Doing Their Part For Potbellies”
By Barbara Baker
After reporting on the plight of potbellied pigs in a series of articles last fall, we were pleased to see the county’s Animal Advisory Committee come up with new regulations for the sale of potbellied pigs. Carolann Mullins of Seffner, who runs a shelter for potbellied pigs says these oft-maligned creatures are being abandoned in record numbers as they grow from small and cuddly to big and bulky.
Members of Pillar Pigs of the Community, a group of potbellied pig owners, have been lobbying the county for months to pass regulations on the sale of potbellied pigs. They hope such regulations will reduce the numbers of pigs sold by breeders as well as ensure that the public is protected from pig diseases.
After listening to the concerns of Barbara Baker and other members of the group, the County Commission opted to turn the matter over to its Animal Advisory Committee, which is at work on new regulations dealing with cats and dogs. Last week, that group voted unanimously to include a provision in the animal Ordinance requiring that the seller of potbellied pigs post a conspicuous advisory notice in close proximity to the point of sale. That notice will advise potential buyers to ask the seller for a certificate of health to indicate whether the pig has been properly vaccinated and treated for parasites by a veterinarian. While Baker and her fellow pig lovers had requested an ordinance requiring the vaccination of all pigs sold by breeders, she believes this compromise is a good one.
“Basically, it puts the responsibility in the hands of the buyer,” she said. “let the buyer beware.”
At the same time, however, she believes breeders will think twice before selling unvaccinated pigs if they know they will have to post the notice.
.. The provision, she said, is a start in the right direction. The proposed regulation will be presented to county commissioners Feb. 3rd.
End of article
Note from Barbara Baker: Please note above “they hope such regulations will reduce the numbers of pigs sold by breeders”. There has been some confusion as to why we asked for this ordinance to be enacted. This is why… for .those of you that aren’t aware of the situation in Florida, we are up to our ears in pigs here!!!! This effort is to curtail the breeding and selling of more pigs. And, the Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners in Hillsborough County is very enthusiastic about writing to other commissioners throughout Florida and encouraging them to enact a similar ordinance. The entire Board of County Commissioners is now supporting our efforts to solve the potbellied pig problem in Florida as well as support our efforts in getting it addressed on a state level (Florida Statutes 828.29, “Pet Lemon Law”). Some of us have already spoken before State Senators and Representatives about adding potbellied pigs to the Pet Lemon Law. The board of county commissioners feel that we will have a better chance at the state level once a few counties have enacted county ordinances such as this. We also have the director of Hillsborough County Animal Services supporting our efforts now and other animal groups. Any questions, please email me.
Lots of Laughter and Your Pet Pig
By Spencer Claypoole
For Thanksgiving Day my wife had holiday decorations abounding about the house, as is usual for the holidays. Especially nice was a large copper kettle placed on the hearth of our fireplace and filled with luscious squash. On Thanksgiving day after our glorious feast, family and friends were sitting together facing the fireplace. All of us were feeling quite full in the stomach and were beginning to relax in our seats while concluding one of our dinner time discussions. Also facing the fireplace our small, brown and black miniature poodle, Cookie, was seated on top of a lounge chair. Usually quiet and unobtrusive, she blends in with the furnishings due to her small size and color. Cookie appeared to be sleeping after her heavy meal — so we thought.
Wandering about the carpet, almost unnoticed as we adults talked, was the newest addition to our potbellied pig populace. (My wife and daughter already have three mature pigs.) A Missouri Bella, hardly three months old, looked upon the holiday decorations as something wonderful from nature’s bounty. However, Bella was soon to get her first lesson in what is permissible and not permissible to feast upon.
As the sounds of people talking increased, Bella saw her opportunity to move closer to the hearth’s kettle of squash. Keeping her snout to the floor, she focused her eyes on a green, plumpish, goose neck squash. When Bella fell the adults were beyond distractibility, she casually turned toward the squash, sinking her teeth into the long, narrow neck.
Immediately, Cookie leaped from on top of the chair. Landing between the squash and Bella, she barker twice! Almost instantaneously, all conversation in the room stopped. Bella startled, backed up a few feet. Laughter erupted! Cookie stood her ground. All broke out into clapping of hands. Afterwards I mused. No need to train each of the pigs to avoid holiday decorations. Just train one dog to train the pigs.
‘T’was The Day After Thanksgiving
By Harl Beret
T’was the day after Thanksgiving,
And all through my loo,
Nothing was moving,
I was packed too tightly into…
My house with my blankies
all wrapped ‘roun my snout,
in hopes that more turkey
would still be enroute…
And evn’ though it’s a squeeze
from much too much to eat,
I hear it’s the American way,
Aren’t the holidays “sweet”!
I’ll lay here for days,
and dream of the past,
of the feast of a lifetime,
and the all-star cast…
Of turkey and stuffing,
and sweet candied yams,
pie, bisquits and gravy,
headed straight for my hams.
My cholesterol is feverish,
my blood pressure is high,
But I never seem to worry,
My humans taught we why.
They do it on holidays,
and ne’er think a thing,
Of stuffing their faces,
nor consequences it’ll bring.
And then when it’s over,
THE DIET! OH PIGGERS!
Starving, sweating, and exercising
on those thingamajiggers.
But why do we keep doing this?
Is it just to prepare
for the next holiday feast
around a corner, somewhere?
Excuses are many
the reason I’ll still weigh the same,
Year in and year out,
’til I get as big as a mainframe.
So my prayer will just be,
simply to forever fit in my loo,
with blankies to surround me,
till next holiday rendevous.
© Pamela J. Kinann 1997
Hardy Star of the Everett Road Covered Bridge
By Jeanne Savage
Here in Ohio, down in the Cuyahoga Valley National Recreation Area in Peninsula, we have a covered bridge. In order to preserve it , it has become a tourist attraction. It has a parking lot and picnic area.
As a child we drove across the bridge many times on the way to my Aunt Lois’s house in Richfield, but we are not allowed to drive across it anymore. My father would take my family to the bridge to swim, skip rocks and catch crawfish. Now I take my children and Hardy.
Hardy love to root around the picnic area where there is a board to read about the history of the bridge and a picnic table. For some reason Hardy is afraid to cross the bridge, but if you cross the bridge, it is easier to get to the river. So when I feel it would be nice for him to cool off in the water, I park on the other side of the bridge and all he does is walk a path to the river. There he rolls in the mud and clay and blows bubbles in the water while he digs for something.
Now, I usually take Hardy and the kids to the bridge in the afternoon and return home in time to cook dinner. But last night was different. We decided to go after dinner.
When we got there a Park Ranger was parking people and the bridge was crowded. I asked the Ranger what was going on and he said it was called “Clogging on the Bridge”. There was to be music and dancing and it was open to the public. We went on up to the bridge.
I felt bad because people were supposed to watch the dancing, but they didn’t. They all crowded around Hardy. I had questions coming at me from all directions. Can I pet your pig? What’s its name? It is a boy or girl? Where does he sleep? What does he eat? Is he house broken? Do you recommend pigs as a pet?
Hardy started getting a little nervous with all the hands coming at him, so I took control of the situation and asked everyone to sit in a circle around him. I told them Hardy could do tricks and asked if they would like to see. Even the Park Range came to watch. Everybody cheered as Hardy sat, shook hands, did a circle and did the figure eight. They loved it! One little girls said,”He can do tricks and I can’t even train my dog.” Everyone laughed.
I was so proud of Hardy he was so good. He was the Star of the Everett Road Covered Bridge.
About the Author:
Jeanne Savage is a NAPPA member and lives with her husband, her eight year old daughter Renee, and her 9 month old potbellied pig Hardy in Akron, Ohio.
The Who, What, and Why of Adopting the Older Pig
By Kay Cranisky
Puppies, kittens, piglets…there’s no denying that baby animals are cute. Most people find them irresistible; and, when buying or adopting, they usually think “baby”. Nowhere is this truer than in the world of potbellies where smallness is prized and piglets are considered the “cutest”.
Unfortunately, all piglets do not end up to be pigs with happy homes. As more and more potbellied pig lovers try to take responsibility for homeless and unwanted pigs, more owners willing to adopt the older pig will be needed.
Should you welcome an older pig into your home, or are you just taking on someone else’s problems? Will he or she bond to you, learn the rules, respond to your training?
My pig was a year old when I adopted him. He had been a “barn pig”. To complicate matters, I had no access to potbellied pig reference materials or other pig owners. Fortunately, I was not working, and could devote the necessary time to our pig, Hamlet. After lots of work and mistakes, I am now very happy with my pig.
In order to help new and potential owners, we went to the experts for advice on adopting, training and socializing the older potbelly.
As John Vincent of “Hoggin” points out, there are some advantages to adopting an older pig. If size is a priority, an older pig may be for you. A year-old pig will have a good part of his adult size. A two-year-old is probably just about full-grown. You will also be able to see his “adult” personality. He will not need to eliminate as frequently, which can be an advantage in housebreaking. I might add that older potbellies are less expensive to acquire. While most pet piglet prices start at $300-$600, older pigs may be much less, or even free to a good home. Pigs can also be adopted for a nominal fee from rescues, adoption committees, etc.
If you are considering adopting a pig, be sure that you have the time to devote to a companion animal. Pigs can be more work than dogs. The pig will test you. He is not as eager to please as a dog. If you are looking for a low maintenance pet, it might be better to dust off your Pet Rock, and wait until your lifestyle permits more time.
Susan Armstrong, President of DVPPA, points out that it is especially important to learn as much as possible about the pig’s background and health records. The placement must be a “good match”. For example, if the pig was thriving in an indoor setting with children, a similar setting would be a desirable second home. However, if the pig was indoors and alone all day and became destructive, an outdoor setting or one in which the owners are home more would be preferable.
Bringing an outdoor pig indoors is a difficult transition. This requires teaching housebreaking skills and other “manners” that may not have been necessary in the previous home. Armstrong recommends having an outdoor area ready for all pigs before bringing them home. Remember that pigs prefer a low ceiling (crate, under table) where they feel protected.
Sharon Smart, of SCAMPP (Southern California Association of Miniature Potbellied Pigs) tells us that her club has successfully brought several “outside” piggies indoors with the help of a very experienced trainer. She also notes that the pig must be given the chance to “re-learn” skills in the new home.
John Vincent’s pig, Hoover, was adopted at about two and a half years of age. While Hoover is not as affectionate and approachable as the other pigs, he has responded well to training and lives in the house. Vincent gives the following tips:
Take patience to educate your pig. He must learn what is expected. No hurting or frightening! Establish house rules in an atmosphere of mutual respect. Move slowly. The pig will be more comfortable in a particular place in the house that is near his food. Work on approaching the pig slowly but not to the point that he runs away. Training is critical. Adapt basic techniques to the pig’s personality. Learn your pig’s patterns. Follow the same housebreaking steps you would for a young pig. Set up situations where your pig will not fail. Give him the same opportunity to learn that you would give a baby pig. Make him earn his food. In the beginning, this may mean letting the handler stand across the room while the pig eats. Formerly aggressive pigs usually will not be aggressive at first in a new setting, but will become so if not trained. Stand up to the pig and set rules from the beginning. (See Vincent’s “Amazing Pig Tricks” video for additional training tips.)
Susan Armstrong stresses the need for letting the pig come to you. Get on the floor or ground at his eye level. Patience is key. Pigs have long memories and will remember the separation from the first home. It will take time to earn trust. Pigs also thrive on a consistent schedule and routine. Armstrong recommends using petting, belly scratches, and general touching to win a pig’s affection. If only food is used, he may view you as a vending machine, not a companion. Armstrong’s other tips include:
Try to find an experienced owner who will offer advice and support. Get a vet-check after the pig adapts to his new home…sooner, only if an immediate problem arises. Transport your pig home in a crate! A dose of Heartland’s Pig Survival Plus or some Recsue Remedy before leaving the old home and for a few days in the new home can help counteract the effects of stress. “Blown coat” syndrome may occur in some pigs in stressful situations. The pig will lose its hair, but no treatment is necessary. Groom the pig if he is calm. Housebreaking should be done by introducing the pig to a room at a time.
Can an older pig adoption work out? The answer is, definitely, YES. With time, patience, training, and an understanding of your pet, your efforts can pay off with many years of loving companionship.
About the Author: Potbellies, Ophelia and Hamlet Cranisky, graciously share their home in Stockholm, New Jersey with Kay, her husband Bill, their children Lauren and Drew, Casey the mutt, Eartha Kitty, Kitten Kaboodles, and assorted smaller critters.