Chico was one of the pigs we rescued about three years ago, he and his roomie, Sniffer. Sniffer, however, was with us for only six months before we found him dead one afternoon in his house. Just that morning Sniffer had eaten his usual big breakfast. Hours later he would be dead.
I've never witnessed such complete gratefulness as I have from these two pigs. A couple was divorcing, and the two pigs actually belonged to the wife. They were her pets, said the husband, but when she moved out in spring, she left the pigs behind, leaving her husband, who never wanted them in the first place, in charge of their care. Typical of couples splitting, animals left behind are often neglected, as were these two.
The day we arrived to see these pigs in need of a new home, we had to reach them with a four-wheel-drive truck. Right away I doubted that the husband had made the daily trek up the windy steep path--especially in winter--in order to feed and water them. I was right in my assumption. The two pigs were deathly thin and up to their shins in mud and manure. Inside their enclosure not one weed grew. Probably as soon as a green shoot peeked through the ground, the pigs gobbled it up before it could grow; they were starving. On top of a hill where I'm sure they suffered winter's blasts, ice storms, and snowstorms, these pigs existed on next to nothing.
I was shocked at first sight of the animals--so skinny, so cake-scaled with dirt. The one who appeared to be mostly white underneath all the mud, had a prolapsed rectum--typical of an animal that has been starved; the digestive system tries to work and keep things moving, but there's nothing to push out but one's own guts. And it wasn't bad enough that there was nothing for the pigs to eat inside their pen. What was worse was that there was no water--not even a bowl for water.
I was so angry with the husband and the wife, who had left months ago and with no regard for her pets, but for Edgar's sake and the pigs, I kept quiet, except for, "We'll take them."
I gave them water and cut some grasses growing tall just beyond their pen so that they could at least have dinner before we picked them up the next day.
We brought them home to our pig paradise where porcine people are treated with respect and cared for as they should be. I was really concerned about the white one's prolapsed rectum, but Edgar assured me that as soon as it had some real food passing through the gut, it would disappear inside where it belonged. For as much neglect as these pigs endured for at least what had to be several months, I was awe-stricken by how accepting they were of me. When I got close to scrape the mud from their hides, they voiced objections but didn't run away or try to bite me. After all that people had done to them, they didn't resent my species. But I expected that eaction because the pig is Goddess's magnanimous animal-child.
Forgiveness is a trait common to pot-bellied pigs. They don't hold a grudge as my cats do and dogs. And it's not that they don't have stellar memories, because they're highly intelligent. Perhaps their intelligence allows them to realize goodness in another being, even though she may be a human. Walking around in their field of grass, the pigs knew somehow that someone had been instrumental in giving them a new life.
These days Chico lives a good life here with our other ten pot-bellies. He's healthy: his little butt-hole crawled back inside where it belonged, which is always a good thing. Chico spends his days walking the patch in search of goodies: dandelions, poison ivy leaves, and acorns. He tolerates my digging the dirt out of his eyes and grunts his appr9val and gratitude. One thing I know for sure: Chico is happy here.
And I am happy to have him as part of my pig family.