It was a lush backyard. I mean lush. There were trees and vines and ivy and shrubs and bushes and fountains . and a pot-bellied pig.
It was a lush backyard. I mean lush.
There were trees and vines and ivy and shrubs and bushes and fountains. and a pot-bellied pig.
That's right, one large pig called this paradise home. She was livingin the perfect pig world. She had everything a pig could want. There wasa muddy wallow, soft soil to root in, shade, plenty of food and all theattention a pig could ask for.
My mission was to vaccinate the critter for all those "bad"pig diseases that might sneak into the yard. It was my last call of theday and I brought along my 5-year-old daughter. We entered through the houseand the hog owner took us to the "pig paradise" she called a backyard.I had to stop for a minute and think how wonderful it must have been tolive in this yard. As I stood there absorbing the surroundings, my eyesfell on Prudence the pig. She was sunning in a mud hole next to the forestthat crept along the back fence. She was framed in ivy that was growingaround the trees.
"Is she hard to catch?" was the first thing out of my mouthas I pondered how I was going to give three shots to a free-roaming pig.
"Oh, no," replied the owner. "She just loves people andwill come when I call her."
I figured she would come for a belly scratching, but what was she goingto do when I stuck an 18-gauge needle in her neck? How was I going to holdonto a slick, muddy hog that could probably make more noise than a 747?I wasn't too worried. This pig was so fat that I figured I could out runher, or maybe just turn her over on her back like a turtle. Sure enough,the lady gave a sweet sounding yodel.
"Prudence, come here baby," and the pig hopped out of the mudand came waddling toward the three of us. We petted her for awhile and heardall the stories the lady had gathered over the years of having a pig inthe backyard.
I gotta admit, the pig was pretty cute. She grunted and oinked as wescratched those "hard-to-reach" places. I decided that the timewas right to gently slip the first injection in her neck muscle. I triedthe "sneak it in" approach. The moment the needle went throughher skin, she turned into the fastest moving animal I had ever seen. Infact, her reaction time startled me so much that I let go of the syringeand needle. As bad luck would have it, the needle had gone in far enoughthat the entire syringe and needle were still in the pig.
Hunt is on
Off she went, heading for the cover of the forest and mud with me hoton her trail. Just before we hit the heavy vegetation, the syringe felloff of the needle, leaving only one and a half inches of stainless hypodermicneedle embedded deep in the muscle of her neck. This was a problem. Theweight of the syringe would have surely pulled the whole thing loose fromthe pig, but now there was nothing to weight the end of the needle as itwas there to stay.
We ran through the forest, dove past the mud holes, tangled and wrestledin the ivy, darted around the storage house; this pig knew every avenuethe yard had to offer.
I was quickly deciding that the pig was not as slow as I had first anticipated.I would hear my 5-year-old daughter laughing and saying, "Daddy, youlook funny runny all bent over like that" Maybe this is why I couldn'tcatch Prudence. Have you ever tried running full speed, bent over at thewaist while extending your arms? It is not easy, and I am sure it made melook like an even bigger nerd than I am.
I stopped and decided to try a new tactic. Running was not going to work.The owner of the pig was saying, "Oh, my. OH MY," over and over.What a predicament; a panicked owner, a lightening-fast pig and a laughing5-year-old. I was determined not to let this pig get the best of me.
Prudence finally settled back down in her mud hole. The problem was,if I moved toward her, she stood up and assumed the sprinter starter position.So I would back off a little and she would lay back down. I was all theway across the yard from her and could see no way of sneaking up on her.She had a good view of the entire yard from her position in the mud.
It was then I noticed a giant beach ball next to my right foot. It wasPrudence's favorite toy. I decided to use it as a decoy to hide behind.I laid on my stomach behind the beach ball and gradually "belly crawled"behind the cover of the ball across the yard toward the needle-pierced pig.The tension mounted as I approached her. The closer I got, the slower Iprogressed.
I had narrowed the gap to about 5 feet without drawing her attention.Just a couple more feet and I could leap from behind the ball and grab thehub of the needle that was shining in the sun. I could feel the sweat beadingup on my forehead as I anticipated the moment.
Good guy wins
I leapt from behind the ball like a cheetah starting the chase. She didn'thave a chance to even move. I grabbled that needle out of her neck and heldmy hands up like a cowboy who had just tied a calf. Cheers erupted fromthe laughing 5-year-old and stressed-out hog owner.
We came to a mutual agreement that the risk of catching a contagioushog disease in the middle of town was minimal and decided not to try vaccinatingthe speedy Prudence ever again.