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Potbelly Pig Paintings Popular with Art Lovers

12/28/2021

The Bonellis just wanted some acreage in Southwest Colorado. Five years later, Mutiny Ranch is a retirement home for elderly, unwanted animals, supported, in part, by pig-snout paintings. By Deborah Uroda. Sponsored by Big-O Tires and Choice Building Supply Ace Hardware

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Lynn and Clark Bonelli spent four years in an RV, traveling the country to find a permanent place to settle. When they finally discovered their piece of paradise in Southwest Colorado, little did they know that five years later they'd be sharing their three acre ranch with more than a dozen elderly rescue dogs, cats, goats, and a couple of painting pigs. You're watching the "Local News Network" brought to you by Big O Tires and Choice Building Supply ACE Hardware. I'm Wendy Graham Settle. Among the more unusual works of art on exhibit at the new zoo gallery in downtown Cortez are a series of snout art watercolors created by a pair of potbelly pigs named Fletcher and Mia Meaty. They're residents at the Bonelli family's Mutiny Ranch, a small piece of countryside in McElmo canyon.

So, Mutiny Ranch is just our little homestead kind of, and it's evolved into what we like to call the home for wayward animals. And now it's just that, it's become like a little rescue sanctuary for a few animals. It's a small piece of property. So we can't take a bunch of animals in, unfortunately. So we try to do some of our help outside of the ranch, as far as like getting animals into better situations.

The Bonellis didn't set out to own a rescue ranch, let alone a pair of snout painting pigs. It all started nine years ago when the two took early retirement from their jobs in California and hit the road in an RV to see the country, and eventually to find a permanent place to settle. Four years later on their way to visit Hoven Weep, the Bonellis drove down McElmo Canyon Road and discovered the perfect three acre property on McElmo Creek with the views of Trail Canyon and Ute Mountain. That was in 2016, and the animals soon followed.

I just found out that I had this really big soft spot for animals, and they reached out to me with a potbelly pig baby, like a young one. And the conversation was basically, "Hey, do you want a potbelly pig or he's going in the freezer, because he's causing damage at our house." And of course, like I said, the soft spot was the, "Yeah, I'll take this potbelly pig."

Next came a geriatric donkey whose herd of goats were decimated by a mountain lion and his family worried that he'd be next. A miniature horse trotted onto the ranch with another potbelly pig to follow. Soon the Bonellis found themselves either adopting or finding homes for unwanted livestock from around the county.

We now have four dogs, four cats, we have a miniature horse, two donkeys, a llama, two potbelly pigs, two rescue turkeys, and let's see, a handful of chickens. And I think, I don't think I'm missing anybody. Oh, and a goat. One goat.

Bonelli discovered that her pigs could paint when she received an activities package that included canvases and non-toxic snout paints to entertain her porcine pets. Bonelli sells the customized works of snout art for about $25 each, while Clark builds and sells whimsical birdhouses. Proceeds from the two ventures only partially cover the cost of feed and other expenses related to their defacto rescue mission, so they also accept donations. Bonelli eventually wants to incorporate Mutiny Ranch as a nonprofit, but for now she's content to work with other animal rescue organizations to find homes for unwanted livestock. Although it seems potbelly pigs have become her primary stock in rescues.

I think it's partially because there's such a misperception about them. A lot of people advertise these potbelly pigs as miniature pigs or teacup pigs, and they sell these tiny little babies and then people realize after a few short months or a year that this teacup piglets now 150 pounds and destroying their home or their yard.

You can purchase Mutiny Ranch pig snout paintings, or bird houses at the zoo gallery on main street in Cortez, or online at TalesFromTheMutiny.com. Thanks for watching this edition of the "Local News Network." I'm Wendy Graham Settle.

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