Never have I met an animal as perpetually starving as our pig Elly. The porkers entire existence revolves around obtaining food! From the moment we brought her home as a wee piglet, she has been obsessively focused on her next morsel. Pigs, like us, are omnivores and Elly eats the rainbow daily by gorging on peppers, greens, squashes, berries, apples, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, and pretty much whatever needs used up from our crisper! In fact, I fondly refer to Elly’s veg consumption to that of an extra-large, over enthusiastic vegetarian man who has moved in and taken over our kitchen. In some ways though, I enjoy the pigs enthusiasm for food.
For example: I slave away in the kitchen making our daughter a delicious healthy, vegetable infused meal.
Me – Look! I made us delicious soup full of organic produce, sunshine, and good health!
Daughter – I don’t like this. Can I have some cereal?
Me – Elly! I microwaved you a plate of peas!
Pig – (Sheer joy, admiration and the utmost level of appreciation for my efforts). She eats ALL of her food and asks for more!
Yeah, on second thought, I think its more fun to feed the pig! Now don’t get me wrong. We were THOSE parents that were determined to have an organic, free range, no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives kid! We fed her the rainbow as a young tot, I spent a ridiculous amount of time making quinoa cakes and broccoli nuggets, and our kid still turned out a “picky eater.” So the pigs lust for food is a breath of fresh air. I can throw a pile of kale on a plate and my porcine friend thinks I’m amazing! It’s great, and I have decided that cooking for the pig is fun! Unfortunately, the pig can also get too excited about her food. So excited that the silly animal chokes on it! Let’s flash back a few weekends ago. Trying to be a nice person, I gave Elly a handful of grapes. The pig was so thrilled that she swallowed them whole! Too bad these were of the seeded variety because one literally got lodged in the pigs throat!
Me (to the husband) – The pig is choking on a grape in the kitchen!
Husband – I’m sure she is fine. That pig is always eating too fast!
Me – No really.. she’s heaving, and foaming, and I really think its stuck!
( after a few more minutes of persuading the pigs case… the husband enters the kitchen)
I spend a few moments patting the pigs back and offering words of encouragement. The pig starts to look woozy and we start to get nervous! I search online for “how to save a choking pig” and miraculously directions pop up! By this time our poor porker appears to be passing out and the husband, per the online instructions, is pushing a paintbrush handle down our porcine friend’s throat trying to dislodge the stubborn grape! He succeeds! We rush our pet to the vet where they stabilize her and forbid further grape consumption. After receiving the animal ER bill we agree, we throw the grapes away upon returning home!
Elly’s hunger does not stop with mealtime though. The pig is ravenous at night as well, and usually her stomach starts raging at about 3am. How does a pig show hunger pains? She SQUEALS! From the first night we brought Elly home, the witching hour wake up calls ensued. Pigs are super smart. If we gave in with food she would expect it every night! So we covered our heads with pillows and tried ignoring her! Months later she now “sleeps in” until 5am before honking for food. I accept this as improvement! During the day we also have to take the proper precautions to keep Elly out of our food supply. Within a few months of her tender life, Elly learned how to open our cupboards and unload the food! She consumed an entire container of rice, a tub of nutritional yeast, and half a bag of popcorn kernels before giving up! We now child proof our cupboard doors. Again. But this time not for our actual child, but for our pig!
I do have to wonder how much food our little lady will need as she matures over the years. I already find myself perusing the grocery aisles grabbing snacks for the child… even more snacks for the pig! I suppose there is a reason the saying “eat like a pig” was coined! As usual, it just took us humans a bit to figure that out!