The first thing people seem to ask me is, “What made you decide to get a pig?” Funny question considering I never wanted one. I’ve dated a lot of them in my day, unfortunately, but to have one as a pet? My older sister always wanted a pot belly when they first became popular, but they just reminded me of the obesity problem in America.
The day came when I lost my best friend, Prozac, my black cat. I realized then that he could never be replaced, so when a friend mentioned mini pigs to me I seriously contemplated the idea. “They can be litter trained, are hypoallergenic, incredibly smart, and they only get to the size of a small dog”, she said.
After visiting Rascal, a mini pig, I put a deposit down for first pick of December’s litter. It wasn’t until the day my little piggy was airborne from Texas to Florida that I got nervous. Yes, pigs DO fly!
Delta cargo called me on my cell, “Um, we have a package for you…it’s squealing.” Oh God, I wasn’t even ten minutes late and the young man on the phone was freaking out wanting me to hurry up! “I’m five minutes away,” I told him, and then I looked at my mother driving and said, “What have I done?” Oh God, I was going to be living with a farm animal for the next fifteen to twenty years!
Looking in the small kennel all was quiet – and black. My brave mother stuck her hand in the cage as the horrified Delta employee and myself braced ourselves. “Oh, there he is, what a sweet little boy you are. He’s giving me kisses!” The young guy and I looked at each other, at the cage, and then at my oblivious, smiling mother. I spoke first, “Mom, I’m not sure where you have your hand, but it’s not in his mouth. We’re looking at his head right now, he’s facing us.” The guy and I went into hysterics laughing and my mother quickly removed her hand, from Lord knows where!
Officer, I named my pig Officer. Some people get it immediately and others don’t. I can always tell either way. When they ask his name, I tell them and they laugh or they start calling him Sargent! For those of you who don’t “get it”, cops are sometimes called pigs, hence the name Officer. No offense, my brother-in-law and one of my best friends are both police officers and I love them dearly, it’s just my sense of humor.
Living with an Oinker is completely different from any pet I’ve ever owned. The relationship is totally unique. I can’t say my life has been the same since Officer came squealing, grunting, and rooting into it nearly a year and a half ago, but one thing is amazingly true, every time I look at him he makes me happy. I always find myself laughing and smiling when my little “Pork Butt’s” around.
About the writer, Lee Volpe:
I was a slow reader, diagnosed with a learning disability, & by the end of third grade it was suggested I be held back. As part of the remedial tutoring I opted for, I was given the task to write a story. Little did I know that assignment would be the genesis of me, the first taste, the moment that changed everything.
Daisy the Cow was the result of my 8 year old imagination. A cow that was beloved by all the neighborhood children until someone gets a puppy & Daisy loses the spotlight. Daisy begins howling at the moon, fetching, lifting her leg, & causing all kinds of trouble – for a cow. With the help of her friends, Daisy realizes that she is special, loved, & perfect just the way she is.
At the time, I was approached & offered publication for Daisy the Cow. After a year, I completed tutoring & was reading almost two grade levels higher. I resolved my fear & dislike of reading. And in finding the words, I found my voice.