Safe Sanctuary: After 5 years in Washougal, animal refuge relocating

Odd Man Inn owners take over 'The Pig Preserve' in Tennessee, will become one of nation's biggest animal sanctuaries dedicated to larger pigs

When Jolene, a 600-pound rescue pig, struggled to walk in 2020, Odd Man Inn owners Josh and Wendy Smith reached out Rich Hoyle, who is known in the animal sanctuary industry as "the pig guy." Those initial conversations led to the relocation of the Smiths' animal refuge, Odd Man Inn, from Washougal to Tennessee.

Rich Hoyle, owner of The Pig Preserve animal sanctuary in Jamestown, Tennessee, is retiring and turning over his property to Wendy and Josh Smith, who are relocating their animal refuge, Odd Man Inn, from Washougal. "We are confident that Odd Man Inn will smoothly move The Pig Preserve into the future and we are excited to surrender the care of the animals and the future of the sanctuary into their very capable hands," Hoyle wrote in a Facebook post. (Contributed photo courtesy of Wendy Smith)

Several years ago, Josh Smith and his wife, Wendy Smith, sought a way to help their black labrador retriever named Roswell, who was suffering from fear-based aggression and facing euthanasia.

To provide Roswell with more space, the Smiths moved from their Portland residence to a 4-acre piece of property in rural Washougal. Not long after, their new home turned into a bustling animal refuge and wildlife rehabilitation center called Odd Man Inn, which has helped nearly 400 animals of 15 different species, including pigs, sheep, goats, llamas, donkeys and turtles, find permanent homes since 2016.

“We love helping the underdogs,” Wendy said. “Pigs are the bottom of the barnyard hierarchy and very rarely have safe options. It feels great to run an organization that helps them find safe passage into a home that treats them as family.”

Now, Josh and Wendy hope to achieve similar success on a 93-acre plot of land in Jamestown, Tennessee.

The couple said the move will allow Odd Man Inn to become one of the largest animal sanctuaries in the United States dedicated primarily to larger breeds of farmed pigs.

“This move actually further solidifies our commitment to our mission to help as many animals as possible,” Wendy told the Post-Record. “The step up into a bigger space with more animals comes at great personal sacrifice, but it’s the mission we have devoted ourselves to serving. Our longer-term vision for the future involves helping Odd Man Inn become an economic driver in the small town of Jamestown, while also generating income to fund the sanctuary through volunteer vacations and rentals for folks who can enjoy the beauty of the sanctuary and the animals.”

One of Odd Man Inn’s residents indirectly led the nonprofit organization to its new home. In the summer of 2020, Wendy and Josh noticed that Jolene, a 600-pound rescue pig, was struggling to walk. They reached out to Rich and Laura Hoyle, who have owned and operated The Pig Preserve animal sanctuary in Jamestown for the past 16 years.

“Due to the limited technology for pigs of her size, diagnosing her problem was difficult,” Wendy said. “I reached out literally across the country looking for help, and that led me to Rich, (who) is well known in the animal sanctuary community as the ‘pig guy’. We bonded over the experience with Jolene and discovered that he was looking for successors to his pig sanctuary.”

Rather than moving Hoyle’s 160 pigs to Washougal, the Smiths decided to relocate their entire operation to Tennessee.

“Odd Man Inn serves a mission to help as many animals as possible,” Wendy told the Post-Record. “While we knew we needed a property expansion, we never thought that would coincide with an opportunity to also serve our mission. The animals in Tennessee were in dire need of the next generation of caregivers, without which they would be unlikely to keep their sanctuary home. It just felt like the right thing to do.”

In a March 31 Facebook post, Rich Hoyle wrote that he began to search for “new blood” several years ago, but knew he had “struck gold” after meeting Josh and Wendy.

“Odd Man Inn is a professionally run sanctuary with a solid history of exemplary animal care and a broad, energetic base of support,” Rich, who will stay on the property for the next several months to help with the transition, wrote in his post. “Josh and Wendy share many of the philosophies that are the foundations of The Pig Preserve. We are confident that Odd Man Inn will smoothly move The Pig Preserve into the future, and we are excited to surrender the care of the animals and the future of the sanctuary into their very capable hands.”

The Smiths are set to move more than 100 current Odd Man Inn residents, including 38 pigs and two 1,500-pound steers, to Tennessee.

“We will make as many trips as needed to ensure the animals are comfortable while we transport them to their new sanctuary,” Josh stated in a news release announcing the Washougal sanctuary’s move. “Their comfort and security is always our primary concern.”

To help pay for the safe transportation of their current residents and the restoration of their new home, the Smiths are raising money through a GoFundMe campaign at gofundme.com/oddmaninn.

“Leaving Southwest Washington to start this new chapter of our organization is rather bittersweet, and we are grateful for all the support given to us by the local community,” Wendy said. “The town of Washougal has been the most incredible incubator for a dream such as ours. We’ve learned to work within the community, find ways to serve and build relationships with people from all walks of life. We’re most grateful for the chance we’ve had to make actual friendships with community members who are proud of what we’ve created here together. We’ll always proudly claim Washougal as the ‘birthplace’ of Odd Man Inn.”