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Pardon My Pig – Part 1 June 24, 2008

Posted by alwaysjan in Pets.
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After living with a pig for 12 years, I’ve come to think of it as almost normal. In the same way that having webbed toes is normal.  So, sometimes I forget to mention we have a pig for a pet.  This failure to forewarn visitors to our house of what’s in store, carries its own “shock and awe” factor.

One day the new neighbors stopped by.  As we stood talking in the kitchen, the back door flew open with such force, you’d have thought a bomb had detonated. There in the doorway stood…I could see from the startled looks on my neighbors’ faces that they were straining to make out just what “it” was.  The silhouette of this creature was backlit by blinding sunlight.  I watched as their eyes strained to adjust.  Dust was rising from this beast in swirls and the sunlight grew hazy. The visitors stood frozen, like ancient inhabitants of Pompeii, blanketed in the ash.   “Oh,” I said,  trying to sound casual.  “I forgot to tell you we have a pig.” Maisie, yes the beast has a name, strode into the kitchen like Gary Cooper entering the saloon in “High Noon.”  She looked like she was gunning for trouble. 

“Whatever made you want to get a pig for a pet?” I’ve been asked.  What a dumb question! Dumb questions are questions that I don’t have answers for.  I do remember thinking the little talking pig in “Babe” was adorable.  We’d also just bid on our first house.  The offer was insultingly low, so no one was more surprised than we were when it was actually accepted.  A celebration was in order.   What better way to celebrate acquiring the yoke of a mortgage, than by buying a farm animal!  This has got to be a sanctified ritual somewhere in the world.

The person at the pet store was convincing.  This “miniature” pot-bellied pig would grow to 33, maybe 44 pounds max.  So we acquired Maisie at the tender (no, not that type of tender!) age of 12 weeks.  She weighed in at a whopping 11 pounds with one brown eye and one blue one.  No sooner had we moved into our new house then Maisie began to grow.  And grow.  I used a Weight Watchers scale to monitor her food intake.  Carrots, Cheerios, celery, and a few protein pellets.  If I lived on that diet, I’d look anorexic.  But Maisie kept packing on the pounds.  We bought a larger pet door.

Richard stopped by the pet store to inform them that the pig they’d sold us was growing at an exponential rate.  “You must be feeding her too much,” the pet store owner scolded.  My husband mentioned that we’d measured her and she was now 41 inches long.  Silence.  “Wow, she must just be big-boned!” was the reply. The owner had a sudden urge to help other customers.

So we settled into the routine of having a pig for a pet.  This routine included breakfast anytime after 4:30 a.m.  We took to locking Maisie out of the bedroom, and then the den.  But it’s hard to just roll over and go back to sleep when you can hear the doors straining on the jams as she used her body as a battering ram. Our dogs followed her lead and joined in the charge. There’s a reason that when George Orwell wrote “Animal Farm,” he made pigs the ones in charge.

Someone once said that cats look down on humans, dogs look up to them, but pigs look at them as equals. This person knew a pig.  We thought it was adorable when Maisie was still small enough to climb into our son Ian’s, bed. It wasn’t long though until we’d come in and find Ian sleeping on the floor while Maisie snoozed with a contended smile, her head laying on Ian’s pillow.  Turned out she waited till he dozed off then gave him the heave ho.

Then there was the problem with the kitchen cupboards.  I know those clever Swiss got the idea for that nifty Swiss Army Knife by watching a pig’s nose in action.  There’s a swinging door between the kitchen and our dining room, and we could always tell when Maisie was up to no good because she’d shut the door.  We once caught her enjoying a 12-pack of beer.  She’d puncture each can with her hoof, then guzzle the beer as it spurted out.  I thought we’d finally seen the last of the child safety locks, but back on they went.  It took Maisie less than half an hour to figure those out.  Next I strung a large nylon cord through all the cabinet handles and secured it tightly at one end. Maisie gave it one tug and one of the cabinet doors popped off its hinges. Pigs don’t have time for finesse,  

The final straw came when a client of my husband’s stopped by.  We walked into the kitchen to find Maisie standing in a sea of brown mud.  No wait, it was chocolate!  She’d gotten into a huge box of hot cocoa packets and was mixing up a batch on the kitchen floor.  Exasperated, Richard spent the next day at the local hardware store coming up with a makeshift latch more befitting a submarine hatch.  I took to moving everything higher up, like you do when you’re camping and don’t want to put out the welcome mat to bears.  We’d underestimated out opponent.  It was Garry Kasparov facing Deep Blue and my money was on Deep Blue.

To be Continued in “Pardon My Pig” – Part 2


1. Catherine Sherman - June 25, 2008

Hey, hurray, a post on the amazing Maisie! Since I’m from the Central Time Zone, I was always the first up when I visited. There’s nothing like being chased around the house by an adorable, very large grunting pig who wants her breakfast. I couldn’t cut up the fruit fast enough. She was so cute, snoozing on the step in the sun, which was the perfect time to sneak over to the lemon tree to grab some lemons. She seemed to think it was her tree! I miss her.


2. Elisse Stuart - June 28, 2008

Is it just me, or what? I think Maisie has got to be the cutest pig I have ever seen. I’ll never forget when she walked in the doggie door on my first visit. I know I stood there, slack jawed, “ahhhhh Jan, did you know there’s a pig in your kitchen?” Richard said, “Jan, did you tell Elisse that we had a pig?”
…..gosh no she never did…we were too busy talking about narcississts…..


3. Elisse Stuart - July 2, 2008

Seriously-we were!


4. Catherine Sherman - July 29, 2008

I’m just coming back to once again express my affection for Maisie!


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