Saturday, May 23, 2009

Pet Piggies

Not feeling up to writing, but feeling like a blog should be occasionally updated, I have decided to copy here something I wrote years ago. It was originally written as a forum post, but then published in the NAPPA News. I was told I could reprint it as long as I mentioned 'originally published in Nappa News'...and I have. :) Their website is here, please check it out, and please please PLEASE make sure you thoroughly research any pet before you bring it into your home.

That said...I must add that we got our pot belly AFTER this happened. No learning curve. :)


From the Internet: Multi-species Experience by Laura Cronin

A while back Carol posted a message in sec0 about a multi-species section, a section for households with several (well, at least two) different animal species residing in love and harmony. I would like to make some comments about such a section.

We are babysitting Cilly the Pig this weekend. Cilly hates me, but we have managed to come to an understanding over time: If she bites me I will get even, if she doesn’t bite me I will feed her and scratch her ears. This has worked well for us with the exception of an occasional run-in in the hallway, when I wish to pass and she feels I really don’t need to. The fact that Murphy the dog is incredibly jealous of the pig, and Zackery the bird is scared to death of the pig, was merely amusing, and in no way affected our relationship.

Until tonight.

Cilly spent an exciting afternoon out on our dog run. She likes it out there. There are always hazelnuts lying about the back of the yard, she can eat whatever is hanging over the edge of the asparagus bed, and the neighbors sneak her bananas. So we weren’t surprised that she complained loudly and refused to come when it was time to bring her in. Once inside, however, we realized that a lot of the complaining was because she had managed to get her harness twisted, and one of her front legs pushed through the neck hole.

Now the fun part: Getting a twisted harness off an angry pig. The one good thing about this was she was so twisted up in the harness she couldn’t charge us, and we could easily outrun her. The bad thing about this was if we could touch the harness she could also chew off whatever we were touching the harness with. Larry tried reasoning with Cilly, but it just didn’t work. Cilly called him several foul names and tried to bite him. The children, frankly, scattered…. once in a while one would run screaming thorough the room, but they were not going to be any help. I decided to just grab the harness and pull as hard as I could, hoping for the best.

Did you know that if you get a pig really, really angry it will follow you onto the couch, and you will be forced to swing from the hanging plant until someone else can distract her? Sure, I could have gone left to the top of the bookshelf and avoided the plant…next time I will. I just didn’t have time to think it out.

You only have a partial picture now. Laura is alternating between swinging from the hanging plant and trying to get a grip on the harness. Larry is alternating between trying to reason with Cilly (Will you be good so I can take that mean harness off?) and making sure Laura is kept fully abreast of the situation (Hey, you’re gonna hurt yourself swinging from the plant like that!) while dodging pig teeth. There is also an occasional child running screaming through the room, not necessarily one of mine. If you want the full picture you must add a few things:

1. Murphy is a great dog. He loves us, and would do almost anything to protect us. Almost anything but growl and/or bite. He prefers to put himself between the danger and us. That failing, he prefers to knock us out of the way of danger. This means that seconds before we were hit with 100lbs of black pig, we got hit with 85lbs of golden dog instead. Erin tried to restrain Murphy, but she’s small. Murphy found that her weight hanging off his collar was a wee bit detrimental, but he was easily able to compensate.

2. Zackery hates Cilly with a passion, and runs screaming every time he sees her to what he feels is a place of safety. Unfortunately he considers me to be one of the safest places around. This means that every time I managed to get my head up I was getting hit in the face with a panicky green bird. Every time I tried putting Zack in another room I was intercepted by Cilly, and ended up back on the plant.

3. Children are very resilient little creatures. They soon figured out they were in no danger, the pig was only attacking the adults. They decided to amuse themselves by flying paper airplanes down the hall. These were very GOOD paper airplanes. Most of them managed to make it all the way down the hall and into the living room, where they would hit either Larry or Laura on the back of the head. We found out later this meant an extra 10 points to the thrower.

All in all it was one of the most exciting Saturday nights I’ve had in years. We finally called pigly people for advice (Thank you Marilyn and Carol!) and bribed Cilly to not bite us with an entire box of grapenuts dumped onto the floor. Our first attempt at bribery was carrots, but we discovered Cilly either hates them, or was too angry at us to care about food. I even stuffed one right in her mouth, and she spit it back at me! (Pah-TUI!) You know a pig is mad when they turn down food!

Well, the harness finally came off, Cilly enjoyed her grapenuts, and Murphy got TWO treats for protecting all of us. Zack still has a death grip on the back of my head, but we’re pretty sure he’ll calm down shortly. Andy the rabbit is cheerfully pulling off long strips of wallpaper and eating them, and we found a new litter of baby guinea pigs. Brandon won the paper airplane contest hands down, and Erin was finally able to go to the bathroom. (Note to self: next time you dump grapenuts all over the floor, do NOT do it in Erin’s bedroom doorway, effectively trapping her in there until Cilly is positive every single grapenut has been eaten.)

I don’t think we should have a section for multi-species households. Nobody would believe the stories.


PS – I just went back and checked. Cilly ate the carrot.

'A Man and His Pig' by Laurel Cronin, copyright 2002

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