Porcine in the City:
January 1st, 2017
When my husband first passionately mentioned his desire for a pet pig about 2 years ago, I thought he had lost his mind. A pig?? Seriously?? I started feverishly reading about these porcine house pets online. For every happy story, there was a condemning article to follow. Pigs need constant attention, they NEVER stay small, they will eat your house if not properly stimulated, they are NOISY… grunting and squalling through their day! The naysayers may have completely scared us away from pig parenthood, but I kept an open mind since I had once owned and deeply loved a Jack Russell Terrier, a breed of dog also labeled as difficult and often abandoned by inexperienced owners. I agreed that once we had our own house, with our own yard we would get a pig. Knowing this was a couple years away I didn’t think much more about it.
Flash forward two years ahead. 2016 was a whirlwind of a year for us. My husband got promoted to the Sheriffs police force for Cook County and attended another 3 month training academy, our daughter entered the 1st grade, we not only bought a house but took on contracting a massive renovation that would literally consume 3 months of our lives. Exactly 4 weeks before Christmas, I get a gleeful text from the husband. The mini pig breeder that he has been in contact with has a little girl for us. She is ready now. I literally freeze when I see the cell phone pic of a swaddled baby pig. OK, wait just one minute here! 2 weeks BEFORE Christmas, and 3 weeks before our renovation is slated to complete we are actually buying and bringing home a baby pig?!?! We cant even pull that off as a Christmas gift! And how is our new porcine companion going to feel about a house full of Polish men with table saws and nail guns noisily clambering their way through the day? Despite my concern, I said yes. Maybe there is something about a grown man getting so excited about a baby pig, or maybe it was my own need for having a pet again, whatever it was we took the plunge.
We picked the piglet up on a freezing cold Wednesday in December. Despite our daughter begging to skip school to tag along we convinced her that we would greet her at the end of the day! Our first few days at home were definitely an adjustment. Little pigs grunt. They grunt all the time. Little pigs also are reminiscent of babies in the sense that they eat, sleep, poop and pee. Pig eats, pig poops. Pig drinks, pig pees. You get the picture. We rolled up all of our area rugs, set up the litter box, and committed to reminding the pig to go potty about every 30 minutes. Our first night together was startling. Who knew that baby pigs get epic lonely in the wee hours of the night??? I woke up to the sound of Elly barreling across our hardwood floors screaming at the top of her lungs! Who knew pigs could SCREAM?!?! I jump out of bed and confront the screeching pig mid run in the dining room. She sees me, immediately stops, and jumps around making a “HAHAHAHA” noise. I was told by the breeder that this sound in particular is how the pigs say “hello” to each other. Honestly pig, if you wanted to say “hello” you could have skipped the screaming and went straight for the more tolerable greeting. The small pig continues “HAHAHAHA” at me as I try going back to bed. I feel like she is mocking me somehow! This night time routine continues.
Now some people have asked how the rude nighttime awakenings have not pushed me over the edge, especially on work nights. In all honesty, I had an actual child that screamed at me for hours on end at night the first couple years of her life. Despite threats from our downtown condo association, neighbors beating on their walls and floors with broomsticks, and finally moving we survived that. Our daughter had raging colic and later obstructive sleep apnea. It was hell on earth for a while getting broken sleep for YEARS not days while continuing to hold down my 50 hour a week job. This pig is cake compared to that. I can handle a little late night squealing with a pretty good sense of humor. And luckily for me, refusing to feed the pig, pet the pig, or make eye contact with the pig has subsided her nighttime frenzies.
While Elly and I have become quite the besties over the past few weeks, our source of contention with each other comes with the potty training. I have to admit, I have no patience with animals going potty in the house. Elly is smart and learned quickly where she is suppose to go. She also does not appreciate being yelled at, and will retaliate with calculated naughty behavior if I loose my temper with her. Case in point. Ely gleefully took a pee on our newly refinished wood floors. I yell NO BAD PIG at her and haul her to her little box. She hangs her little head and gives me an evil sideways stare!! I shut her in the mudroom with her little box for a “time out” feeling like I had won. Minutes later I peek into the mudroom only to find that Ely has managed to open the door to our sunroom. Inside of the sunroom she has produced a purposeful turd on my rug! I yell at her again, put the poop in her litter box and shut the door. Certainly the pig will just sit in time out now, right?!?!?! Minutes later I nervously peek in the door to find that my porcine companion has reopened the sunroom door. I stomp inside and she has yet again squeezed out the most miniscule retaliation turd!! This “accident” was not the result of a pig needing to go.. NO.. this was Elly bearing down with all of her might trying to get anything she could onto my carpet as a big middle finger for scolding and locking her in a room!! FINE PIG. YOU WIN. We sit on the floor together. We weep, we hug, and she uses her litter box for the rest of the day no problem.
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