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The Personality of a Pig

When thinking of animals and those with distinct personalities, we often think of dogs first then maybe cats and horses. If you can go no further than that, then you haven’t met a pot bellied pig. Our time spent with the pigs in Piggy Paradise at Best Friends Animal Society was so much fun and very enjoyable. Deb loves them, and I really grew towards them after an initial hesitation. Most people think of pigs a dirty, stupid, stubborn animals that are only good on a plate! While it is true that if you visit a typical farm and walk by the pigs in their pen, you’d think they were disgusting. All you see is them wallowing in their own excrement and mud. This is not how a pig likes to live, but are forced to due to areas too small for the number of pigs in them. Typical farms have only small pens for their pigs and don’t really give them much of an option of living they way they want to. A pig absolutely hates to eat where they poop and are actually very clean animals. the pigs at Piggy Paradise where spotless and didn’t even have a smell. Their snouts are a little wet and smudgy, but they like to root around with them. During the summer the staff makes them big mud pools where they like to wallow to cool off and keep their skins protected from the hot sun, maybe they get a little dirty then. They are also so fun to work with!

Every time we ran into other volunteers, we mentioned working with the pigs and we got the usual hesitant response until we told them how much fun they are and are so personable. For instance there’s Dagwood. He is an older guy and gets a little grumpy at times, but is really good when walking. There’s Naniue which means “beautiful” in Hawaiian and she is very beautiful. She’s a big girl, but the staff have her on a diet and she has lost 60 pounds since June. She is already getting around much better since we last saw her in October. She still likes to eat and gets a little pushy at feeding time. We loved Cherry, a shy petite cutie. She is very cute and took a liking to Debbie. One of my favorites was Raisin, and she really liked me. She would walk with me with virtually no prodding. You usually have to throw down some popcorn, peanuts, or shredded wheat in front of them to keep them going, but Raisin just walked along with me and would stop whenever I would. When I got her back to her run she just hung around me while I was in there with her. I could have taken this baby home if I had the opportunity. Next up is Babe, he is a pink pig that was left out in the sun by his previous owners and got sunburned so bad that staff thought he might develop skin cancer. He didn’t, luckily, and is doing fine but he has permanent dark markings on his back from the sun damage and he is really sweet.  Now Metro and Penelope, on the other hand, are real ornery! They are real stinkers and like to snip at you if you aren’t careful. Most of the time, volunteers aren’t allowed in their pens, but I had to check their water and I went in with a poop scooper to ward them off in case I needed. They were okay with me the brief time I was in. Another couple of characters were Jeffrey and Hogan who had minds of their owns when walking, and stubborn……..whoa boy were they ever. Sometimes it was a real chore getting them back into their pens after their walks. Jack is a pretty laid back pig who just takes everything that comes in stride. He gets let out of his pen to just cruise around the compound and he just hangs around until it’s time to go in.

I could go on and on as there are some more, but i think you get my drift here. Pigs are cool and each have very distinct personalities and are way more maligned than they should be. If you do plan a trip to volunteer at Best Friends, spend a morning or afternoon at Piggy Paradise. You’ll have a blast and will fall in love with these cute porkers!

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