Monday, April 8, 2013

Of Pigs and Men

Over the weekend, I got my thrill not from a dance I went to or the movie I saw but from a pig. Yep. A pig!   A friend proudly showed me Sheba, a grey and light brown pet pig. Sheba is  no ordinary pig. She's a huge 500 lbs or 227 kgs -- the biggest pig I've seen so far.

Pigs as pets?  Scientists think domesticated pigs are among the smartest animals and even learn tricks faster than  monkeys and dogs. Pigs have also been known to save humans from danger. 
According to  London's The Mirror, a pet piglet called Pru was praised by her owner after the Pru dragged her free from a muddy bog. The owner said: "I was panicking when I was stuck in the bog. I did not know what to do and I think Pru sensed that. I had a roope with me that I use as a dog lead and I put it around her. I was shouting 'go home, go home' and Pru walked forward slowly pulling me out of the mud."

In addition to Pru, there is Priscilla, a pig who saved a young boy from drowning; Spammy, who led firefighters to a burning shed to save her calf friend  Spit; and Lulu, who found help for her human companion who had collapsed from a heart attack.  A pig named Tunia chased away an intruder and another named Mona held a fleeing suspect's leg until the police arrived (source:

Most of us think pigs are dirty. Truth is they're really among the cleanest animals. Pigs have to roll in the mud to stay cool because they don't have sweat glands.

But imagine  500-pound  pet Sheba loose in your house or better yet snuggling against you in bed. 



 For more information about the intelligence of pigs, please click on the links below:

- Ariel Murphy


  1. I think everyone, at some point in their life, should make the acquaintance of an exceptional pig! Meeting 500 pounds of ANYTHING would be uniquely memorable, so I can certainly understand the experience trumping a night of dancing with abandon, or watching a movie with a friend. For me, the exceptional pig is Gloria, the pot-belly pig at the Pana'ewa Zoo's petting zoo. (and yes, I have Van Morrison cued up in my head..."and her name is...G...L...O...R-R-R..I..A!!" - the first 3-chord rock song I learned in my garage-band era). She's clean, intelligent, and well-mannered. When the Petting zoo is open, the kids have access to back-scratching sticks. Gloria is patient and wise, letting the kids experience the thrill of being less than an arm's length from something 3 times their size without feeling threatened. She never panders, nor is she judgmental. When she has had as much fun as she wants, she retires with dignity and surprising grace to her spotless boudoir. She checks her make-up, files her nails, and picks up the latest issue of "Glamour". Since she is without peer, she is immune to peer pressure. So the article on the latest diet fad fails to hold her attention, but the article on the family that lost their house and all their possessions in a fire, and are now trying to put their life back together makes her weep with empathy. When she comes across the paragraph about how their pot-belly pig alerted them to the smoke and led them to safety, her heart swells with pride. She sighs with satisfaction, then rises in her splendor, and saunters back to the fence so she can share her glorious self with some more wide-eyed children. And, under her breath, she hums that Van Morrison song.

    1. Wow!You outdid yourself in that comment, Paul. That's a blog in itself. Very imaginative and well-written! You have the makings of another James Herriot. Now I'm interested in meeting Gloria and seeing her boudoir.

    2. If only I could write with the wit and warmth of James Herriot!!

    3. You are already writing that way Paul!

  2. I've never had a pet pig, but many of my clients purchased what they thought were pot-bellied pigs and then grew into normal sized pigs LOL :-) My first father-in-law in Iowa raised Chester Whites, some of which weighed in at over 1000# - he won many blue ribbons at the State Fairs, but I learned in vet school that they can be vicious also, and the other side of the friendly pig, is an animal that can be very dangerous - we have a wild one here in the woods by the Villas named "Miss Piggy" who will attack in the early morning hours. But from an anatomy standpoint, the pig intestine is the most closely related to humans and other parts of pigs, such as heart valves, etc. have been used in the past. My most interesting experience last summer was a girl in Tennessee that was raising money to buy a teacup pig - had never heard of that one before until she showed me the pictures - - teacup pigs. Great Blog Ariel !!

    1. A 1000lb pig! Wow! Mind boggling! Thanks Peter!