Something that can be extremely frustrating to those of us who try to help other pig parents, is when people ask for advice-yet don't listen to it. This is even more frustrating when they ask for the same advice a week later and you see it and you respond hey I told you this last week this is what you needed to do yet they still don't do it. Even more frustrating than that is when it's suddenly become an emergency and they still don't take their pig the vet. In some of these cases, the pig has died as a result of the flat out negligence and people have eventually admitted they simply didn't have the money. We can't all be financially prepared for every emergency situation, although, I wish that we were. However, instead of the situation being addressed for what it is, lack of funds, everyone is trying their best to advise others on how to handle it, sometimes the vet is the only appropriate response. This doesn't help the pig in need because this pig parent has no intentions of taking their pig to the vet to be seen.
What is even more frustrating is that there are organizations that were created for these specific reasons. Charities that collect and disperse funds for emergencies. If money is the issue and you're embarrassed about that, we understand. Putting your business on FB isn't a good idea and people can be quite judgmental. I have seen the comments from people who say "If you can't afford your pig, you shouldn't have one" and other hateful things. Is this helpful advice? Obviously not. If you can privately message a trusted friend who is resourceful, that person will likely point you in the right direction. But, you have to know that people will get upset when they see nothing was done to help a pig when the information to save them was provided and that person did nothing. Typically the next post we see is "My pig crossed rainbow bridge or died today and I have no idea why" or "I tried everything I could to save him". Did you? Did you do everything you could to save that pig? If you didn't have the money, did you call around to any vet practices to see if they'd make payment arrangements? Did you listen to any of the people who tried to tell you that your pig would die without a veterinarian intervening? No, you didn't do everything you could, you posted about your situation on FB and asked for help and didn't listen to anyone and didn't take your pig to the vet.
When someone urgently asks for help and then fails to answer pertinent questions, we are unable to help and feel as if we are wasting our time. If you send us a message with the words HELP! and nothing else, how are we supposed to know how to help you? People do this all over Facebook, in groups, in private message, on other posts. Without complete information, no one can help you with your pig. Use common sense, if your pig has an area of concern, such as a rash, describing that rash to someone is a great idea, but sending a clear picture of the rash should follow the description. If you think your pig is having a neurological issue and you describe the ongoing situation, take a quick video so others can see what you are describing. In having complete details, this can help field messages or calls into urgent categories. If someone wants help with potty training and another person has a pig with a fever of 106, I am going to prioritize messages and help the person with the sick pig first. If someone on Facebook isn't able to help you because your pig needs to see a veterinarian, having those pictures and/or video will help your vet diagnosis and treat your pig as well.
You have to understand, most people on Facebook also work full-time jobs, have homes and families of their own to care for, so they cannot be on Facebook all day every day just to answer your questions. People typically check messages several times a day or check them when they can. Also remember, while trying to answer questions from one worried pig parent, we may also be on the computer juggling three or four other private messages with people having questions or needing help and encouragement. Give us the courtesy of a response when a question is asked. Ask to take the conversation private if you want. If an admin or anyone else hooks you up with a vet, you call the vet late at night, and he is kind enough to set you up with an early morning appointment, BE THERE. Don't show up hours late to the appointment. It is extremely rude. Vets are busy people and have schedules to keep. If they extend to you the courtesy of squeezing you in because it is urgent, you owe them the courtesy of showing up at the appointed time. If you cannot, you owe them the courtesy of a phone call to let them know you will be late. For the people who get their panties in a bunch over a perceived insult or slight, all I can say is get a grip. If you are so very easily offended by words, social media is not a safe place for you. I do not think people realize how emotionally vested others are when they become involved with a situation. I know I have woke up in the morning worried about someone else's pig after tossing and turning all night.
We have a health form on the website. (Click here to see the downloadable health form) If people would use this form, or a basic "fact" sheet when asking questions about medical situations, it would help describe the whole situation instead of having bits and pieces of information. When people have to go back and forth asking questions to pull the basic information out of someone, it just wastes valuable time and using some kind of standard form to collect your thoughts can potentially be life saving to a pig in an urgent situation. It allows all the pertinent information to be collected at one time so everything that may be asked is already answered. It makes questionable types of situations much easier to explore.
Sometimes we stay up late to help, sometimes we even show up in person...Above all we care about the pigs and offer support to the best of our individual abilities. We are also honest and "call 'em as we see 'em". We all have different approaches, but when it comes to the well being of the pigs we do not coddle. We state the truth. Some are offended by the truth. Some shop around until they hear what they WANT to hear, which isn't always the right or truthful thing, and may very well be harmful. When someone claims to have a "micro-mini" pig, you can rest assured they will be corrected. There is no such thing. There have been times when people got offended by the choice of words, but you have to understand, the statements we make are not only posted on our website, preached on a daily basis, but the odds are, there is more than one conversation taking place and the person who is responding has just been overwhelmed with those types of messages or posts on any given day. We all have a limit on what we can handle and those limits are pushed occasionally.
I'm sorry that sounds harsh, and it is harsh. Pigs deserve better than that and I am sick and tired of seeing people ask questions about specific situations they're having and then doing nothing to save their pig. I could not imagine watching a pig suffer and die. That would haunt me for the rest of my life. Should I be ashamed of myself for going off on a rant about this? I don't think so, but it doesn't matter anyways, I'm too busy being ashamed of the people doing these things.
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.