When I was in my early 30s, I had it in my head that I really, REALLY wanted a Vietnamese pot belly pig to have as a family pet. Piglets were showing up in all of the local “exotic” pet stores, and at only a few weeks old, they were SO adorable. At one store, an enthusiastic sales girl greeted me by placing a wriggling curly-tailed bundle in my arms. She knew what she was doing. I took one look at that cute little snout, and I fell hopelessly in love.
I was living in suburban south Florida, at the time — so it’s not like I had a barn, a field or even a pen to keep a pig. I was fully prepared to bring it into the house and let it sleep on the bed with the kids and cuddle up with us on the couch for movie night. The clerk at the pet store told us that they are smarter than dogs and can be trained to do their business outside — and best of all — they don’t shed fur and supposedly don’t get fleas. And they were on sale at a bargain price of only $99!!!
For whatever reason, I was convinced that THIS was the pet for me! That is, until my then-husband calmly pointed out that they don’t stay little forever. That sweet little 5 pound piglet was going to grow into a 300 pound nightmare. Since I had never been around farm animals before, this was shocking news to me. I was SO disappointed.
When I moved to north Georgia several years later, I made a new friend who happened to have a small farm on her property. On her farm, she also raised pigs. They were not Vietnamese pot belly pigs, but the piglets were just as cute and adorable. So, I confided in her about my desire for a pig and how I wanted to give it a rhinestone studded collar to wear and let it ride around with me in my pick up truck. I was serious about this and wasn’t cracking a smile when I said it, but to my surprise, this confession completely astonished my friend. Her jaw dropped straight to the ground.
And then she laughed. OH, how she laughed. She laughed so hard that I became downright embarrassed until I realized that, to her, pigs were made for rolling in the dirt and cooking over a barbecue pit. And here I was, this you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me woman from the city, who didn’t want a pig for eating. No, I wanted to dress one up like a doll and parade it through the town square — in a county full of bib overall wearing farmers, at that!
I’m in my 50s, now, and the whole “gotta have a pig” phase of my life is completely behind me. I now realize the social suicide I would have been committing if I had indeed tied a bow around a pig’s head and given it a fancy name like, “Petunia” — which would have been the name of choice, by the way. Even so, there is a streak of eccentricity that runs through my veins. I’ve got it under control, for now, but come find me in 20 years. Who knows? Pet pigs may come back in style by then.
Until next time! ~ Susan