Monday, September 15, 2008

Pig on the Blog: Virgil is Just Misunderstood!

Virgil is the newest resident of Smiling Dog Farms. He is a potbellied pig. He was raised from a baby by a family who could not keep Virgil inside his pen.

When Virgil would escape, he would gleefully run toward the first human he saw -- which prompted fear and trepidation in his nervous neighbors! They thought he was "charging" them.

Actually, he was saying "Hi, will you please pet me?" There is nothing aggressive at all about Virgil. You can see in this photo that he is particularly fond of Entennman's chocolate covered donuts. Virgil will take each piece of donut that is offered him very politely. He does have some rather large teeth, but he never uses them to bite people!

Sometimes, Virgil will nudge you with his nose. He is not trying to harm you. He wants you to pet him and fuss over him. But his neighbors just did not understand.

Neither did the police. The authorities were afraid of Virgil, too. They did not understand that he just wanted to be loved. His family was told that if they could not keep him inside his pen, they would have to get rid of Virgil. The police said they might shoot him if he got out again.

So his family asked if he could come live at the farm. Of course, we said "yes". Virgil is currently living in a dog housing unit until we can build him a pen of his own.
We are afraid to put him with Josephine, our full size pig, because she outweighs him several times over. There might be a tussle over food. Or Josephine could hurt Virgil just because of her size.
And we are afraid to put him with Mamie and Ike, our two potbellied pigs, because they are accustomed to each other, but we don't know how they would accept a new member of their group. Sometimes, pigs will attack a new member introduced into their group. And since there are two of Mamie and Ike and only one Virgil, we did not think the odds were fair.
So Virgil will live alone for a while, until we can figure out if Ike and Mamie will accept him. We will build his new pen next to theirs, so they can sniff at each other and "talk" through the fence.
Because Virgil is so people-oriented, and is probably able to live inside the house without a lot of training, we are also looking for a possible adoptive placement for him. Virgil would make a great companion animal. He loves to be petted, he rides well in the car, he is gentle with people.
Virgil posed for this picture. He misunderstood the name of the farm. He thought we said Smiling Pig Farms, so he posed for a smiling pig picture!
Jay Hellerich, executive director
smiling dog farms
a 501(c)3 corporation
wharton, texas

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