Monday, November 28, 2011

Bud, part 4 of 5 - whistle stops

This is from 1996.

For Bud, our potbellied pig, the grass seems always to be greener on the
other side of the fence. Literally. He has already consumed everything edible in his area - not just the grass and other vegetation above the ground, but the roots, bulbs and insects under the ground as well. What was a grassy area last summer now resembles a newly backhoed lot.

So, in search of greener pastures, Bud has become an escape artist.

Household members are never home when Bud escapes. They return to find fencing that has been knocked down, dug under, wiggled under, or jumped over. The pig is found, sometimes with fence scratches on his back. The site of the escape is immediately blocked off, restaked, raised, or otherwise strengthened.

On his next escape Bud uses a different route.

Fortunately, he forgets immediately about the greener grass if there is something else interesting to eat instead. That means he can be lured back by the promise of food.

If Bud obeys the command "come here", he gets a treat - usually a piece of dog food or a bit of Oreo cookie. He's pretty good with that command. But there is another one that I didn't know about until recently. One of the kids had been whistling for Bud for months and rewarding him with a jelly bean or a piece of fruit when he appeared. It was done to establish a friendly relationship rather than to teach obedience.

One day, when the whistler arrived home for lunch, she looked around for Bud. He was nowhere in sight. She whistled. She heard a distant snort. She whistled again. Another snort, not so faint. One more whistle.

Then she saw him. Bud was sprinting up the street of our residential neighborhood, toward her. At her final whistle, he arrived at her feet, his 100-pound body heaving from exertion.

He got an apple that day.

6 comments:

Galen Pearl said...

I live in an inner city, old part of town. Our neighbors around the corner have a big lot with an urban farm of sorts. Chickens, bees, and for years a pot bellied pig named Mooshi. All the kids in the neighborhood loved to go by and give Mooshi carrots or other veggies. He died last year after a good long life. We all still miss him!

Grandmother said...

These stories are so funny. The neighbor child had him well trained!

Rita said...

Very very very smart to teach him to come to a whistle. :):)

DJan said...

Wow, he was a big guy! And cute, too. I always knew pigs are smart, too. I can almost imagine Bud running at a fast clip, it must have been something to see! :-)

Out on the prairie said...

Your header pic gave me a good giggle.Lovely tale!

Retired English Teacher said...

I'm sure there was never a dull moment with Bud around.