Clinic Stories

Pig in a Poke

Could we help her?, the woman on the phone asked. Her brother was in China and left his pet pig with neighbors, who were now unable to manage him. She thought she could get him to the office so that we could board him until his owners returned. An hour later she called back. The pig tried to attack her when she went into the neighbor’s house. I rounded up what I thought I would need – a rabies pole, an outdoor trash can and a technician to assist. While in college I lived at the livestock barns and had experience with pigs, including wild pigs. When a pig is snared on the snout, its instinct is to pull back like a tug-of-war. As long as the person on the other end is strong enough, the pig is frozen in place.

The situation was worse than I thought. When I arrived, the sister, the neighbors and a workman were all standing in the driveway, unable to enter the house. They told me to walk in, the pig had taken over. As soon as the technician and I entered the kitchen door the pig charged. I could see the welts on his side where they were hitting him to try to get control. I snared his snout on the first try, lifted him, dropped him into the trash can, closed the lid and walked out of the house in well under a minute.

By the time we placed him in a run at the office, he was too afraid to fight. The staff plied him with treats and within an hour he was rolling over to have his stomach rubbed. The owner then called from China. He and his wife were in China adopting a baby and were concerned for the baby’s safety. Through a pig rescue group, we were able to find a new home for the pig. Meanwhile, he stayed with us for over a month and never showed the slightest sign of aggression. As far as I know, he has been a model pet.

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