- GL is Just Peachy
To celebrate, my friends and I went to the pet store. I didn't know better, and I wanted piggies, because my boars Ippie and Caesar had died in the past six months, because I was unhappy, because I couldn't bear to be touched by humans but little piggy feet would probably be okay. So we went into the room where they had pigs, hamsters, and rats. They had a cage with mother and piglets: golden agouti mother, golden agouti baby boar, TSW baby sow, and "the two brown and white ones" as I called them when I asked the salespeople to reserve the other two baby boars. I paid half, and went home to set up the cage.
The next day, I returned, with my 3-year-old niece who had loved Ippie and Caesar, and was jealous of the attention her new brother was getting. I paid up, put a towel in the box they gave me so the boys would have something to snuggle in and hide under on the way home. My niece had to be reminded not to try to get the pigs out from under the towel, because they were scared. I got them home and put them in their cage, and they immediately ran and hid in their hidey house. I thought about names for a while, and finally named them Doom and Flake (pronounced Flock-uh) after the drummer and keyboard player for Rammstein.
After a little while, Doom ventured out and discovered that he could get his feet on the top of the hidey house, and he and Flake began trying to get the rest of their little bodies up there too. Flake was smaller and more timid, and Doom discovered that if he started off on Flake, he could get to the top. So he did, and he strutted around, and then he jumped off and ran around like a spastic little pig, because he was.
You can tell Doom was already much bigger than Flake.
This became a very typical pose for them. You can see how neat Flake's stripe was, in that it covered half of his arms.
Flake looks so nervous.
Doom always looked out for his dumb little brother. Doom also had funny big floppy ears, while Flake's funny ears stuck straight out.
Doom in his handsome roan glory, showing off his demonic red eyes. Flake gives evidence that Doom's butt was already a powerful weapon. Also, look at Flake's widdle ears! So cute!
More text and pictures to come....
- GL is Just Peachy
So, more text:
I was used to sedate older boars that spent laptime or shouldertime eating hair, watching TV, trying to interfere with the book I was reading, and stealing people's glasses. The first time I sat in front of the TV with Doom and Flake, Doom was behind the TV in about two seconds. One time, I sat on the couch reading with the boys in my lap, and all of a sudden Doom was on the floor beside the couch, sniffing around to see if he could get under it. He would squirm and run away when I tried to take him out of his cage, while Flake would just cower. I wondered if Doom would ever like me.
I had often gone and picked edible odds and ends out of the garden for Ippie and Caesar, so I started experimenting and seeing what Doom and Flake liked. They hated green beans, loved asparagus fronds, and were mildly accepting of snow pea leaves. When I gave them broccoli leaves for the first time, Doom looked at me suspiciously and took a nibble of one of the leaves. He was all set to think they were poison, but Flake started chowing down, and of course Doom had to join in. I wound up spending a lot of time holding them and feeding them broccoli leaves, and Doom began to like me more.
I had also often let Ippie and Caesar talk on the phone, and they'd associated "squeaking at the white thing" with "getting petted and having ear scratches", so they got very talkative around it. I started working on Doom and Flake. Flake was scared and said nothing, but Doom was yacking up a storm while I was on the phone with my friend Sara. I proudly asked her, "Can you hear the piggy squeaks?" She replied, "Yes, I'm just not used to all that cussing!" It became a joke, that Doom was always fussing and cussing when he talked, and he talked all the time.
Doom's adventurousness was also quite a change from Ippie and Caesar. If I put them on the kitchen floor, they would stay in one place and eat nearby vegetables, so they had never really gotten much floortime. But when I put Doom and Flake in the kitchen, Doom immediately started running around, getting in my mom's way while she was cooking, and trying to conquer the houseplants. Flake was terrified, but followed Doom everywhere he went. I had never seen a piggy train before and it was so cute to see them trotting around the kitchen. They also preferred to pee and poop in one place, under the side table. (After all, why pee in different places when you can work up a really stupendous lake to sleep in after your exhausting work running from chair to chair, sniffing all the legs?) I started putting down newspaper so my mom wouldn't get so aggravated about the mess, and Doom started realizing that newspaper was not just a tasty snack, it was the proper place to pee. He was still determined to conquer the houseplants, though.
When they were about six months old, their squabbles were so noisy and intense I couldn't stand it. All evening and night, Doom would chase Flake around, and then when Doom was relaxing, Flake would see what he thought was his chance, and run up and start something with Doom. He got properly humped and chattered at for his impertinance. I called the vet and asked what could make them stop being so bratty. She suggested neutering them. (Obviously she didn't know too much about pig behavior, but she was decent at treating their illnesses.)
I took them in one morning, somewhat worried, and left them there to be cruelly deprived of their very important testicles. In the afternoon, the vet called, and told me that the operations were finished, they had woken up fine, and I could come and get them. They were very sore, but they ate a lot.
The next morning, Doom's right side scrotal sac was all swollen and red, so I dropped him off at the vet. They were worried that it might be a hernia, and told me that if it was, it was a good thing I saw it so quickly and he would have the best chance of survival this way. Nervously, I went on to work, and got another call in the afternoon. They had gone in expecting to find intestines, and just found an inflamed fat pad, which they removed. They stitched him back up, gave him some Torb (I think), and sent him home. He was groggy the entire evening, and silent, which was very unusual. I was worried, and tempted him with all his favorite veggies, but he kept falling asleep mid-chew. Finally he woke up and ate and talked some, so I returned him to his cage. Flake had apparently had some ideas about dominating the cage in Doom's absence, but Doom chattered at him and scared him out of his uppityness.
I remember that Flake was on top of the hidey house within three days, and that he pulled out all his sutures no matter how carefully I watched him. His skin had started to heal up, though, so his incisions didn't fall apart. It was just rather disgusting to watch. After about a week and a half, Doom started to swell again, so I took him into the vet. She said that he probably had a suture reaction, and that I should put warm compresses on the area twice a day. I was dubious, but followed her instructions, and by the second evening of this, I could see pus right under his skin. So I put the compress on it, and squeezed the pus out.
A wad of pus the size of a testicle looks much larger when you're trying to clean it up with gauze pads.
It probably would have healed more quickly if I'd known to flush it.
Anyway, I hotpacked it twice a day and got out any pus I could, and it deflated and healed. Then Flake had one on his left side, which was much harder to deal with because Flake kicked and squirmed so much when he was held up. Doom had a little more pus on his right side, and finally they both healed up, pus-free and sperm-free. Of course it didn't help their hormones, but they didn't fight as often, and Flake seemed resigned to Doom's dominance.
Still, when I held Flake in my computer chair, with my back to the pig cage, Flake would get up on my shoulder, peek over the chair, and taunt Doom. "Nyah nyah nyah nyah, I'm out here and you're in there!" It always made Doom run around and fuss. He was very jealous of time spent with me, and if I put Flake back in the cage, Doom would start whining for equal snuggle time.
- GL is Just Peachy
I don't know when, but Doom started loving me. He would stare at my face and adore me. He wouldn't sit on my shoulder, because he couldn't see my face. He would hold conversations with me, such as:
Doom: WHEEEP wheep wheep wheep wheepwheepwheep WHEEP *&#^%*@#&$^!!!
Me: Oh, I don't believe a word of it.
Doom: &*#^$!! WHEEP WHEEP WHEEP!!! (*#&$(*#!!!
Me: Okay, maybe.
Doom: Wheepwheepwheepwheep. &#$^#$!
Me: But he's your brother!
He would sit in my lap and reach up, leaning against my chest so he could gaze at me. He had the most intense look of any pig I've ever had, or at least the most intense look directed at me.
I was depressed, and the meds I was on were sort of helping and sort of making it worse. One terrible night, I was feeling simply awful, and I picked up Doom to cuddle him. Instead of gazing up at me like he normally would, he got onto my shoulder and snuggled up close to my neck, making his scared noise instead of his normal fussing and cussing. He was scared for me, and he loved me, and that was the most important thing right then. I felt sick and crippled and unlovable, but Doom loved me anyway. It just goes to show that he was smarter and a better person than the nasty, vicious people who told me they were my only friends, huh?
A couple months later, at Christmastime, Doom repeated his worried act when he picked up on the tension I felt because I had a bad hand in a pinochle game and was trying to make something out of it. Now, I have a decent poker face, but Doom ruined it. Luckily, nobody knew what Doom's scared noise meant; unluckily, I didn't manage to score any points in that hand, just as I had feared. The cards just sucked.
More Fun Facts about Doom and Flake: (I don't remember when these things happened chronologically, so I'm just inserting them here)
Doom carried out a war against the towels in the bathroom. My dad's towel in particular was often hanging down near the floor, and at least three times I saw Doom get in front of it and lunge forward, ferociously. It swung out of the way and he banged his nose, then looked around as if checking that nobody had seen him.
Doom hated Iggy Pop and Tom Petty. I usually had WinAmp on shuffle, and if one of their songs came up, he would rumble ferociously and glare at the speakers. He appropriately liked Rammstein, though. Flake was generally afraid of everything including music.
Flake had very short poops, and would get them stuck in his butt. He wasn't impacted, he just didn't always bother to squeeze his poops all the way out. He made quite a lot of poop, though, giant piles of it when I was holding him. He was a Stealth Pooper, too, and would look for all the world like he was still as a statue in my lap, and then I'd lift him up to take him back and there'd be fifty poops on the towel.
Doom fussed and cussed even in his sleep. Sometimes he really seemed agitated about his dreams. Once he yelled so loudly he woke himself up, and proceeded to cuss out whoever had woken him up.
Doom hated ear scratches, so after trial and error, I discovered that chin-scratches would send him into a state of extreme bliss.
Flake always, always, always followed Doom around in a little piggy train during floor time.
At some point, I submitted Doom and Flake to www.petoftheday.com and they wound up being featured a few months later.
Flake peed all over my new purple sweater right after this picture was taken.
I guess he thought it was only fair after this cruel mistreatment.
I only recently read Einstien's entire tale. I loved his story of triumph, but the bitter part of it's bitter sweetness had scared me away from reading it all till now. I am very guilty of sometimes avoiding topics that I think will contain bad news. therefor I am not always around to offer support to people who have lost their pigs in particularly sad ways. And for that I apologize as if it were enough, which I know it isn't.
Anyway, good stories. I am glad to have finally gotten the courage to read both this and Einy's tale and I thank you for having written it all so well.