Pigs are great. So great that people will do anything to save one from an otherwise unknown fate....that speaks volumes about any species. Pigs are very special, they have human-like feelings and will cry if their feelings are hurt much like a person would. Pigs don't make the greatest indoor pets though. We all see them glamorized everyday and celebrities getting these little pigs and people excited to get their piglet or waiting anxiously at the airport for their arrival....I often wonder, do they know what they're getting themselves into? Sometimes yes, sometimes (and more often) no. That's sad that people do more research to pick out a television than they do before they get a pet to add to their family. If my tv wasn't everything it was said to be, would I get rid of it? Would I ask someone else to pay for my tv because I no longer had time to watch it? Or would I just let it sit there collecting dust and be obsolete the next time I used it? Well for me personally, I take my obligations seriously, at least now I do. I was once one of those people who ran out and got a pig on a whim with absolutely no research, there was no FB at the time and I knew nothing about pig rescue or how to spot a shady breeder, all I wanted to do was fill the selfish want and did it. I got my pig. It was a disaster from day 1.
I looked online for local people with pigs for sale and found one, about 45 minutes away from me. Stopped by the bank, grabbed some money and was off to buy my piglet. I was told to give him sweet feed and was handed a baggy full of that. He was around a month old and was no longer nursing from his mama. I watched as she "caught" this scared little baby as he ran around a small outside pen, ultimately I was heartbroken watching him fear for his life, but again, my selfish side had to had him. I wrap him up like a baby and drive home holding him in my lap. I get home and he runs away from me....well, he obviously likes to run, he did the same thing at the breeders house. Luckily for me, he won't get any bigger than 45lbs....not nearly as big as this little tiny pigs mama who I saw....she was skinny but a much bigger pig than what I paid for. He has all kinds of open areas, scratching himself on anything he possibly can and as soon as I walk close to him, he takes off. I wonder what I am doing wrong?
Day 2....the baby, we playfully named Porkchop, wouldn't eat dinner last night and now he won't eat breakfast either. I called the breeder who told me sometimes they just take a few days and he will be fine. Don't worry about the open sores, he must've been cut up in his outside enclosure trying to escape. This little baby loves belly rubs, so I am now a self proclaimed expert at making him tip over. My kids have met him, he will now come to me, especially if I have human food....guess it's true, the way to any mans heart is food.
Day 3....what have I gotten myself into? This dang pig is peeing everywhere, he finds a spot and just pees, he doesn't go in a litterbox like I was told and my carpet is starting to smell like someone may have died in my house. (I did invest in a carpet cleaning machine by day 3) still no eating....refuses to eat this mixture of stuff that was given to me. So I made him some human food. Oatmeal to be exact, and I added in some vanilla yogurt just to be sure he was getting enough to eat. Yay! He loves it and is eating that mixture twice a day. (I go out and buy all the instant oatmeal I can find)
Day 4....he is still scratching himself on anything he can find and now I am all itchy....my kids are complaining that their arms are itchy occasionally too....he loves the food, so finally we've done something right....whew. He's warming up a little to us now. He will now willingly come to me, usually it's because I'm eating something and he wants a bite. He does this really cute thing where he picks up my feet as I'm making his food....like telling me to hurry up. We video it and laugh and laugh showing all our friends and neighbors our cute little porkchop.
Day 5....nothing eventful, he's still a playful little fella, stinky urine, but now we've closed in a spot in our back yard so we can take him out. We have to carry him because the area we made a makeshift pen isn't right outside the back door. Luckily our neighbor has a dog and can keep an eye on little porkchop. We never leave him out though alone, scared someone would come steal him. Everyone just loves him and loves to come over and watch him pee on the carpet while completely ignoring our calls for him to come to us.
Day 6....this is where it starts to get interesting. Porkchop is still playful and still has a lot of open sores, so I call a vet and the sweet man on the phone says they'll actually come to my house if I need them to....porkchop is small enough, so I make an appointment for later that afternoon and take him in. Well, good and bad news. Good news is that his sores are due to the fact he has mites....better news is that there is medicine that can treat that and he won't have them anymore. Bad news is now I have to go to my MD and let him know that I have a pet pig and he was diagnosed with mites and now me and my family need to be treated for scabies....SCABIES! I was humiliated to call and make an appointment. I am in the medical field, so I know whatever treatment you get is now a part of your permanent medical record and now I will look like some dirty person with nasty kids who has a dirty house and doesn't keep things clean....luckily for me, my primary care physicians first degree was actually animal science....he was a vet before he transitioned to human medicine. Not only did he understand and sympathize with my situation, but now he wants me to bring porkchop to the office to meet him and his staff. How fun is that? (After we've all recovered from our "illness" of course) Later on I do find out that these mites won't actually live on people, but can cause some itchiness for a few days, as i said it was later, like 5 years later I found this out, but nonetheless, lesson learned. (Me or my family never had scabies, but, scabies are a mite, just not the same mite that pigs get. We would've gotten better with or without treatment because they wouldn't have been able to reproduce and would die off, we sorta jumped the gun as far as going to the doctor was concerned.)
Let's fast forward to around day 14....now porkchop is acting right, he's eating his oatmeal and yogurt, every single bite of it and has been for a couple of weeks now, but now he isn't walking right, he's falling down and unable to get up. Immediately called my vet. He rushes over to my house and spends the next 3 hours educating me on pigs. When I say I knew nothing, I literally mean nothing. I've had a pet pig for 2 weeks now and have no idea what I've gotten myself into. Well after he consults with a vet from another state, he believes he now knows what is wrong with my baby. He is basically malnourished. He isn't getting the vitamins he needs from oatmeal and yogurt. Duh. He needs pig food. He doesn't know exactly where I can get it, but I should check online. So I do. And I find a little mom and pop shop about 40 minutes away and they have a bag of pig feed. Thank God! After he gets done with the question/answer seminar he had no idea he was entering, I rush out and buy pig food.
Day 18....I am doing everything short of cramming this pig feed down this pigs mouth to get him to eat it. He is not a fan, but I found that wetting it and mixing it in with his oatmeal and yogurt seems to do the trick. I am feeding him as much as he will eat. I can see his strength is getting better and his endurance is also improving. Awesome.
Day 21....porkchop is running! I have tears in my eyes as I watch my baby run through the yard, making an odd barking noise, I take a video and send it to everyone who has been texting me to check and see if he's doing any better. Looks like we are finally on the right track....
Skipping to day 45....porkchop is a hog for real. His weight exploded as he's been eating so much....it's cute how he begs for food while we eat. He used to be able to fit under the dining room chairs, but now he's way to big to do that. He loves playing with our chihuahuas though, they run and chase after eachother....the dogs don't like it when porkchop tries to eat their food though, but otherwise, porkchop isn't much different than them. He's not the friendliest animal we've ever had, but if he wants a belly rub, he will literally fall down beside you so he's in a better spot for you to be able to accommodate him. Needless to say, what was cute at 20lbs was no longer cute at his size now. He was able to bully us into giving him food, he would bite if you didn't comply with what he wanted. He would turn chairs over and move furniture routinely. We started calling this poltergeisting....(definition of poltergeisting: when your furniture moves around "on its' own" when it is close to meal time for pigs.)
Moving on to about the 3rd month, his urine is really stinky. My vet suggested that I have him neutered and that will help not only with the awful smelling urine, but also with the humping. This pig will mount anything he can jump up on. The kids, chairs, my bedspread that fell on the floor, his favorite was a stuffed animal dolphin. Guess he's not that selective. LOL. Because I am in the medical field, I know how hormones work. I know diferent hormones are secreted and perform different functions in the body...so I know having him neutered will help with that. I will say, this pig is nothing like the cute baby we first got, he is nothing like a dog, he LOVES to eat and that's about it. He's not very loving, but he loves to be outside.....the makeshift pen we originally made him is useless now, he just lifts up the cheap fencing we put down and wanders around the back yard. (We have a moderately good sized yard, a couple of acres, only a small part has been cleared and we lived on a fairly busy road, directly behind us is the interstate, and a major one at that, interstate 64) so he enjoys feasting on his finds in the backyard, mostly acorns and crab apples that have fallen from the tree....and mounting anything that doesn't move out of his way. But overall, we love him very much and will make whatever changes are necessary to make it work. His neuter appointment is approaching fast, but he needs some vaccinations and a routine check up beforehand, so he has an appointment to be checked out later this week.
A couple of days later.....we arrive at the vet. Porkchop is now too big to ride shotgun and is limited to the back seat of my BMW. Naturally he poops everywhere and the seats are heated and cooled, so now there is the overwhelming poop smell whenever I open the doors. Ugh gross. The vet is preparing for porkchops neuter next week and gives him a tetnus shot, rabies (although used off label) and a couple of other shots to prevent common illnesses in pigs. My vet is a doctor of animal medicine, so I trust him, he knows what he's doing. The following morning the blood work came back and porkchop has a problem with his liver. Worse news ever. Neuter is on hold until we can figure out what is wrong with him. He's eating good, gained about 60lbs over the last couple of months, has the cutest fattest cheeks you've ever seen. Walking fine, everything else looks good. Only now his urine not only stinks, but it's also kind of a brown color. The vet is coming to my house tomorrow, so he will check him out then.
The next day, the vet comes back to my house to draw some additional blood work. Porkchop isn't what you would call a pig that's interested in what you want to do, porkchop is more like the king of the house. So the vet didn't really have a lot of luck holding him down and trying to draw blood. Porkchop was a bit of a biter too. He hated water, wouldn't let you near his mouth or eyes. So he always looked dirty, but again, we loved this pig so much, we didn't care. While the vet was there, he watched Porkchop is his own surroundings and watched him go through the XXXL dog door we had installed for him and right out to the oak trees....them the vet called his consultant friend and came back to me and said, he can't eat acorns. Acorns will make him fat and sick. When eaten in limitless amounts like he's doing, they can be bad on the liver. so, elevated liver enzymes combined with the brown colored urine is all a result of him eating acorns? Really??
Fast forward to the weekend....I had a fence building party with my friends. I bought all the supplies and had some of my friends come over and help me build a fence...a fenced in area that didn't include the area where the acorns were. They were about ankle deep at this point, one big giant acorn tree was to the left of the property, so we were going to try our best at sectioning off a part of the yard that still gave him room to play and run, while keeping him out of the acorns.
By the next weekend, we had it done. Took much longer than we thought and it costed a lot more money than I had anticipated too. Another two weeks go by and his urine is now clear again, still stinks but clear. The vet feels like it is safe to neuter now and draws one more set of blood work. Liver tests come back ok, the liver enzymes have decreased and are back within a normal range. Woohoo! We are around 5 months now and Porkchop is finally being neutered.
On the day of his neuter, the vet tech wasn't available, so my vet asked me if I wanted to scrub in. SUPER EXCITING!! I had scrubbed in many surgeries and was very familiar with sterility and how general surgeries went. I really didn't assist in much, they had a wooden box they made for pigs that they used for neuters that put them in an anatomically correct position for the neuter. Porkchop was fat and didn't fit in it like others would, so I held his head (which got very heavy near that end) and handed instruments to the surgeon....By this point, we had built a litterbox that was as long as him, in the front we had a section for his food and water because I've noticed that he pees when he's drinking. At one point, it was funny....it's not funny anymore. The carpet in his room has to be ripped up and replaced with tile. It was our laundry room, but a good sized room, actually bigger than my daughters bedroom to be honest.
Porkchop was the talk of the town. We are the ONLY ones who have a pig around my area. He's still not very friendly and will bite you if you try to remove the crust from his eyes, he's had a couple of baths, but as soon as I try to clean his face, he bites and his teeth are sharp and it hurts. I'm slightly scared of him and I think he knows it.
6 months after getting Porkchop....the mounting of objects has stopped. He still pees whenever he wants, but he is only allowed in the main house when we are home or can watch him. He's a destructive guy, he's eaten part of the wall in his room, he's broken the baby gate that separates his room from the kitchen. He's learned that cabinets contain food, so now all the cabinets have childproof locks. I remodeled my kitchen (and by remodel, I mean that I gutted it down to the 2x4's and completely redid it, new everything, cabinets, appliances, even new Sheetrock.) Now my brand new stainless steel refrigerator that I haven't even finished paying for has holes drilled in it because this A-hole pig keeps breaking into it and eating everything in site. We mainly laugh at it and try our best to control it.
6 months and a couple of days....our house was broken into not long before we got Porkchop, so I had an alarm installed. We were close to the city, but considered agriculturally zoned, why someone would want to break into my house was beyond me, but I wanted to make sure we were safe. One day while I was working, the alarm people called and the house alarm was going off. Here we go again, my main thought was praying Porkchop was ok. The kids were at school and I didn't have anything anyone would want, but my house was accessible while hidden from the main road, so it was an easy target. My job requires I travel a lot locally, so I was there before the police. Thank God I had an alarm and the house alarm started blasting and I could only imagine that poor Porkchop was scared to death or worse, gone. I am one of those people who believe in the right to carry a firearm and having a concealed weapons permit allows me to carry a gun in my vehicle, so I grabbed my gun and proceeded to go inside the house. I called the police back and let them know I went ahead inside even though they told me not to, but honestly, I was more concerned with my pig and his well-being than anything else. What if they hurt him, what if someone broke in to steal him (they would've brought him back I'm sure) but a million things were racing through my head. Embarrassingly enough, Porkchop was the one who set off the alarm and the police were in route. When I walked in, all I saw was a mess. Even more embarrassing was letting the police come in to verify that yes, there really was a pig there that triggered the alarm and see the HUGE mess he made. When they called dispatch to clear the call, they stated there was a pig in the house, the dispatch chuckled and said we know you're there and they proceeded to laugh and explain they meant a "real pig".... now everyone wanted a picture with big ole Porkchop and luckily, he was full from everything he had eaten and just laid there and allowed them all to touch all over him and take pictures laying beside him. Good times. We cleaned until almost midnight that night, that dang pig had literally pulled everything out of the cabinets, breaking one in the process, tore all the labels from all the cans, so I had no idea what was in any of the cans...we later used that as a game of what are we having with dinner tonight? Could be peaches, could be peas....
8 months...we've settled in with Porkchop and he really is the boss of us all. He loves one of our chihuahuas and they sleep beside eachother every night. They tolerate eachother well, (although it is extremely dangerous to put dogs and pigs together and I don't recommend anyone try their luck at that) Porkchop is well over 100lbs at this point and still growing. But all in all, were doing good. The vet has become number one on my speed dial. If Porkchop has a runny nose, I called the vet, if Porkchop wasn't acting right, I called the vet. He's visited my house so much, that now he knows where the hidden key is, the alarm password and doesn't even mandate that I be home for him to come see Porkchop. He is very familiar with him and doesn't usually need to actually lay eyes on him now. I will share a couple of things I called the urgently on and now I feel foolish, but all in all, it made me the person I am today. Once I called them because he had holes in his legs....both front legs. I couldn't believe it, he must have some parasite or gotten into something and now has a flesh eating bacteria. The vet looked it over and agreed he had multiple abscesses and gave me an antibiotic spray and suggested that I clean them daily and keep the ointment and spray on the actual wounds until they've healed. (This was one of the other vets in the practice, not my usual vet who was away on vacation) needless to say, when he returned and saw I had been in the clinic and saw that my pig was diagnosed with some mysterious flesh eating infection, he made a call to his pig vet friend and found the holes in both front legs are simply scent glands and they're not abscesses and no treatment is needed at all...matter of fact, he suggested that I leave them alone period. Another time I called them. Porkchop was squealing and seemed to be in excruciating pain, he wasn't able to walk without falling down and I just knew there was a serious problem, my vet came out and said I don't think we're equipped to deal with this, you may need to take him to a specialist. The specialist was about 5 hours away, in another state. So again, he called his friend who was a pig vet and she suggested that it may be dippity pig syndrome...what?!? Now my pig has have rare genetic disorder, I've already spent an enormous amount of money on vet bills, I don't know what I'm going to do now. So he and I look up that disorder and are relieved to know it's short lived, not life threatening and Porkchop will make a full recovery. And again, she was right....he did experience this several more times throughout his short little life, but now, I felt like the dippity pig expert. By this point in me and my vets relationship, I had done extensive research about pigs and was no longer leaning on them for every little thing, he knew if I called, there was truly an emergency. He actually started having other people that were interested in getting a pet pig call me first so they would know what to expect. I was no expert, and although I hadn't been a pig mama for long, I had a lot to offer.
9 months....this pig is huge! 125lbs now and only 9 months old. Wow. And he wasn't supposed to be any bigger than a beagle. Hahaha. Biggest joke ever. Anyways, moving along, Porkchop was having some difficulty urinating. Again, because I am in the medical field, I notice subtle things. I have noticed that he hasn't peed in the last 8 hours....gave him more water, perhaps he's dehydrated....no pee. I call my vet, he is alittle concerned about a possible bladder rupture, porkchops belly is rigid and not soft and squishy like it usually is. Now, to add insult to injury, he is hunching over and trying to poop and nothing. Nothing is coming out, he acts fine though, doesn't seem like there's an obstruction, he doesn't seem to be in pain and the vet is already on his way. Well, he was on his way and had another emergency that trumped mine, so since Porkchop wasn't in a life threatening situation, he will come by later. I watch this poor pig try and try to poop and pee and nothing ever comes out. I put on some gloves and use Vaseline to make sure he's not impacted, I get a few balls of poop out, but clearly his bowels aren't functioning correctly, it's just not coming out for whatever reason. The vet arrives and I can see he is really concerned. He walks back to his truck and calls his friend and tells me, well, we are definitely not equipped to deal with this. We don't have the surgical equipment needed, we don't have the right anesthesia or monitoring equipment for Porkchop. I can send you to a specialist or I can euthanize him. He explained that some people didn't want to waste their money on their pigs, some people just didn't have it to spend and some people felt like that was the most humane thing to do....I explained that he knew me better than to ever suggest euthanizing Porkchop and that I would get a second mortgage on my house before I would let anything happen to my baby. This was around 1pm that day. He gave me the address and name of a clinic one state over in North Carolina. They were potbelly pig specialists and would be able to help him. That's all I wanted, for him to have a place to go to get better or have surgery, whatever was necessary to make him better. Porkchop hadn't been in the car very much since he was a baby, and the times he was put in the car, he was given shots or had blood drawn or lost his manhood, so, my little BMW was not a place he wanted to be. An hour later after chasing him around the yard, I finally muster up all the strength I have left, wipe my tears and stop at my mamas house to grab her GPS and we are in the way to the specialist. They close at 5 and its a 5 hour trip. I call my work and tell them I've had an emergency and won't be in the next day or and would be taking off the rest of that day. Everyone knows how much I love this pig and I tell them the truth, Porkchop is sick and I'm having to take him to a pig specialist in NC.
Well I can hardly drive because I'm so scared and upset. I don't know what's going on, I don't know how I am going to pay for it, I don't even know how much money is available on my credit cards, I am overwhelmed, I'm super emotional, I call my mom to get the kids off the bus and make sure they were ok and I would keep them updated. Fast forward to 8pm, calls back and forth to the vets office we were headed to, the stupid GPS was apparently set to avoid highways, therefore it took almost 7 hours to get there on all back roads, everyone is calling asking how he's doing, he's still slumped over trying to poop in my backseat, I am still crying and with each turn this stupid GPS is making me do, I can see him getting sicker, causing me to panic even more and by the time we get there, I am an emotional wreck. I have mascara running down my cheeks and I am just a mess. Luckily he has his harness on, but it's going to be a challenge getting him inside the office. They have some men there who are willing to brave the A-hole pig I have and risk being bit and get him out of the car. He willingly walks into the office, much to my surprise. The vet will keep him, they're expecting him to be there for the week. They want 1000.00 up front. On my way to the vet, I called my credit card company and had my limits raised. Thank God I have good credit. They brought him back immediately and started their workup. I was more in the way than I was helpful. I explained what was going on and as much as it broke my heart to leave him there, I had kids I needed to tend to. I paid them, gave my tearful goodbye to Porkchop and made her promise me she would do whatever was necessary to make him well. 5 days later I get the call, let me add, I spoke to the vet at least 4x a day and the vet techs multiple times to check on him, it wasn't feasible for me to stay in a hotel 5 hours away, I have to work and I have kids who need their mama....but, we get the call that Porkchop is ready to go home!!! BEST NEWS EVER! I take off of work, borrow my brother’s SUV, keep the kids home from school and we make the drive back to pick him up. Longest drive ever. Haha.
We were excited, it was 3 days before Halloween and the radio was playing the monster mash and thriller back to back...I still have a hard time when I hear those songs even though this all happened many years ago, but at the time, we were singing and dancing and super excited to see him. It's been 9 months since we've had a hoof free house and we missed the messes, missed the loud squealing to let us know it was time to eat, we even missed the head swipes when he was a jerk. Most of all, I missed laying on the floor and having 125lbs of pig slide down to lay right beside me making sure something of his was always touching me. He was a jerk, but he was our jerk. We pull up to the vets office, I eagerly run in and expect to see him waiting for us, but he's not. They point me in he direction of the stalls that are outside, now I'm more pissed than anything else. It's October, it's cold outside and you've kept my pig outside? Seriously!? I was irritated when the vet was explaining things to me and focused in on the fact that my indoor pig was kept outside for 5 nights...but I heard the magic words, he's all better and he's peeing and pooping. I don't know how they knew that because the stall was nothing but a giant litterbox, full of wood shavings and straw, but they were the experts. He was so happy to see us, grunted with excitement and more vocal than I've ever heard him be. He was running around the horse stall and running up to me letting me pet him and running away and running back. He was acting like a little piglet again. I expressed some concern over his belly still feeling rigid and not soft and squishy like it usually was, but she assured me that he was fine.
So, we started on the looooong trip home. We stop about half way to use the bathroom, he stood the entire trip, wouldn't lay down or even sit. By the time we pulled up in our driveway. He was vomiting, poor thing must be carsick, but luckily we are home and he's here with us....I am so tired and emotionally drained and it's obvious that he is exhausted as well, we laid right on the floor in his room and fell asleep. I woke up 2 hours later and Porkchop woke up soon afterwards and my baby was literally struggling to breathe. I don't know what happened, but he can't catch his breath. I called my vet and he rushed over. I called my mom and asked her to come get the kids because they didn't need to see this. I knew we were in big trouble. They're crying, I'm crying, I'm panicked, Porkchop was getting worse by the minute. He is struggling for every single breath.
My vet arrives and it's not good. Porkchop is in full blown heart failure. He grew so big so quick, his little heart wasn't able to keep up with the demands and his belly was full of fluid. My vet called the pig specialist and cussed her out, I heard the entire conversation although he was a true professional and stepped outside to speak to her. I heard him say, you had no business sending this pig home in this condition, now this pig can't be saved. So, 3800.00 later and a borrowed car, several days off work, kids missing school, all the worrying and heartache came to a close when I heard that statement. He couldn't survive the trip back to NC to the specialist, and I wouldn't have EVER took him back there anyways, but he couldn't even survive the 30 minute drive to my vets office for an emergency paracenthesis. Porkchop was suffering, drowning in the fluid that has been accumulating in his belly and there was literally nothing that could be done to save his life at that point. I've never been more heartbroken over anything in my entire life. I've lost family members that didn't hit me as hard as losing that pig. Porkchop was my world and now I had to say goodbye to my best friend. That was literally the hardest thing I have ever had to do up until now. This pig was a part of our family, a sibling to the kids and one of my children. I had to know why!?
We did a necropsy there on the floor in my laundry room because I had to know what happened. His belly was so full of fluid that I am surprised he didn't just pop. He hadn't gone to the bathroom, all the fluids he had for a few days had collected there, eventually the fluids reached his lungs and caused flash pulmonary edema and there was no recovering from that, only to stop the suffering. The pressure on the lungs ability to expand was compromised due to the fluid accumulation. That was enough to cause breathing difficulties, but with the fluid filling up in his lungs, he couldn't breathe. Part of the untimely death was a result of a congenital heart defect, but part of this was my fault too, had I educated myself to begin with, I would've known the proper diet and known acorns were bad, I would've know about scent glands and dippity pig syndrome, I would've known about mites and appropriate treatments. I would've had a vet that was equipped to deal with an emergency close to home with operating capabilities, I would have had a vet that was familiar with pigs and didn't need to constantly call his friend to consult. And I would've known better than to let someone ignore my gut instinct that something was wrong. I am a much wiser person because of this experience, I've rescued since then and fostered and socialized pig until they found permanent homes, but it was a long time before we were ready to open our hearts to another pet pig. We now have Buttercup, she is our world much like Porkchop was....I write all of this to share an experience, share what I learned from it....please do your research, please make sure you have a vet that knows pigs, please have an emergency plan....prepare for the worse and hope you never have to access those plans, but make sure you're prepared. There weren't FB groups then, there weren't any vets that would advise me online how to treat something, there were no group files, there wasn't even anyone else I knew who had a pig, so we literally learned as we went. My vet was great, although not a pig vet, they were willing to learn with me and put up with my constant calls and questions and because of my situation and Porkchop, they too, learned a great deal about pigs and how to care for them.
Since then, I've been fortunate enough to have met some great people in the pig world, I've met some less than stellar people too, but overall, my experience has been a positive one. I am a proud pig mama and eager to learn every chance I get. I look for opportunities to learn and I also look for opportunities to educate. I don't ever want anyone to feel as alone and helpless as I did during that time....nowadays, there is an audience for pretty much anything you want to say and that's awesome, I wish these kinds of pages and groups would've been around back then that are available now on Facebook and other forums, maybe things would've been different, maybe not. I'll never know. But I do know Porkchop is waiting for me with some of the other pigs that were taken too soon and I'll see him again, in the meantime, I will move forward and try to educate as many as I can and I will continue to research and learn. There are so many smart people out there and I am grateful for each and every person who has encouraged me or supported my stance or views on things and those who didn't, I admire them too, they made me think outside the box and see things from different angles, all in all, this made me the person I am today and a true pig advocate.
This situation encouraged me to learn more about pigs, caused me to research EVERYTHING and although my experience as a human nurse has absolutely helped me in pig world, it does not make me an expert or a veterinarian or even part of the animal science field. What it does do is make me way more proactive at telling people what happened to me and ultimately my pig because of MY ignorance. It has made me a better person, a much better piggy mama and also the reason this website was created. (With the help of friends, of course)
I told my story because I think it's important, I don't want sympathy, I also don't want rude comments, I know the mistakes I made, I'm sharing because there may be someone else out there experiencing exactly the same scenario and maybe this would be helpful to them, maybe not, but sharing stories and experiences is how we all learn. Nobody can tell me anything that I haven't already told myself, no one can make me feel worse than I felt that day. I will rehash the events and try to figure out if I had done this or done that, would his life had been spared- until the day I die. Porkchop took his last breath on 10/28/08. It was the end of his life and the beginning of my mission to learn, research, educate and advocate for pigs. This is one of the situations that I refer to as "life-altering" and one that taught me a huge life lesson, one of those experiences that will remain with you until the end of time. Rest assured that I am not the only person to ever get a pig that made mistakes, and I won't be the last either. They say experience is the best teacher, I hate what happened, but openly chose to make it publicly known what had happened so others could learn from my mistakes. Our dog, Tico passed away shortly after he did, I presume from a broken heart (they really were the very best of friends, I know dogs and pigs aren't ideal or even recommended, but again, this was before I knew all of that)....Rest in paradise sweet boys.
Written by Brittany Sawyer
Our names are Brittany Sawyer and Nicole Cox and we are pig parents, pig advocates and also the authors of the "Dear Pig Whisperer" blog. Follow our blog that will feature topics to help you become the best pig parent you can be...along with some other fun things. We will also feature guest bloggers from time to time who want to share their life experience or knowledge with anyone who is interested in learning.