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July 8, 2012

This Little Piggy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After her rides with my dogs pulling the ATV, Maria had offered me an invitation to visit her house.  The offer explicitly included dark beer.  By dark, I assumed decent micro-brews with various degrees of optical damping, which was great.  I like the micro-brewed ales and lagers.  After several busy days, not to mention staying with my dogs during the evening of the Fourth of July, I e-mailed her (old style texting) asking if Saturday would work and if so, what time.  Five P.M. matched both of our schedules.  At about ten till, I headed over. 

I arrived, Maria let me in, and I was introduced to her 10 year old Pomeranian, Joey.  Maria then gave me a quick tour of her three bedroom house.  This accomplished, she started working on salami, cheese, crackers, chips, and salsa.  While Maria worked, I started playing with Joey.

Joey enjoyed playing fetch.  Unfortunately for him, I tend to introduce a few unusual variations to the game.  Let’s put it this way---I believe the standard deception of pretending to throw the ball while holding onto it, Maria’s suggestion, is trite.  And boring.  What I did was pretend to throw it, wait until he got back, then really throw it in a way that wouldn’t make a lot of noise.  Then, before Joey realized what had happened, I ran around Maria’s couch and retrieved the ball myself.  Following this, I threw the ball into the kitchen, opposite of Joey’s normal fielding area.  Of course, I again retrieved the ball myself.  And so it went. 

Toward the end of our play time together, I accidentally threw the ball under the couch.  It stopped where I could still retrieve it----I got lucky---but Joey couldn’t.  The problem was that that was unfair.  So, I fixed it.  I moved the ball out a little but still left it under the couch so that, in principle, he could get it by grabbing with his paws.  Joey’s diminutive nature meant this left the ball in plain sight. 

By this time, Maria had finished with the hors d’oeuvres.  We headed out to her porch for munchies, beer, and conversation.  I ended up clearing out her lighter beers, all nice micros, rather than partaking from her selection of dark beers.  Of course with this, she drank white wine.  Hmmmmmm.

It had gotten to 93 F earlier and the temp was floating around the mid eighties.  Great beer weather, and she had wine.  I think I know her ulterior motivation for inviting me over and particularly her emphasis on having the dark beers.  Maria had hoped I could deplete her inventory, something I actually failed to do.  Yet again, I am a disappointment to women.  I’m hoping that at least the conversation was okay, but I digress. 

We had been sitting on the porch for close to an hour when the evening’s entertainment appeared in the form of local wildlife.  Well sort of wild.  A small pig, maybe 20-25 lb., showed up. 

Joey decided to investigate.  Maybelline, I do think it was a female, snouted Joey and rolled him.  A single move that made its point, it looked to me to be the same as a dog’s warning snap.  Joey took it that way as well.  Maria wasn’t so sure. 

I met Maria through Kim, the woman who had been the real estate agent for both of us.  After we bought our houses, we maintained a friendship with her.  With Maybelline in Maria’s yard, the ongoing friendship with Kim had yet another benefit.  Kim’s husband is the local game warden.  Maria called him up and asked for advice.  He gave her a couple of phone numbers.  She checked with the local sheriff’s deputy---he hadn’t heard about anybody missing a pig.  Finally she called the local pig expert, Sam. 

Her phone call with him certainly indicated that he liked pigs, mostly to eat.  That said, he promised not to do anything to Maybelline until we knew with certainty that she had no owners.  With this, Maria gave Sam her address and directions.

By this time, Maybelline had porked down a fair amount of the dogfood Maria had laid out, grabbed a couple sips of water, and was laying in the grass, a contented little pig.  For the record, I honestly found Maybelline to be a very cute pig, particularly lounging in the grass.  Maybelline’s well being concerned Maria, but I don’t think cute was the word running through her mind. 

Sam arrived shortly with two of his kids.  We all surrounded Maybelline and were getting ready to move in slowly when she bolted and breached our perimeter.  Happily, I wasn’t to blame for the breach.  Sam’s son evidently should have stared the young pig down, freezing her.  He didn’t, and Maybelline headed off. 

We spent some portion of the next hour chasing the young pig.  Sam said he found a number of spots where Maybelline had set up house, made some tracks, and done some rutting.  All this caught my attention, particularly since Sam also said he figured Maybelline was about three months old.

Sam’s best guess was that Maybelline was abandoned, something I had also suggested to Maria and which she had viewed skeptically.  What I knew was that people abandon pets of all sorts all the time.  Maybelline was probably just another sad example. 

What surprised me was the ease with which she could “live off the land,” even as young as she was.  Sam’s comment was that a mountain lion or a car accident might kill her, but if not that she’d survive ‘til winter on her own.  I was impressed.  That said, odds still weren’t good for summer and then dropped to zero with winter. 

Sam left and came back with a live animal trap.  We baited the trap, and hoped for the best.  With luck we could get Maybelline out of the wild and into some sort of sheltered environment. 

The most common form of animal abuse is neglect in one form or another.  Certainly, abandoning an animal is an example.  I am pretty sure that’s what happened to my Cameo---a friendly dog who clearly had been well socialized before the Humane Society had picked her up wandering free east of Missoula.  Happily, physical abuse seems to be less common than neglect, though this may be more the result of how common neglect is than how rare abuse is.  Sadly, people frequently abandon their animals in places like Seeley Lake rather than just leaving them at the Humane Society.  It is incredibly irresponsible.   But I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when one form of being irresponsible is correlated with a second.  In any case, I’m pretty sure Cameo is happy that I have a sense of responsibility.  And maybe Maybelline has a new home too.

   
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