I don’t know anything about pigs. I’ve always wanted chickens but never a pig. My neighbor, Mr. Golf Cart, got a free pig. It happened years ago, before he got his golf cart. It was his job to feed his daughter’s dog while she was on summer vacation. The daughter lives next door to him just as I live next door to my parents. One morning, he ambled out to the dog pen to feed the chow and there in the pen right beside the dog was a very young Vietnamese potbellied pig, about a foot long, all black. Most pot-bellied pigs grow to the size of a medium or large breed dog. They differ from other pig breeds by their size, upright ears, and straight tail.
At this point, I should probably tell you about Mr. Golf Cart. He operates as the neighborhood’s social butterfly, making house calls in his golf cart, checking to make sure everyone is okay. Of course, if you are worried that you haven’t seen someone for a few days, well, um, Mr. Golf Cart is the guy you gonna call. He’s rather laid back with a very dry sense of humor. The pig in the dog pen raised only one of his eyebrows and he mumbled something like “Isn’t that neat?”
Mr. Golf Cart’s daughter loves animals and took on the upkeep of the pig. The male dog and the female pig shared the same pen with the pig thinking of the dog as its mother. As time went on, they tried to keep the pig in the pen but she would have none of that and regularly broke out. Why she didn’t like the pen is a mystery since she sleeps most of the time and the pen would afford some protection. To contain the pig, Mr. Golf Cart installed an electric fence and she has roamed the yard ever since. Her “house” is a tent fashioned over a PVC frame with a pine straw bed beneath the tent. She has another pile of pine straw at the front corner of the daughter’s house.
I emailed Mr. Golf Cart to get a date on his social calendar so that I could take a photograph of Piggie. He came to fetch me in his golf cart for the photo shoot but I could have walked the five acres to the front of his property. It’s not like I don’t need the exercise but a free ride is a free ride.
Right off the bat, I felt the need to “discuss” Piggie’s name. I wanted to know why he and his daughter named the pig by its genus. I argued that you don’t name a dog, Dog or a cat, Cat. So why didn’t they get slightly more creative and name the pig Bacon, Porkchop, Hambone or some other body part? I don’t recall his excuse, probably because the name Piggie is beyond excuse.
I asked if they took Piggie to the vet and how did they get her in the car? Mr. Golf Cart pointed out a cage in the yard. He puts the cage in the trailer and encourages Piggie to load up. This happens every three months at $300 a visit but I’ve never once witnessed it and my living room windows face his back yard.
When we arrived, Mr. Golf Cart hopped out of the cart and thundered Piggie’s name like an old-time auctioneer, “Piggie Piggie Piggie!” I’ll have to admit that Piggie probably rolls off the tongue a lot easier than Bacon, Hambone or Porkchop when strung together in threes. Piggie lumbered out of her straw bed in front of the house and came to see what all the commotion was about but she was Not Happy. I guess she got up on the wrong side of the straw because I got absolutely no cooperation on the up-close face shot I wanted.
Piggie is now about 110 pounds, has ruled the yard for 16 years and waddles over to Mr. Golf Cart’s house every morning for a dog biscuit. I asked about funny stories regarding Piggie and Mr. Golf Cart had two. A few years into pig ownership, one of the neighbors asked him where he got the pig because they had lost a small pig two years earlier. Mr. Golf Cart asked, “Do you want the pig back?” but the neighbor declined. The other story involved the U.S. Postal Service. It seems they do not make their appointed rounds under every condition. The mail lady left a note in the mailbox that she couldn’t deliver a package because of a vicious pig in the yard.
A few weeks later, I snuck up on Piggie and shot the photo while she was asleep. The camera click must have startled her because she jumped out of bed and ran. Once again, I aimed for a face shot but she would grunt a warning if I came too close. Since Mr. Golf Cart wasn’t around, I wasn’t about to push my luck given that this was the second time my photo shoot had interrupted her beauty sleep. Since I had her to myself, and was still bothered by her name, I asked about name preferences but got only a noncommittal grunt. This was surprising given how females, in general, love to talk. Isn’t it a male complaint that once you get a female talking you can’t get her to shut up?
I hope I asked all the questions you would have asked but if I didn’t, you can leave your question in the Comments section and I’ll forward your questions by email.