’s always fun being able to go help out with anything from building sheds to preparing food for the animals. As missionaries, we don’t have many chances to go work on a farm, so every chance we get is a great mental break.”

And what about Hoover? Alexis happily reports that Hoover is thriving at well over 200 pounds. He is now acting more like a pig, but he still loves his belly rubs and peppermint candy. 

Visit Hogs and Kisses of Texas for more information about the organization.