Pig Tales

Articles on this page will highlight anecdotes from the life of Porkchop the precocious and adorable pot-bellied pig. His proud “momma”, Aimee Shaw, tells his story.

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A Day in the Life of Porkchop

 “Wait?! What is that I hear?  Is that Mama or Daddy getting up?!”

“Huh?” (mini grunt).

Yes! That was them!! “Huh?”  (louder grunt)

“Huh?”

Grunt, grunt, grunt, grunt (getting progressively louder); waddle, waddle, waddle, tap, tap, tap (as Porkchop sachets through to the kitchen, and his hooves tap-tap on the floor….

“They better hurry up! GRUNT! GRUNT!! They know I’ll cry and whine if they don’t feed me, right?! AAARRRGGHHH!!  Let me put a few Tim “The Toolman” Taylors in there, too – that usually gets their attention!”

“Yay!!!! Food time!!! Yum, yum, yummy!!  I don’t know (slurp, crunch) what this is (slurp, crunch, crunch), but this is (slurp) sooooo gooood!!  Uh-oh, it’s going pretty fast!  I hope they realize I’ll need more food, before they leave for work. Nom-nom-nom.”

“Hey, Mama!  What you doing in there?  Did you know the dogs just went out that hole in the back door? How come I can’t go out?  I can’t really fit through the door, though.  Huh?”

“I’m gonna stand right here so you don’t forget about me and not give me any more food, ok?  Good, she’s heading toward my bowl again.  HEY!!! She’s cutting up some cucumbers!  I like cucumbers!  But make sure there’s some regular food in there, too. Huh?”

Nom-nom-nom. “Ok, Mama – see ya later!” Nom-nom-nom.  “So, what can I do today?  I think I’m gonna rearrange the shoes, and then probably take a nap.  I may even harass the dogs, for a bit, before I take another nap.  They don’t have full reign of the house like I do… Hey, I think I’ll take a nap.”

“I can’t believe there’s still not any more food in my bowl!  Don’t they know I’m a growing pig?  I bet if they come in and can’t find their shoes anywhere, they’ll remember that they leave me here all day with nothing to eat.  I’m so peckish, right now.  At least they left me lots of water – maybe I can drink down enough to turn the water bottle over again.  They like it when I do that.”

“Hey, kitty!  Don’t you want to play?  Ok – well – I guess not.  I’ll take another nap.  Hey! I think I’m gonna go in the bedroom closet and wrap up in the blanket.  Daddy laughed at me, the other day, when he couldn’t find me.  I had rooted up in my blanket, and Daddy said I looked like a pig in a blanket! Well, duh… I am a pig…. and I was in a blanket.  Sometimes, Daddy is weird.”

“Wait?! Was that Sadie barking?  She’s pretty good at letting me know when Mama or Daddy comes home.  I’m listening!  Yes!!! It is Daddy!!!!!  I’m gonna do the piggie dance and talk to him, so he’ll take me out as soon as he comes in.   There he is!!! HEEEYYYYY Daddy!!!!! Grunt, grunt, huh? Grunt, arr, arr, grunt!!  What you been doing today?!”

“Oh yeah, I guess we should let the dogs out, too.  Come on, guys!!! Let’s go outside! I bet I can beat ya’ll to the fence!  Hey! Don’t run so fast! Grunt, grunt!!”

“Yay!!! I love running around in the grass.  It is so much fun and so comfy.  Well, not for a long time, cause I get pretty hot.  Mama says it’s cause I’m so fat.  But, I don’t think I’m that fat – the dogs are still bigger than me.  I want to play with the dogs, but they run too fast and run me over, sometimes.  There’s Mama!! Time to go back inside, and eat!”

“Mama’s been giving me spinach and green beans in the afternoon.  I like that stuff.  I’d rather have the pot-bellied pig food, but Mama says I eat too much of it.  Plus, if I eat that, I usually get some popcorn later, when Mama makes some for herself.  She always shares with me. She loves me.”

“Hey, Mama!  Don’t you want to pet my belly for a while? Look how cute I am, laying here, rooting around and moving my nose.  Ahhhhhh!!! Right there, that’s the spot!!!  I think I’m just gonna lay here for a while and rest my eyes.”

“Pee break!!!  Ok, now I’m hungry again!!! Heeyyy!! Mama, Daddy!  Come feed me!! Starving pig, here!  Ya’ll will be going to bed soon, and I can’t have any empty bowl!! HEEYYY!!!”

Thanks.  Nom-nom-nom-slurp.  Gosh, this is the life.  I think I’m actually getting a little full.  And tired.  I’m gonna go on to bed, now.  Got to rest up and do it all over again tomorrow!”

 Originally Published in the June 6, 2012 Print Edition

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Porkchop: A Diary

When I write this column, every week, it is hard for me to remember all the funny or odd things Porkchop has done.  So, as I was sitting here, working on the last edition of the paper, Porkchop, of course, did something that cracked me up.  I knew I would forget it, if I didn’t write it down immediately, so the idea of having a “Porkchop Diary” was born.

Saturday:  Pot-bellied pigs, while they do have both an amazing sense of smell and hearing ability, they have horrible eyesight.  So, as Porkchop was waddling in here, on his fat-roll legs (yes, he literally has fat rolls on his hind legs), he was grunting and “talking” to Toby.  He was rooting around in his bed (a pillowcase with a towel in it) and I looked over the top of my MacBook and said, “You are such a cutie, Porkchop!”  Well, that’s what I started to say, anyway.  About the time I said “You are”, he jiggled, because I startled him.  Then, as if that wasn’t enough, Sadie thought I was talking to her, and she jumped off the couch, right beside him!  Porkchop jumped, grunted real loud a few times, and then hit the ground!  That’s his defense strategy – although I can’t for the life of me figure out how that would help in a dangerous situation.  Unless, of course, if the danger was underneath him!  We had some quality snuggle and piggy-kisses time, after that scare.  Piggy-kisses are given on the end of the nose – and are so sweet!!

Sunday: Porkchop threw a fit, today, because he wanted granola, but got fresh green beans, instead.  Yes – that’s right, folks – he knew what he wanted, and green beans were not it!  He did not win that fight, however.  I did try to at least get it on video, but, of course, he was “Mr. Perfectly Quiet”, when I got my phone out…

Monday: You know it’s bad, when you have to sneak around your own house, just so you don’t wake up the pig!  I had to go to work, early Monday morning, to get the paper “put to bed”, so I was trying to be pretty quiet.  But, have you ever noticed how, when you’re trying to be quiet, you end up making a lot more noise?!  I’ve said it before, but Porkchop has exceptional hearing… I think he’s one of those that have selective hearing, though, because he acts like he can’t hear us when we call him, sometimes!  Anyway, he heard me as soon as I got out of the bed, and came running from his closet (where he sleeps), grunting and whining like he was starving to death! That poor, pitiful, malnourished pig!  We’ve spoiled him entirely too much, though, as I’m sure you’ve noticed from the articles I’ve written, he expects a treat every morning.  His favorite treat, at this time, is a piece of granola bar.  He LOVES those and goes insane when he sees that green wrapper.  Hopefully, one day soon, I’ll get it on video and you can see it on Porkchop’s Facebook page!

Tuesday: We bought new bags of feed for the dogs and cats, today.  We brought them in the house, set them in the kitchen floor, and forgot about them.  That is, until we realized that Porkchop was nowhere to be found, and, then, we heard a ripping and tearing noise.  It seems that he took it upon himself to try to tear open the bag of cat food, so the cats could have some food.  He didn’t actually get it open, because I ran in there and found out what he was doing!

Wednesday:  For those of you with pets, I would like to ask: do they continually step on your toes?  I don’t know what it is about our dogs and Porkchop, but I ought to have some really tough “toesies”…This morning, as I was attempting to feed a “starving” pig, he stepped (with all his weight) on the very tips of my three little toes, and just ground them into the floor.  OUCH!!  I hate to admit it, but I had to give him a piece of my mind, after that.  I told him, later, that I was sorry (even though he didn’t care that I hollered; all he wanted was his food).

Thursday:  If you’ve never had a pot-bellied pig as a pet, you don’t know what you are missing!  Porkchop is such a character, and he always keeps me laughing.  Tonight, for whatever reason, he decided to take off, running at full speed, inside the house.  He ran from the kitchen to the hallway; back through the kitchen; made a loop around the living room; then, ran around the bedroom and back again.  And, I do mean, “at top-speed”!  You wouldn’t think such a fat, low-to-the-ground piggie would be able to run as fast as he does.  I believe the dogs were getting as tickled about it as I was, especially when he ran full speed into the couch and TV stand, because he used to be able to fit in between there!

Friday: We have a board across the doorway of our bathroom, so that Porkchop can’t come in there (he likes to pee on the rug)… For the first week, both my husband and I tripped over that board more times than we could count!  Porkchop could jump over the board, but he hasn’t figured that out, yet.  This morning, he was crying and hanging his head over the top of the board, wondering why he wasn’t allowed in there.  I told him, “You can’t come in here, Porkchop; you’ll pee on the carpet.”  He looked up at me, with those beautiful blue eyes, and I could tell he was thinking, “Yes, I sure would.  Isn’t that what it’s there for?!”  You can just see in his eyes how intelligent he is, and always thinking, or trying to get one up on you (for treats, or what-have-you).  I love that fat pig!

 Originally Published in the May 30, 2012 Print Edition

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Since Porkchop is a house-pig, I’m often asked if pigs have an odor.  The truth is, most pigs are clean animals and don’t like to get dirty.  They only roll around in the mud to cool off, since they can’t sweat. The closest that Porkchop has come to being “smelly” was because male pig urine gives off a really musky odor; this was the main reason we had him neutered – not that we were concerned about him breeding with wayward female pot-bellies in our area (Ha-ha!).

I’ve also been asked, “Where did you get him?!”  Many people have stated that they wanted a pot-bellied pig, as well.  If anyone is interested in obtaining a pot-bellied pig, especially after reading this entire article, please let me know, and I will put you in contact with the lady from whom I acquired Porkchop.

Some people – including myself – are amazed at how personable and smart Porkchop is (because pitbulls are characters).  I used to say that my dogs were so smart, they were smart-**ses, but Porkchop takes the cake on that one!  There is never a dull moment, with the combination of Porkchop, our three cats, and our three bulldogs.

However, Porkchop can be a little demanding, so I can see how owning a pot-bellied pig (PBP) could be a little overwhelming, leading to shelters such as “PIGS, A Sanctuary” housing as many as 200 abandoned pigs, at times.  But, he is fairly affectionate, very curious, and even plays quite a bit.  He is very trainable, like a dog; and, like a cat, can be head-strong and sensitive, too.

PBPs are always on a quest for food – they can get pretty demanding (even waking us up in the middle of the night) and can beg with the best of them; for hours, I would imagine!  He “roots” (digging/exploring), and even though it is not a problem in our house, some might not find that acceptable.  Don’t get a pig if you want a perfectly manicured lawn, unless you have a designated spot for your pig!

We’ve had a hard time finding the right discipline to use with Porkchop.  They do not do well with physical punishment (who does?), and some of the other methods we have used haven’t turned out too well.  So, we look and sound weird, when we grunt really loud and aggressively, to make him stop whatever he is doing!  Of course, treats also help – at least to redirect his attention.  Another option that we have not tried, yet, is to use a spray bottle and squirt water at him.  He hates getting wet.  Speaking of water – that pig can drink about 18 gallons of water a day, it seems!  That might be a slight exaggeration!

Pot-bellies have an average lifespan of 12-18 years, with some living for as many as 20 years. They require a good quality pig food, annual hoof and tusk trimming, and exercise.  Believe it or not, Porkchop can run pretty fast for a big, fat pig!  And boy, is that a sight to see!

One other consideration is veterinary care.  While some vets in this area can examine a pot-bellied pig, you will have to go to Mississippi State Veterinary Clinic to have your pig neutered or spayed, and for any other major clinical care.  While this is not an inconvenience, it is something you should factor into your decision.

In summary, pot-bellied pigs are very intelligent, social animals that need plenty of attention and interaction.  Would I recommend a pot-bellied pig as a pet?  Yes, I would. But I would also highly recommend that you do some research on your own, and be sure that you have the surroundings and time to devote to a possibly 20-year relationship with a very entertaining pet.

I wouldn’t trade Porkchop for anything – although there are some days I’d like to be able to drop him off, for a few hours, for somebody else to ‘pig-sit’ Ha-ha!).  But, then again, who doesn’t want to do that, from time-to-time with their kids, significant other, boss, etc.?!

 Originally Published in the May 23, 2012 Print Edition

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Porkchop is growing, well, like a pig!!  We’re think he probably weighs about 40 lbs, now.  It is difficult to pick him up – not really because of his weight, but because it is so off-balance!  Just the sight of his poor pot-belly and sway-back makes my back hurt.  But, that fat pig can still run pretty fast!  He is so happy to get outside and run, every afternoon, and has the best time playing in the side yard, with the dogs.  He wants to play with them so bad – when they start running at lightning speed – but he has learned that he’ll get body-slammed, if he doesn’t get out of their way!

I took him to work with me, last Thursday.  It was the first time in a few weeks, and I think he was actually bored.  Not that there is more to do at home, but I don’t believe he enjoyed it as much as I thought he would.  I know that he liked being able to go outside more often, and of course just being with me all day (LOL), but I can’t help but think he would rather have been at home.  He does pretty well at home, so far, anyway, so we’ll most likely just let him stay there, instead.

Some of The Real Story crew did get to witness a mini-pig fit, but nothing compared to what he can throw, ha-ha!  He wasn’t quite ready to leave, the other day, so when I tried to make him go out the door, he got a little defiant.  It’s still a sight to see – once you get over how loud he can get, it’s sort of funny to witness!  My husband, Kenneth, stayed at home, one afternoon last week, and he called to tell me that Porkchop had thrown a “hissy-fit”, earlier that day, because Kenneth wouldn’t get up and feed him, when he was crying.  Kenneth said that he told Porkchop that he wasn’t starving, and it wouldn’t hurt him to do without, for a while.  Well, Porkchop decided he’d just show Kenneth how serious he was about wanting food. He started grunting and whining, screaming and throwing a little piggy-tantrum, knocking things around, throwing stuff in the air, and making all sorts of racket.  But, hey – it worked!  Kenneth got up and poured some feed into his bowl!

It dawned on me, earlier this week, that I could record the audio of Porkchop’s late-night/early-morning, wake-everybody-in-the-house-up, fits.  So, when I heard him coming through the house, whining and looking for us, I got my iPhone ready.  I, then, realized that the recording wouldn’t be as clear with my “noise machine” on, so I reached over and turned it off.  Apparently, that’s all it took.  I guess Porkchop was competing with the noise maker, instead of begging for food, ha-ha!  After I turned it off, all I heard was a few tiny grunts, every now and then.  It worked sort of like when you finally get the camera out to take a picture, then the dogs/kids/cats stop whatever they were doing (we’ve all been there!).

Big Po-Po (my new nickname for Porkchop) still snuggles with me, every now and then, just not for a long period of time.  It’s just hard to believe how much he has grown in the 14½ weeks that I’ve had him.  He is still as cute as he can be, and cracks me up, every day, but it is just amazing how different he looks, after such a short period of time.  He is a little leery of people, at first; but, give him a treat and you are his new best friend.  There’s also a “magic button” on him that makes him flop down on his side for a belly rub!  A friend recently commented on how much Porkchop is like a dog – even coming up to you for a pat on the head.  Now, if I could just get him to “politely” walk on a leash!!

  I’m so glad that Porkchop came into my life – it is an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything (even with the mini-tantrums – mostly, they are just funny!)  I also couldn’t have asked for our “kids” to get along any better than they do.  Who would’ve thought? Three pit bulldogs, three cats, and a pot-bellied-pig all live, side-by-side, in the house, and even sleep together, on occasion.  And who rules the roost?  Well, the cats do – but, then, comes Porkchop!!

And, if you think we’ve got an odd mix of animals, just wait for the story on Porkchop’s family…coming, soon, in The Real Story!

 Originally Published in the May 16, 2012 Print Edition

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After all of the excitement of last week’s Relay for Life, Porkchop has had plenty of time to chill and “heal” this week.  By “heal”, I mean that he has been on a serious diet.  He ate enough banana chips, grapes, and cucumber pieces, during Relay, to last him for the next few months; and, much to his dismay, his food portions have been pretty limited, since then.  Now, he only gets rationed amounts of pot-bellied pig food, and an occasional handful of carrots.  Well, of course, he does get a handful of popcorn every night – but not buttered!  He is a very unhappy camper – which is why I’ve left him at home this past week, and not taken him to work with me.  It is too hard to resist his cute face and his “I’m HUNGRY!” grunts, when he’s right behind me. Plus the little piggie tantrums that he can throw, aren’t too easy to deal with!

He is becoming a master of the piggie-tantrum.  These “hissy fits” come late at night, while we are asleep, when Porkchop decides that he is hungry.  They’re not the kind of fits that you can overlook, either.  The more you ignore him, the louder and more demanding he gets.  He can’t see very well, but he has one heck of a nose, and can tell if you are in the bed, even if you try to hide.  We’ve been rudely awakened in the middle of the night, several times this past week, and the only solution is to get up, put a tiny handful of feed in his bowl, fill up his water bowl, and try to go back to sleep.  I know – we shouldn’t give in, but after a 15-minute fit, something has to give!  Well, I did say the only solution, but, sometimes a good belly rub works, too.

One thing my husband, Kenneth, and I talk about, often, is the fact that Porkchop is hard of hearing.  We laugh, because every time we talk to him, he grunts back with a small “Huh?”  It is so funny.  Porkchop will come in the bedroom, at night, get settled in his area, and when we say something to him, he answers back, “Huh?” (Of course, he’s not really saying “HUH”, but that’s our story, and we’re sticking to it!)

One benefit of Porkchop’s diet, this week, is that he can now jump up the front step of the house.  We let him and the dogs out in the side yard, when we get home, and they have a grand time running around and playing.  Sometimes, we’ll leave them out for a while, and when we go out to bring them back in, they are all standing side-by-side, waiting on the gate to open.  I’m not sure if Porkchop thinks he is a pit bulldog, or if they think they are pigs!

Don’t forget to visit Porkchop’s page on Facebook…….. (I’ll put this info in later)

 Originally Published in the May 9, 2012 Print Edition

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Whew! I’m tired!

If you didn’t get to see Porkchop, this past Friday night at Relay for Life, hopefully, you will have another opportunity to meet him.  He did very well, and we are so proud of that fat pig!

The afternoon started out a little sketchy.  We had hoped to paint Porkchop’s Mohawk purple, to match the Relay for Life colors, but he was having none of that.  Either he didn’t like the noise, or the spray was cold, or he just didn’t like the idea; so, it did not happen.  Even food wouldn’t hold his attention long enough!  Then, to top it all off, we had to put his harness on, multiple times, to get it tight or loose enough so that he couldn’t back out of it.  We bribed him with treats for that, too, but it worked like a charm for the harness.  I think he sort of likes sporting his red harness, though!  We took him outside, one last time, before we headed to Relay, and he walked perfectly on the leash, in the side yard.  The leash experience, out of the yard and to the truck, was a different story. At this point, we were beginning to think “Pictures with Porkchop” was going to be a bust.  Porkchop threw a giant piggy fit – squealing and acting out – and we just knew he was going to do the same thing at the event.

Once we got him in the car, on his new cushion in the back seat, he was perfectly fine.  We never heard another peep out of him, until we got him out of the truck, at Relay.  He made it perfectly clear he was not going to walk on the leash, and we couldn’t make him!  Once again, a (much-subdued) piggy “hissy fit” was thrown.  I had to pick his rather larger, hefty body up and walk him over to the pen – with him fussing all the way – but, as soon as he was in his digs for the night, he was perfectly fine.  After about four or five grapes, he seemed pretty content.

Porkchop was a star – he climbed the steps for the pictures, sat for the crowd, and ate, and ate, and ate, and ate. We were very happy about how well he fell into the routine.  We arrived about 4:30 and stayed until 11pm.  That’s a long time for a three-and-a-half-month-old pig!  Be alert for all of the photos of Porkchop and his admirers, as well as other beautiful event photos, elsewhere in this edition.

Porkchop has been resting up, since we got home.  And, I think the next time we tell him he’s going to be the star of the show, he’ll be ready to go!  (As long as we don’t try to spray paint his hair!)

Originally Published in the May 2, 2012 Print Edition

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Porkchop is becoming very well known, and I think it may be going to his head (or, maybe, his belly?!)  We have received many requests for Porkchop to make rounds to visit everyone that has been asking about him.  Hopefully, once he has mastered the harness and learns to walk (and behave) on a leash, we can start getting to know everyone.

In the meantime, however, Porkchop and The Real Story crew will be at the Lowndes County Relay for Life this Friday night, April 27th, beginning at 6pm.  The event will be held at the old soccer field at Columbus High School, on Hemlock Street.  Porkchop will be there, and will be ready to take his picture with anyone that is willing to make a donation, to help our team reach our goal to support Relay for Life.  Porkchop wanted to be sure that I mentioned that additional donations for massages wouldn’t hurt his feelings at all, as he loves a good massage!

The Real Story will also be selling bundles of all of our first 10 issues, bound together with a purple ribbon, for $5.00.  All proceeds will benefit Relay for Life, all of us, including Porkchop, ask that you to come out and show your support.  All photos that are taken with Porkchop will be printed in one of the May issues of The Real Story, and your individual photo can also be emailed to you, for an additional donation.

Porkchop is growing every day, or so it seems.  We have decided it won’t be much longer until I won’t be able to pick him up easily, nor will he fit in the back seat floorboard of our truck!  We’ll have to build a ramp that he can use to get in the truck, or we can use the portable steps that allow him to get on the couch with me.  I look at photos of him when he was a tiny baby (all of 12 weeks ago) and it is so hard to believe how fast he has grown.  He was the cutest little baby, and is now the cutest little “teenager” (at least that’s what I call him, now, because he throws some “I know everything” fits, sometimes. Ha-ha!)

I’m writing this at nearly 2am on a Saturday morning, and I just heard Porkchop grunting and fussing, as he waddled into the living room. It was as if he was wondering what I was still doing up, and did I not realize that I was disturbing his beauty sleep? Oh, and since I’m awake anyway, did I notice his food bowl was low?  He then waddled off to his eating area, smacked on some pot-bellied pig food, slurped up some water, and then grunted and grunted, as he waddled back off to bed.  I don’t think I can stress “waddled” enough to convey to you the visual that I had.

Earlier, we went on our second nightly outing with the dogs.  My husband and I sat on the swing, listening to music (and the dogs play with an old squeaky toy they had forgotten about) and the beautiful song of the frogs.  We stayed out for a while, and, the whole time, Porkchop was scavenging for acorns that are apparently multiplying by the hour.  When it was time to come back in the house, we’ll always hollered, “Where’s the pig?!” and as we opened the gate, he (most of the time, anyway) would come running.  Sometimes he acts pig-headed (pun intended) and acts deaf and blind (like a human teenager, once again; ha-ha!).  As we were approaching the front door, I said, “Last one in doesn’t get a biscuit (grain-free dog treats)!”  Porkchop picked up speed, as if he was thinking, “I only have to beat ONE of those dogs!”  It is too cute to see him sit down at the door and get his treat, next to the three pit bulldogs.  They know he rules the roost!  And I guess we do, too!

Porkchop and I are looking forward to meeting our loyal readers, this Friday night, (hint! hint!!). We hope to see you there!

If you can’t make it to the Relay for Life, but would still like to donate to the cause and help our team reach our goal, log on to:  http://www.relayforlife.Org, then follow the instructions below:

Enter “Lowndes County” in the search box.

Select “2012 Relay For Life of Lowndes County MS – Columbus, MS”.

To the right, in the purple Donate box, select “Support a Team”.

Enter “The Real Story” and click on “Go”.

In the “Team Name” box, select “The Real Story”.

Then select “Donate to Our Team”.

By the way, Porkchop now has his own Facebook page!!! All the photos, videos, and updates you can stand! Visit u at https://www.facebook.com/PorkchopsPigTales.

Originally Published in the April 26, 2012 Print Edition

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I bought Porkchop a pot-bellied pig harness a few weeks ago, but had not tried to put it on him until last week.

Fran, a great friend and co-worker, was visiting Porkchop one day and we decided we’d give it a go. What a sight – you should have seen us trying to figure out how the harness went on that fat pig. We put it on (correctly, we later figured out), but both of us decided THAT wasn’t right. So we put it on backwards, which REALLY wasn’t right. Finally, we decided to look up “pot-bellied pig wearing a harness” on Google images, so we could quit harassing Porkchop. YAY! We finally figured it out (even though Fran had it correct the first time)!

Porkchop seemed awful proud to wear his lime green harness for the rest of the day. I have not tried to attach a lead to it, yet; I don’t want to traumatize him all at once. He does a pretty good job of following pretty close to me when we walk, and even heels better than a dog does! At least, Better than our dogs!

I’ve been having the hardest time finding healthy food for Porkchop. Pot-bellies are a lot like humans, in that if they eat potato chips, junk food, etc., they will gain weight. So, last week, when Porkchop and I were visiting my aunt and he stole one of her freshly picked beets, I thought: “Hey, that’s something he can eat!” He was enjoying chewing on it, too – even had a ‘beet” red nose for a few hours, that afternoon!

Well, leave it to me, but I found out, later that night, that beet pulp is sometimes used to put weight on horses. Porkchop really does not need to gain weight! He does love sliced cucumbers and carrots, though. And he really loves dried veggies – carrots, snap peas, okra, green beans, zucchini and squash – but does not care for fresh squash or zucchini. Porkchop’s main diet consists of a specialized feed made for pot-bellied pigs; he only gets his “treats” every now and then. However, his
biggest fan, who comes to see him a few times each week, does tend to bring him some dry cereal that he really shouldn’t have (but really does love). But, I guess, once (or twice) a week isn’t too bad. At least that’s what I tell myself when I cheat on my diet!

Originally Published in April 4, 2012 Print Edition

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Late one afternoon, while browsing on Facebook, I came across the cutest photo of three tiny, baby pot-bellied pigs.  I had always wanted one and knew we didn’t need one at the time, but was too curious to see these adorable babies; so, I made an appointment to go look at them, that afternoon.  That’s all it took – I immediately fell in love.  The next afternoon, my husband and I picked up our new little pink, spotted “baby”, a 4-day-old male pot bellied-pig.  We named him Porkchop (Jimmie Dean was another option), but Porkchop seemed to fit him better.

Porkchop was supposed to feed from a bottle – using “Ultra24” milk replacement – but he would have none of it, for me.  After consulting with Heather (the angel that brought Porkchop into my life) and Pam (a fellow animal-lover that I can never repay for her help, in the beginning), we agreed that Porkchop would spend a day with Pam, learning how to drink from a bottle.  That night, he still wouldn’t take the bottle from me, so he got to spend one more day with Pam.  That’s all it took – he was a PRO by that afternoon.  He would, most likely, still be drinking from a bottle, except we had another adjustment ahead – dry food.  Porkchop made it through the withdrawal stages (as did I, again, in large part thanks to Heather) and now has a steady diet (stressing the word DIET) of pot-bellied pig food and veggies.  He also does very well at using a litter box (or outside) and harassing our three dogs and three cats.  There is never a dull moment in our house!

I have had pets all my life, and have never had one that is as Entertaining, and just plain goofy and fun as Porkchop is.  Bottle-feeding Porkchop from 4 (well, 6) days old sure has made a huge impact on our “relationship”.  Porkchop comes to work with me every day, rides in the truck, goes outside with the dogs, and even learned how to sit, this past weekend. I’m sure he thinks that I’m his “Mom”, because he is my “baby”. This was never more evident than today.

Today, for the first time, Porkchop had to go to “daycare” without me (or anyone else).  I walked him over to my uncle’s house, to stay in the dog pen for several hours, while we met with a consultant at work.  As he followed me into the pen (he follows me everywhere – we even play hide-and-seek on our bathroom breaks) he had no idea that he was going to be left on his own.  I poured him a bowl of feed, made sure he had water, and as he was exploring his new (temporary) digs, I walked out and latched the gate.  As I was walking across the field back to work, I saw his little pink body come up to the gate, and then I heard it….the cry that broke my heart.  I can only compare it to what I would experience if I were dropping a human child off for the first day of school. I don’t know who was more upset – Porkchop, that his ‘Mama” was leaving him all by himself; or me, leaving my “baby” crying for me.  It very seriously, nearly drove me to tears!  We both did fine, of course; I was greeted with a very happy little “grunt, grunt, grunt” when I picked him back up after work.

Porkchop is currently lying on his living room bed, playing with Lexi and Toby (pit bulls), and making sure that we’re aware that he is here (and always hungry), just in case we decide to get up and pour him some more feed.  He sure is a rotten pig; but, I wouldn’t trade him for the world.  He does something entertaining every day and I hope to be able to share some of that with you!  Stay tuned; hopefully, more Pig Tales will appear in future issues!

Originally Published in March 28, 2012 Print Edition

3 Comments on “Pig Tales”

  1. floyd hegwood Says:

    Aimee,iraised a potrbelly pig in the phillipines,taught him all the dog tricks,when he would heard my car ,coming home from work,he would set up on the porch,with his dog dish in his mouth.we fed him table scraps,,but his main diet was gains dog foodhe liked it very much
    hope this helps you
    sincerely
    floyd hegwoodf@cableone.net

    Reply

    • The Real Story Says:

      Thanks, Floyd!! You should send in a photo of your pig :O)
      He’s eating his pig feed pretty good, now (along with everything else it seems)! But we are trying to get a handle on the over eating bit. May have to look into that Gains dog food, lol!

      Reply

  2. Brandy Lynn Says:

    I love this!! I have Rose, Porkchop’s sister from another litter, and Porkchop’s diary is a great insight to what I should expect! She does, however, love greenbeans! Haha! And blueberries :)

    Reply

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