California Potbellied Pig Association, Inc

Type your paragraph here.

Pig Tales (Stories)

     The Story of Pig

     Short Tails

This next section has the stories of our house pigs and our experiences with them.  These stories are the reason that CPPA exists, and the reason our life and the lives of the hundreds of pigs and pig owners, that we and our volunteers have helped rescue, place, assist or just guide, have hopefully been improved.

It all started on New Years morning January 1, 1990:

     T. S. Piggliot

     The Sheriff of Rottingham

     Sir Chuckles of Fineswine

     I'm George



     Mason and Brix

In May of 2012 as we look at our one remaining pet pig after 22 years of having the joy of six of these intelligent little creatures scurrying around our house.  Arrrg is dying from squamous cell carcinoma in his mouth and jaw.  He’ll be with us a few more months, and we are trying to decide if our age might keep us from taking on the responsibility of offering any more rescue pigs a lifetime home.  I’m 67 and many of our pigs have lived to nearly 20 years old and beyond, but of course, animal control has already called us with a little unwanted pig that needs rescuing.  I went down to the shelter to meet the furry fury of a young black boar, who wanted to be anywhere but there.  I climbed into his pen and he stopped, looked at me, and said let’s blow this joint.  My neighbor who had accompanied me to Animal Control just laughed and said, “He just found his Dad.”

He moved in to his new home as though his name was on the deed.  We tried for months to name him, but nothing seemed to work for him.  He’d just ignore us, but he didn’t ignore our yard.  The 15’ by 25’ back lawn disappeared in little more than a day.  A  3’ high by 30’ concrete block retaining wall was leveled almost as fast. The blocks were almost as big as he was.  Rebuilding the wall did nothing but give him more exercise.  He would leave it alone for a week or two after each rebuild to give bugs and vegetation a chance to gather in the cracks, then scatter the concrete blocks throughout the yard. One day a neighbor looked over the fence and couldn’t believe the mess of concrete blocks all over the yard.  When I told her we couldn’t find a name for him she just laughed and said, “Mason”.  He immediately responded to his new name.  He’d been trying to tell us he was a "mason".  I reassembled his walls, drilled holes in all the blocks and anchored them with rebar.  Mason soon became “MySon”.  He took over my morning paper reading and helped me with the Sudoku and word puzzles.  He was quickly filling the hole left when “The Sheriff” departed.  Sadly he even had a damaged spine in the same area where “The Sheriff” had his much more massive spina bifida.

Like “The Sheriff” and T.S. before him, he was always with me when I was building things (especially if I was building something for him).  Most of the pigs we’ve had have taken great interest in any type of construction work done on the property.  Back in the 1990’s one of our neighbors nicknamed our first pig, “T.S.”, “The Inspector”, because of the interest he took in a fence we were building.

Mason was one of our very mellow pigs.  He loved to be with us, but he also loved getting into mischief when we weren’t around.  He would tear across our yard at full speed right at fences or under our trailer, and at the last minute pull off a miracle turn and shoot in the other direction without a hesitation.  Great entertainment.

One weekend we came home from a day of being “volunteer bear docents”  at PAWS (Performing Animals Welfare Society) to find a heavy three foot high antique table turned totally upside down with all the display items on it scattered around the room.  There wasn’t even a scratch on the table, but how this little pig managed to get it out of the corner and flip it totally over was beyond our comprehension.

Mason has also carried on our tradition of movie star pigs, by lending his voice to the plucky little pig “Pua” in the movie “Moana”.

In February of 2014,a grossly overweight and somewhat crippled, Brix, joined Mason as his partner and co-conspirator.

Brix had lived we assume a good life with at least one other pig and other small farm animals.  The woman owner died in about September, 2013, with apparently no heirs or at least no one willing to take on her animals.  The County placed the animals at Animal Control, and they contacted us in November about placing the pigs.  We put out the word, but no one seemed able or willing to help.  The shelter was 2 or more hours from us.  One of the pigs was old and in pretty bad shape, and they put it down.  The other animals got distributed elsewhere and Brix was left alone in a barn across a muddy field out behind Animal Control.  Their vet identified him as a female and they free fed him huge piles of food (probably to reduce having to hike out to the barn).  His water supply was a horse trough which was taller than he was.  He had a bad leg and would hobble across the barn and ram the water trough to get water to splash on to the ground.  (Pigs are very hard to supply water for because they will spill bowls on the ground to make puddles to lay in.)  The free feeding was not helping his bad front leg as he was now around three hundred pounds and was “fat blind”.  When we finally managed to get out to the coast,  Marcie saw him and started making arrangements to bring him home.  His hooves and tusks were overgrown, he had trouble walking, carrying him was out of the question, and there was about 150 feet of dirt and mud to cross to get to any vehicle.

Three CPPA members drove out and joined us.  Richard and Holly bought their van and their muscles, and Ercell bought his hoof and tusk trimming skills and muscle.  Three of us managed to contain Brix enough to let Ercell and Marcie get the hooves and tusks done, which made it easier for Brix to walk and safer for us to handle him.  We surrounded him with an X-Pen and walked him slowly across the field, and up a ramp with Ercell pushing him.  The ramp was not designed for the weight and nearly buckled.  Richard and Holly got him back to our house, and we unloaded him.  Mason was not sure he was ready to share his home with this intruder, but things went pretty well.  Mason could always go into the house through the pig doors and even if Brix could see and find the doors, he couldn’t fit through them.

Brix’s first exploring of his new environment amounted to him blindly hobbling through many obstacles the 90 feet across our yard to a full size cast iron fire hydrant that was just there on the dirt.  He hooked his nose under a spout on the hydrant and toppled it over.  He seemed quite proud and merely turned a round and hobbled back across the yard to the new house I'd built for him.

We managed to get Brix’s weight down to about 150 lbs and he was getting more mobile, but his front leg was still bad, and he was still fat blind.  He could now fit through the pig doors into the house, but he couldn’t find them.

We made arrangements with our vet to give Brix an eye lift.  The vet wasn’t entirely sure about doing this somewhat difficult operation for the first time, but we put him in contact with our now retired first pig vet, and he ended up confident and able to pull it off.

Brix came back home, hurting and with a long recovery ahead.  We got him into the guest room in our house, but then we would have to get him outside through the house a couple of times a day.  He would have none of it.  It was always a battle.  He just wanted to lay down and sleep away his pain.  It seemed like an eternity, but eventually he started perking up and taking an interest in life.  He found the pig door in the guest  room and went into the back yard, where he found I had built him a larger lovely home, with soft mattresses and blankets.  It even had a reading lamp, so we could check on him at night.  

Mason shared the yard with Brix, but he had his own pig door into the family room where he spent his nights.  It took a few months, but one day we returned from one of our animal volunteer days to find both boys in the family room together.  Brix loved the family room, and spent all the rest of his nights there.  Mason was more independent.  I think he liked sleeping alone.  His beds included the guest bedroom, the small pig house attached to the guest bedroom, the shed we built for Brix, the pig house attached to the family room and occasionally the family room with Brix.

They spent their days, sunbathing, eating a variety of weeds, grass and Marcie’s plants, being spoiled by us, and napping.  Rainy days were spent together in the family room, and outdoor trips were only undertaken if we supplied ourselves as umbrella holders.

They would occasionally join us for TV and pig spoiling in the evening.  Sometime in 2022 Brix’s legs got even worse, and Mason’s spine seemed to be worsening.  

Brix was unable to stand long enough to eat and Mason was slowing down a lot.  I started kneeling next to Brix while he ate, holding his body against my leg and hand feeding him from his bowl.  This went on for over a year, and he seemed to appreciate it.  Mason would have trouble walking any distance, and would have to stop and rest.  

They still loved our attention any time they could get it, but we usually had to go to them.  The morning of July 23, 2023.  I fed Mason in his room and then went in to feed Brix.  Brix refused to get up and even go to his food bowl, and Mason came through the house and wanted out the back door to our deck.  I let out Mason and went to see if I could help Brix.  As I was trying to convince Brix to get up I noticed the Mason had laid down at the patio doors where he could see Brix through the glass.  At that point I went to Mason’s room and saw that he had eaten nothing of his breakfast.

They both spent the rest of the day like that.  They had called it quits.  We got a vet to come to the house, and after checking them out we had to agree that they were telling us that their pain and age had claimed them.Mason was at least 14 years and Brix at least 16 or more.  Not real old for a potbellied, but older that the usual 10 to 13 years.  Of our pigs we had lost some younger and had a few grow older.  We just had to justify in our own minds if trying to somehow keep them alive was more for us than them.  They’d been in pain for years.  Their diet of drugs by this point was massive.  So on a sunny Sunday eve we said goodbye to the last of our pigs.  We thank all of our pigs for the joy they bought us over 33 years.  May they travel well.  They will always be in our hearts.