Now, most people would assume this was some type of joke, but if you’ve ever spent any time with my animal-hoarding mother, you know she doesn’t mess around with pet names. If she asks for a name, the new pet is in her lap. And he was, the pig that is. Believe it or not, he is far from the strangest pet they’ve ever owned (but definitely the strangest one who will be living in the house).
There were times in my childhood where we had at least 30 pets at one time– 3 indoor dogs, 3 house cats, 4 pet parrots, 8 breeding parrots for her small business, 3 horses, 2 goats, several barn cats, fish, lizards, hamsters, bunnies and various wildlife rehab animals, especially raccoons. The amount of furry pets (Do fish really count? I think not.) in the house was usually on the sane-ish side considering the size of the house, but when you added everything up with the outdoor pets things got insane.
Aside from the iguana, exotic parrots and occasional temporary orphaned raccoon, our indoor/outdoor pets were generally pretty run-of-the-mill for a farm. I mean, yeah, most kids haven’t had to wake up early for school to bottle-feed the baby orphaned raccoon but… I think I just ruined my run-of-the-mill argument.
BUT our odd childhood animals have nothing on the animals my mom has now (except for maybe the raccoons).
In the past 5ish years, they’ve acquired a llama, a miniature horse (different from a pony), two miniature donkeys (one technically belongs to a friend who boards it there) and a squad of peacocks. The llama is pretty weird, don’t get me wrong, but the weirdest pet they’ve ever owned was a rhea. A rhea is a lot like a emu except it’s from South America instead of Australia. There’s an episode of “Go Diego, Go!” about them.
Sadly, the rhea died prematurely from an infection caused by a mystery injury we think was inflicted by a some unknown predator. That’s the trouble with outdoor pets. They kind of live in the wilderness even though they are technically in your barn.
So, all that preamble explains why I wasn’t all that surprised when I saw that my mom had gotten a pig without warning me. He’s a baby pot-bellied pig she rescued from an animal sanctuary in Southern Indiana. Pot-bellied pigs usually cost about $600. Mom rescued the pig for a $25 donation (plus $100 in gas to go get him). Wuzzle the Pig is an indoor pet who wears a sweater to go outside because otherwise he gets too cold.
We didn’t warn the kids that Nonni had gotten a pig and instead just showed him to them when we got there last week. Both kids thought he was a cat at first. He’s so small and black with pointy ears that I can understand the confusion. Now they know it’s a pig.
Some crazy things about this pig, which was still feral when my mom got him:
*Though he was terrified of humans the day she brought him home, within 24 hours all he wanted to do was cuddle in people’s laps. They say pigs are something like the third smartest type of animal, ranked below primates and dolphins and above dogs. I believe it.
*She didn’t have to housebreak him despite the fact that no one had worked with him on it before. He has peed in his litter box EVERY SINGLE TIME. He’s 6 weeks old. I can’t get my 2 year old human to pee in the right place.
*Pigs are known for being clean. The pigs you see in farms roll in the mud to keep cool. This pig is so clean that he refused to poop in his litter box or anywhere inside the house and held it for FIVE DAYS until my mom let him lose in a barn stall. He didn’t want to poop in his home. Again, this is a 6 week old we’re talking about!
Of all their bizarre pets, I think I can get down with this one the most even though it means that when they come to visit me a pig will be sleeping (perhaps illegally?) in my house!
On that note it’s a good thing a) that my husband is totally against getting a pig and b) we live within city limits and our city (like most cities apparently) has an ordinance* against livestock. Even though I don’t consider a pot-bellied pig livestock, the law does. We legally can not have a pig. If not for this, I might be tempted to drive down to Southern Indiana and get my own “$25″ 6-week-old pig.
*Despite this being a toy blog, I’m going to rant about city pet ordinances tomorrow because I have a lot of things to say about them. A LOT.