Tag Archives: tales of an animal hoarder

A Surprise in the Litter Box

I’ve written before about my mom’s latest in a long line of animal obsessions: Her pet pig Wuzzle.

When you have a pig that lives in the house, you usually have a litter box for that pig. Wuzzle prefers to hold it and do most of his business outside, but she keeps the litter box inside for Wuzzle just in case he has to go potty while she’s not home. Wuzzle usually used the box about once a week. Suddenly, my mom noticed Wuzzle was using the box every day. She actually got a little worried about him. Why was Wuzzle suddenly using the box so frequently? Did he have a bladder infection? Was it pig diabetes? What was happening?

Then one day my mom walked into the “pig’s room” and found her dog in the litter box. Peeing. Her Australian shepherd Dusty had been watching the pig use the litter box and decided she wanted to get in on the action too!

The dog has apparently been using the pig litter for a while. All those extra litter box presents were probably from the dog and not the pig!

The dog was really embarrassed to be caught in the act. Really, she should be praised! I mean, that certainly makes some parts of life with a dog easier… but others harder. Who wants to change the litter box of a 50 pound dog?

What I’m confused about is why it took a pig to convince the dog to use a litter box. She’s been living in a house with cats her whole life.

By the way, the “pig’s room”? It’s my childhood bedroom. That’s right, my childhood bedroom is where a pig lives now. I feel really special and loved and… piggy.

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Swine Invasion

Chances are, you do not have a picture of your 3 month old like this.

Or if you do, you took it at a petting zoo and not in your own backyard or living room.

My parents came to visit this past weekend and when they come to stay, a small menagerie comes with them. It used to be “just” four dogs traveling with them, but two of the dogs recently died and now they are traveling with their newfound best friend for life, Wuzzle the Pig and two dogs. As odd as it is that my parents have a house pig, I’m sort of surprised it took this long to happen considering all the odd things my mom has brought home before.

So I have a pig as an overnight guest. He comes with a giant kennel and a litter box. Whenever my parents make a rest stop on the trip here, they are rushed by a crowd of pig fans who take his picture like he’s some sort of pig celebrity. What do these people do with these pictures of a pig stranger they saw at the rest stop? That’s what I want to know. I suppose it would make a cute “OMG, look what I just saw at the rest stop” facebook status, but I find it hard to believe that that’s what all those people were doing. I like cute animals as much as the next girl, but I don’t need a picture of the random pot bellied pig I saw at a McDonalds by the freeway.

I do, however, understand and like pictures of a pig I happen to know, especially when he’s standing next to a baby I know even better.

Based on the pig paparazzi my parents encounter, you all WISH you had pictures of your baby like this.

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The Birthday Pony

You know those little girls who lie in bed dreaming of horses?

Much to my mother’s dismay, I was not one of those little girls. I did not catch the horse bug, and neither did my sister. Maybe we didn’t dream of ponies because we already had horses in our backyard? My sister and I both love animals, but at ages 32 and 29 we both only have one dog a piece and that’s probably how it’s going to stay. By this point, my mother had an entire menagerie, including the horse she got for free from a lady in a pet store when she was 16 years old.

I know when you every time YOU walk into a pet store, someone offers YOU a free horse, right? Wait, they don’t? That’s not normal?

If you haven’t caught on by now, that’s how things work in my mother’s world.

When my mother was my age, 32, I was 7 years old and she was adding a second horse to her hobby farm. For my 7th birthday, my mom gave me a pony. This sounds like every spoiled little rich girl’s fantasy. When I say I got a pony for my 7th birthday, I SOUND like a spoiled little rich girl, but I swear it wasn’t like that. When you have horses in your backyard and your mother loves to go trail riding and wants to take you along, at some point you are going to get your own horse.

At this point in my life, I was taking horseback riding lessons. This also makes me sound spoiled but how else is a (hobby) farm girl going to learn how to ride? My parents got me an underweight oversized pinto pony who may or may not have been abused by her previous owners. My dad’s favorite story to tell about my pony is that when they were test-driving her, they were trying her bareback. My pony tried to take off when my dad was trying to mount her and he slipped and banged his torso against her body. She was so thin that he cracked his rib on hers.

We named her Gypsy, and she was pretty wild like a Gypsy, at least when I rode her. She had a very sensitive mouth and, well, I was a SEVEN YEAR OLD, so I’d yank too hard or fidgit too much and she’d go bucking across the arena. That horse reared up on me so many times! One time she went so far up, I really thought we were going to fall over the other side.

What’s amazing about Gypsy’s crazy antics in the arena is that I almost never fell off. She would buck and rear all over the arena and I would keep my seat. I have a terrible sense of balance on my own two feet, but I can sure keep myself on a horse. In fact, I don’t think I ever fell off of Gypsy. All the falls I remember happened on my sister’s gentle, quiet pony Piper. Piper was such a perfect pony that you never expected him to misbehave. I fell off twice when he stopped short before a jump, once when the saddle I was riding in was somehow too loose and literally slid beneath him with me on top of it and once when he spooked without warning when a hawk flew up out of high grass while we were cantering through a field. I always expected Gypsy to try to dump me, so I stayed on better. When Piper dumped me, I never even had a chance to try to hang on because I wasn’t expecting it from him! (What the hell are you supposed to do when your SADDLE falls off anyway?)

Even though I was with my parents when they were pony shopping for me, I screamed with excitement when my mom revealed Gypsy, who was decorated with bows or streamers or something, at my kid birthday party. I’m still not sure what I was screaming about. I KNEW my parents had gotten me a pony. I KNEW I was getting her for my birthday, but I still screamed like an idiot when I saw that pony with streamers on her.

Since I didn’t turn out to be much of a horsewoman and Gypsy wasn’t so easy to ride, Gypsy didn’t turn out to be a forever pony with my family. She moved on to a new owner after a few years, but I’ll always remember screaming like an idiot when I got a pony for my 7th birthday even though a) I knew I was getting a pony and b) I wasn’t one of those girls who was dreaming of horses.

Even now, I don’t really enjoy riding. Actually, I like trail-riding very much, but I hate all the dirty, nitty-gritty and time-consuming grooming and horse prep that goes with riding. Maybe I’d like riding more if I were super rich and I had someone to do all the prep work and clean up that goes with horseback riding, but as it is I’ll stick with indoor pets and hiking when I want to be in the woods.

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