Pigs are famously happy creatures – and never more so when they are sharing the company of others.
So when a sudden separation occurs, it can create an air of sadness – and that is very much what is being experienced by one animal at Munlochy Animal Aid.
Pippa the pig is in mourning following the death of Gerty, her much-loved companion of three years.
>> Keep up to date with the latest news with The P&J newsletter
Now the search is on for a new companion for the Highland sow in the hope of helping her to enjoy life once again.
Iona Nicol, who started the sanctuary operation in 1978, said: “She is one very unhappy pig at the moment and it is heartbreaking for us to witness.
“Gerty just died so suddenly, we believe because of a heart condition. She was so much fun, but then she was gone.
“It happened very quickly.”
She added: “Pippa is very upset and is not eating at all, which is not good. They do say pigs have personalities and that was the case here.
“We are very keen to find a new companion for Pippa, but it has to be another female pig.”
Pippa was found abandoned near the Forth Road Bridge a few years ago and has been the life and soul of the animal sanctuary ever since she arrived.
But she has been off her food and has lost her zest for life over the past couple of weeks since Gerty died.
Buying another pig is not an option because it would go against the ethos of Munlochy Animal Aid, which is to give a home to creatures in need.
In their natural surroundings, pigs are known to be highly sociable and protective animals who can form close bonds with each other and often lead complex social lives.
They are also known to enjoy a bit of fun, whether wallowing to keep cool, listening to music, playing with a ball or even getting a massage.
Munlochy Animal Aid, which is based on the Black Isle, can be contacted on 01463 811722.