California Potbellied Pig Association, Inc
by Chris Christensen
“I’m George”. My wife swears that was what she heard when we entered the local animal shelter to look at a recently surrendered male potbellied pig named Truffles. When we got to his tiny run, surrounded by pens full of barking pit bulls, we called out, “Truffles” and got no response. So my wife called out, “George”, and he came running.
Truffles, as he was named by his first owners, had been purchased from a breeder sometime in 1994. He was returned for unknown reasons and repurchased by an older couple. Shortly thereafter the husband died, and Truffles was given to an adult son who knew nothing about potbellied pigs and had no real interest in owning one. Truffles was kept in a walk-in closet/bathroom area where he proceeded to eat the sheet rock off the walls and cause general destruction. The owner called us in December of 1995 demanding that we (the California Potbellied Pig Association) take Truffles. We had no homes available and asked that the owner give us some time to try and place Truffles in a new home. The next call we got was from the county animal shelter telling us of their new resident. This was prior to California passing the “Hayden Bill” which requires shelters to more reasonably handle animals surrendered to them. We knew Truffles was scheduled for a very short stay before he would be euthanized.
We took the newly named “George” from the shelter in order to save him. We had hoped to find this adorable little pig with a narrow white “lightning bolt” across his snout a new home. As we got to know him better, two things became apparent. One was that he was going to be hard to place because of his aggressive attitude, and two was that he was winning over our hearts.
Fortunately, our boss pig, Riff, took on the task of teaching manners to the now named Piss-Ant George. Riff succeeded but sadly developed a life long enemy in George. As George got older and bigger, his aggressiveness has forced us to keep them separated from each other. Riff was born with spina bifida (a spinal deformity), and we feared that the now bigger and aggressive George could do serious damage to him.
George now shares half of our house and yard with a very mellow white potbellied pig named Standlee, and Riff and Chuckles our oldest two pigs share the other half.
As George has gotten older, the white lightning streak on his snout has disappeared along with his bad attitude. He shows absolutely no aggression towards people, just towards Riff. He occasionally joins us in the living room to watch TV, but by the time he finally decides to settle down and lay with one of us, the show is over. He loves to spend his days soaking up the sun through his luxurious thick coat of black hair and then cooling off in his wading pool. Life is good for George.
Editor's Note: Sadly life was also somewhat short for George. At 13 years of age in 2007 he suffered a brain seizure that ended his good life. While things are much calmer with George gone, the house is no longer divided and Standlee has two new gentler partners. Both Standlee and we still miss the little Piss-Ant. The box from the crematorium holding his ashes has a plaque that simply states: "I'm George".
Cats look down on you...
Dogs look up to you...
Pigs look you square in the eye.