- Supporter in '05
Phyllis is now approximately 7 years old, I have had her three and a half years. I was given a pair of pigs by a work colleague who could no longer keep them. They were Rosie and Phyllis and I was chosen as prospective piggy keeper as my colleague didn't want them in a home with kids where they would get prodded and poked. He told me they were both 3 or 4 years old at the time.
I was so excited the day they arrived, he drove them into work, picked me up and drove me home to install my new arrivals. They were both in a cardboard pet transport box and I didn't even peek until we got home. He unloaded into my dining room the biggest pet cage I had seen (I've since replaced this). Gave me a piggy starter pack of veggies and hay and popped the pigs in. They were so small, and so cute and so scared. They huddled together in a corner looking miserable and ignoring the food. I asked all sorts of questions about how to pick them up, what to feed them etc. and was presented with my first pair of piggy nail clippers, a comb, a brush and some small animal shampoo to match.
It was days before we actually saw them eat. Veggies would go down, pigs would huddle miserably in the corner but veggies would mysteriously vanish while we were at work.
Rosie was close to blind with cataracts and you could feel her bones through her back although we were to find she was an extremely greedy (and bossy) pig. The first time we put them on the floor, they ran one behind the other - Phyllis in front, Rosie behind, along by the skirting board and under the sideboard and refused to come out. After emptying and dismantling the sideboard they went back in their cage. The sewing machine was put into action and piggy excluders were placed wherever a tempting piggy sized hidey hole could be found.
Phyllis really looked after her little blind companion, accepting her as a constant shadow and going back to collect her when she was left behind during floor time. They snuggled together in the cage every night. Rosie was a very vocal pig and it was only a couple of weeks before the first person down in the mornings was met with an excited wheek, wheek, wheek, Rosie running in such excited circles that she couldn't even get hold of the veggies until she realised Phyllis was tucking in. Rosie would steal food from Phyllis's mouth and Phyllis would just accept this. Rosie was top pig in the cage and would also try to mount Phyllis when in season until we found a pigloo which Phyllis could hide in to avoid such demands. When we had the pigs on our laps Phyllis would lie down fully stretched out, chin resting contentedly on an arm, licking at any fingers she could reach. Rosie unfortunately shivered with fear for the first few months of handling unless her friend Phyllis was there to reassure and comfort her.
So many "first time" memories - Phyllis confidently trotting off down our hall way, Rosie in tow. The first time they went outside when Phyllis's normal confident often stroppy attitude went out of the window in favour of abject fear and huddling up against the slave. A week later she was queen of that garden, confidently leaping up the step between different levels of lawn, striding down the passageway, sneaking behind the bicycle to look at me with a "hah you can't get me" expression on her face. The visit to the vets for conjunctivitis when Phyllis got grouchy with the vet - not scared mind you, just cross. The toe nail cutting sagas when she just plain wouldn't let us near.
When Rosie died Phyllis became completely silent. We got the impression she was eagerly waiting for us to return from work for company and she became a very willing participant in cuddles. During floor time she still explored and ran but just didn't have the stimulation to do very much. We thought Rosie was dependant on Phyllis but soon learned the dependancy was mutual. We desperately searched local and not so local rescues to find a suitable companion for Phyllis - any single female any age would do we were sure. We eventually found, not through a rescue I'm afraid as the UK doesn't have the same surplus pig problem prevalent in other continents, a 12 week old chocolate and white livewire of a pig who we named Hannah.
There was rumbling, there was head waving, there were moments of sheer joy at seeing the two of them with their heads in the same food bowl. Phyllis ended every day for a month exhausted from the effort of keeping up with the young girl so rudely thrust into her cage. So energetic was young Hannah that at this point we upgraded to the 2x4 C&C cage. They love it. The cage and the companion have given Phyllis a new lease of life.
Phyllis became boss, and would take absolutely no nonsense from the little one, or from her slaves. She's got just so much attitude, 7 years old and we love her to pieces.