Tuesday, August 21, 2012

In Memory of Spot, the Pig

We got a pig.  We, who years ago would never have thought to even get a bird, got a pig.  We named her Spot. 

Can you figure out which one is Spot?

My friend, T, graciously gave me Spot when she was just a wee thing.  We bundled her into a dog carrier, drove her home (fast, to get ahead of the smell), placed the carrier in the pig enclosure and opened the crate door. 

Bam.  Gone.  She lasted all of 5 seconds before she ran off like a shot.  She sprinted across our yard, across the road, through the neighbour's yard and into the woods.

We searched high and low.  We set a live trap, and checked it every day.  Spot continued to be lost. 

Finally, after two weeks in the wild, Spot was caught!  And she was WILD!!  She thrashed and charged in the trap.  We set up a dog kennel as her new home and made it tighter than Fort Knox. 

People came from miles around to admire our pig.  My dad took one look at Spot and declared, "That pig is male." 

So Spot was not a she, but a he.  And we had to castrate it.

Thankfully, Dad has lots of experience and he offered to do the deed.  This was very handy for us.  You can't trust a scalpel to someone who's been wearing gumrubbers for less than 6 months.  That's just foolish.  The ear-splitting squeals brought the neighbours peeping over their fences, but it was soon over.  Spot's grunts took on a slightly higher pitch from then on.

We fed that pig thrice daily and he soon became very grateful and friendly.  He'd spot us across the yard and come galloping to the fence, snorting and wagging his tail.

Then, one day, Spot developed the hiccups.  It was so cute!  At least, we thought it was cute.  If only we'd known it was a sign of things to come.  Bad things.  Sad things.

One evening, I brought some beets and cucumber peels to Spot.  He wasn't well.  He shook, stiff-legged, foaming at the mouth, unable to open his jaws.  We called Dad, we called the vet and we waved over James, our neighbour.  It was confirmed. 

"That pig's got lockjaw!  Yessir!" said James.

Thankfully, our farmer neighbour had some Penicillin on hand and was able to spare a shot.  It was too late. 

Spot died that night.

Although we lost the pig (in the permanent sense this time), it was awfully nice to know how far our support system extends.  Dad, James & Jimmy - you're gold.

And, if we're going to get even deeper on the issue, how great is it that we are able to prevent such a thing in our families?  My kids are exposed to basically the same stuff as Spot (tetanus is not just rusty nails, but also dirt, dust, animal feces, etc).  Thank God it was the pig, and not one of them. 

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