Have you ever wondered to yourself how you would catch a pig were you to find one running around, wreaking havoc and mayhem? Well, I never did. Perhaps if I had asked of my soul the answer to that question, I would have had an easier time of it this morning. Perhaps I would have saved myself hours of cajoling, pleading, and begging three escaped pigs to go home. But, as fate would have it, I had one hell of a time convincing these pigs that it was a better idea to go home to their muddy, boring, fenced-in home rather than roam wide and free and up-rooting small plants to their hearts desire.
It all started when I woke up this morning and went to water the pigs. When I fill their water bucket, they usually come running. Their cute little habit of over-turning the bucket just after I fill it in order to keep the mud to their liking results in them never having enough drinking water and they always come rushing out to drink. The first sign of trouble was when no pigs came running out of the shelter. Second sign of trouble? No pigs IN the shelter. That’s when I noticed that the fence was torn wide open. I frantically searched for them around the perimeter of the farm. For all I knew, they could have been gone all night (turns out they had been). None of the nearest neighbors appeared to be home, so I tried calling every person I knew to get some back-up wranglers. The first four people I tried either didn’t answer or had their phones turned off. Lucky Monday. After calling around for the pigs (here pig, pig pig pig….here piggy. High pitched voice and everything), I noticed a guy pulling into the driveway. I ran over to him and asked him if he didn’t happen to be here on account of some wandering pigs. His confused and slightly panicked expression was either a result of my dirty clothes and face and near-tears yet still hopeful look on my face or that there were pigs rooting through his yard. Turns out it was the pigs (although, the fact that I was panting and covered with mud may have contributed). I followed him back to his house where sure enough, the pigs were curled up in a corner of the yard.
After a few unsuccessful attempts at constructing a pig leash (I’d get it around the neck but then the pig would take off in a frantic manner, squealing as though I was trying to rip her tail off), I tried to herd them through the bush and trees to go home (about a quarter of a mile away), trying to use a bucket of food as bait. Also unsuccessful. Turns out, there’s a pretty steady supply of garbage and other piggy goods between the farm and the neighbor’s house where they made a new residence. The neighbor let his dog out thinking he might scare them home. Instead, the pigs ran toward the dog, causing the wife to shrilly call out for her dog. I’m pretty sure they were just curious. I tried to get the man to help me herd them home, but he mumbled a few non-committal things and wandered into the house. Probably to console his apparently inconsolable wife. Turns out that coming home at midnight after working all day to find that three pigs did an impromptu tilling of your yard doesn’t make for happy conversation.
I finally got ahold of a friend of mine who said that it sounded interesting enough that he’d take an early lunch. The two of us managed to poke, prod, and herd three pigs through the dense underbrush back to their pens. I did get quite a laugh watching him jump on the back of one of the pigs in an attempt to get a leash around it’s neck. Imagine bull riding, only on a short and stumpy 300 pound animal that squeals.
With the pigs more or less securely in their pen again, I can only hope that they’ll be too tired for the next few days to try anything again before the owners come home.