It started with the pot-bellied pig fad in the late 1980’s, and how I thought it’d be fun to have a little piggy running around the house. I contacted a breeder in Burbank who was raising them for the movie studios, and made arrangements to meet one of the pigs at my mom’s house.
The piggy was so cute, but not cute enough at $850.
Back home in Penngrove, I was told of a guy in Vacaville who happened to have part wild boar/domestic piglets for sale for a mere $25. The piglets were so tiny, weighing about 2½ pounds each. I was told they would probably never get very big, so we returned home with our new house companion, whom we named Pork Chop.
I had a child’s playpen all ready for Pork Chop’s arrival. Naturally, she promptly jumped out of the playpen. Seeing that she didn’t like this setup, I tried to secure her in the pen by pinning a sheet to the top.
That didn’t stop her, either.
About this time, my stepson came home and threw a fit at having a pig in the house.
“You’re turning this house into a barn!” he exclaimed.
OK. On to Plan B. We set up a spot in the barn for Pork Chop, which worked out really well … for a while.
Then came time for the Penngrove 4th of July parade.
I decided to enter Pork Chop into the parade, as she was halter broken, was tame, and people loved her. My biggest fear was that she might go after a child with candy (you know how pigs love to eat), but she didn’t. After the parade, because it was so hot, I allowed her part of one beer, which she promptly finished.
No more after that, as I didn’t want a drunk pig on my hands.
Pork Chop was growing and needed a larger pen, with a shelter, so we set one up. Since pigs don’t perspire, they need mud to roll in, so I bought her a child’s swimming pool, which she immediately found refreshing. All was going well, and Pork Chop was thriving, gaining weight ... eventually climbing to around 200 lbs. So much for her staying small!
One day, Pork Chop managed to escape her pen and high-tailed it to a strawberry patch half-mile away. Fortunately, we were able to herd her back, but it cost me a flat tire in doing so.
Pork Chop could be moody, but always loved to eat. When she was about six years old, she suddenly quit eating. The vet didn’t know what could be wrong, but gave me some pills to hopefully stimulate her appetite. The first one went down just fine. The second pill I had to hide in an apple and a Fig Newton. She’d eat the apple and Fig Newton, then spit out the pill. Nothing worked. It was useless. After a month of not eating, she’d lost considerable weight.
One morning, we had the vet over to pregnancy check our cows. I was going to have Pork Chop put down afterwards. Suddenly, a stranger came rushing in to the barn asking, “Does anyone here have a red pig? She’s out near the road eating grass.”
PETALUMA PET STORIES
In this semi-regular series, Petalumans tell the true tales of their beloved pets (and even some not-so-beloved pets), from hitchhiking dogs to talkative birds. Have you got a great story about a pet you’ve known and loved? Drop a suggestion with the basic details to David Templeton at email@example.com. Please include contact info, and maybe even a photo. If we like what we see, your Petaluma Pet Story could be the next to appear in these pages.