LAFAYETTE, Tenn. — At Gracie's Acres pig rescue in rural Middle Tennessee, Susan Swafford has 300 pigs – one of them a very special swine.
Charles the Pig, world-renowned hog, now lives on Swafford's Lafayette farm.
Charles' story begins with the 2016 Gatlinburg wildfires. When his former owner, Rob Holmes and his family, had to evacuate, they didn't have time to take their pet pig Charles with them.
They opened his pen and hoped for the best. The fire destroyed nearly everything they had.
He burrowed himself in the mud and the fire passed over him, burning only spots on his back.
His story went hog wild. Television appearances and a children's picture book followed. Sales of merchandise and the donations helped the Holmes family start rebuilding their home.
But this past March, Swafford said someone found him loose wandering around rental cabins near Sevierville.
Former owner Rob Holmes told 10News Wednesday that he's had a rough year. He just got out jail on drug charges and said Charles has been missing since January or February.
But Charles has chops – and luck.
"I was like there is no way, there is no way," Swafford said.
When her rescue got a call to come pick up a pig, she thought he looked familiar.
"I actually went to the Charles the Pig Facebook page and started comparing pictures," she said.
The pig she rescued was Charles – a 150 plus pound porker with a personality.
"I compare him to a teenage boy that likes to sleep all day," Swafford said.
Now, Charles ruts around for Cheerios and treats just like the old days.
With 300 new friends at Gracie's Acres, this little piggy has found a new home on a rescue farm upstate.
"He's ours. He's a part of our family now. He'll stay with us forever," Swafford said.