When my wife & I decided that we needed another pet we had different opinions. I wanted a dog, she did not! Period.
She pointed out that we had 2 loving cats, already. I pointed out that, even though they behaved more like dogs than cats, I needed a pet that was a little less aloof. In fairness, our cats, Gizmo & MJ, are unconditionally loving, do incredibly goofy things, and beg for food. I believe they have no feline role models to imitate, and , therefore are forced to behave like the dogs on TV. Yes, we spend a lot of time with our pets!
My wife glibly suggested a pig. She's from Texas. What a stupid thing to say - a pig! We live in Florida. A pig, hah!
So, ten minutes later I'm on the computer looking at piglets. Cute enough to melt the toughest heart! I had never seen a 'Pot Bellied' pig. Over the next few days I educated myself about this absolutely ridiculous animal. There is no shortage of information about them on the Internet. And, no shortage of horror stories from people who thought it would make a great pet.
From stories about biting, charging, and uncontrollable behavior to pleas for help from people who bought an 8 pound piglet and now had a 300 pound monster. So many people have to get rid of their pigs that there are sanctuaries all over the place taking them in. Worse, many more are being euthanized! So, here it was, we were not going to get a pet that we would have to give up later. No way.
But, they are so damn cute. I kept going back to 'pig' websites. I came to some conclusions about why people had so many problems. I figured that, being educated and patient, we could handle any animal. We had forethought.
Dawn, my wife, and I sat down and seriously discussed what would happen if it got too big for our house; what would we do if it were mean. We made a commitment to see it through, no matter what! I set off to buy a Pot Bellied Pig - hah.
By this time, I am an expert in pig info and quickly found a qualified breeder in Texas. After seeing pictures of 8 adorable pigs, one caught our eye. He was grey, with a white triangle on his forehead. He looked like trouble. She explained that he was 8 weeks old and had a little longer to wean. He had to be fixed before she would ship him to us. In 2 weeks we would pick up our new baby at the airport.
For the next 2 weeks we read everything we could find on the care, nutrition, and training of pigs. Here are some basics: They are very smart; they are easily house broken; they are very clean animals; they don't have dander or smell bad. We couldn't believe we hadn't gotten one before this!
The common mistake that I had read about was that people fed their pig like they would a dog - 2 meals a day plus treats whenever they begged. This was how you got a very big, mean pig - fast! Food is EVERYTHING to a pig. They will do anything to get it. If the pig thinks he can manipulate you and get it, he will. All of the biting and bad behavior that we read about related back to food. I've trained a lot of dogs; I had this licked before he got off the plane.
Palm Beach International Airport has certainly seen its share of celebrities, presidents, and socialites. But, I am confident few pigs have come through its well coiffed concourses. We were very curious to see how this would go.
We drove an hour to the airport to retrieve our adopted child on the appointed day. We parked in the express parking because we figured he wouldn't have much luggage. We were almost running by the time we found the right place.
Coincidentally, the place to pick up pigs is also the same place to report or claim your lost luggage. A half a dozen people were in line in front of us, alternately complaining and then berating the harried clerk behind the counter. It was an ugly scene for the next 30 minutes as we got closer to the desk. The line behind us grew. The clerk was a passive-aggressive, condescending, airline professional. Unflappable.
'I'm here to pick up a pig.' I announced proudly. The room was suddenly silent. 'What?' the clerk barked. I gave him my shipping receipt. He walked slowly to the back, in search of a pig.
'I bet that's the first time you've ever said that.' The eighty-year old man next to me remarked. 'No sir,' I replied, dead-pan 'I grew up here.' the room erupted into laughter. The scowls briefly went away.
The clerk arrived with a pet carrier that one of our cats wouldn't fit into. Squinting through the holes I could just make out a nose. Yep, that's our pig. Off we went with appropriate oohs and ahhs from our new supporters wishing us well!!
We got back to the care as fast as we could, eager to hold our newest addition. Dawn couldn't wait to be the heroine to rescue our little pig after the terrifying experience of having surgery and then taking the plane trip.
We got in the car, our very small car, and I set the carrier on my lap. Then I took the top off, so I could get a grip of the little guy. He was so cute that it brought a tear to my eye. He was 8 pounds of nose!
Now, 2 things are important to understand about Pigs. First, all of the sayings like, 'squeal like a pig' and 'that actor is such a ham' are based in reality and accurate. And, more importantly in this case, pigs have a gland like a skunk and, when they get truly scared, they will emit an odor similar to elephant urine.
As I grab our yet to be named piggy from his crate, he simultaneously starts squealing (like a pig) at the top of his lungs like we are stabbing him and hits me with his own personal stink bomb. Without saying a word I handed this thing to my wife. After a few minutes, in a blanket on her lap, he calmed down enough for me to drive home. The trauma and the smell of these few minutes evaporated when I rolled down my window to pay for the parking.
The kid taking money looked at me like I was handing a him a pile of poop. His eyes were watering from my new musk, but he looked down at my wife's lap and asked, 'Is that a pig?' I couldn't help but like him, even through the tears he smiled at our little lump of nose.
To read the rest of this wonderfully funny story please visit us at the Pigs4Ever story page.