The piggies have invented a new game called piggy whoop-whoop-whoop tag. Unfortunately, it was dusk when they demonstrated it for me, so I was unable to videotape it for you. But I assure you that it was the funniest thing they have ever done in the twenty-something months they have been with me. And so I shall try to describe it for you.
But first, let me fill in some background:
For the past three days, one of the pigsters has been quite ill. Derby had stopped eating - a sure sign of sickness in a pig - and seemed to be having trouble peeing and/or pooping with any regularity or ease. Although he was still drinking, on at least one occasion he vomited it back up shortly afterwards. I was afraid he had a blockage which could quickly prove fatal.
Pigs are not easy to pick up and take to a vet (if you can even find a vet who treats potbellied pigs). Potbellies naturally fear being trapped or captured, and Derby is one of my more skittish piggies so even crating him would be a three person job. Janice, at Hearts on Noses, currently has two very sick pigs, one of which has run up over $3000 in vet bills in the past week or so.
So the first line of attack when a pig seems ill is to try holistic approaches and keep a very close eye on the ailing piggy. For Derby, this meant filling the water dish with diluted cranberry juice (which all the piggies love, and helps prevent or dissolve small bladder crystals) and encouraging him to move around.
And so each day I bribe or coax them all outside, where they follow me like Mary and her lambs as we walk up and down the long driveway. Once they are actively rooting around on their own, I give them some play time under the hazelnut trees where they can scrounge for leftovers from last fall.
This morning, Derby was looking much better. He greeted me when I arrived with breakfast and for the first time in three days tried to steal the food dish from my hand, joined all the others for chow, went outside for generous amounts of greens (thanks Ellen!), and inhaled more cranberry joice. Good sign.
I rushed around all day on some time-sensitive business, and didn't get back to let them into the yard until dusk. Still, I didn't want to skip this part of Derby's very important treatment just as he was showing signs of recovery, so I grabbed the peanuts and played Pied Piper, much to the neighbours' amusement. Piggies followed me up and down the driveway (it is a long driveway which has a 90 degree curve, so edges two sides of the front lawn) several times as I scattered peanuts here and there......and then the game began.
Just as I reached the bottom of the driveway and was about to turn around, one piggy - I think Fizzy, though in the almost-dark it is hard to tell - suddenly tore off diagonally across the lawn toward the top of the driveway, yelling WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP. And the other pigsters took up the chase, also yelling WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP.
When first piggy reached the gate at the top of the driveway, he turned around and they all pushed and jostled and tagged each other with their snouties until another one broke away from the pack and came tearing back towards me, diagonally across the lawn, yelling WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP. The others gave him a two second lead and then took off after him in hot pursuit. WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP WHOOP.
They repeated this process six or seven times as I stood helplessly doubled over with laughter. Poor Mama Soda and Papa Scotch, who were trying to hunt for hazelnuts, tried to avoid the stampeding herd, but got bumped out the way on more than one occasion.
Eventually all the pigsters tore around in circles, just like my dogs do when they have the zoomies, before eventually clustering together for one giant pee-and-poop party in the middle of the lawn.
I swear - if I could have caught it on video and sent it to America's Funniest, Hearts on Noses pig sanctuary would never have to worry about vet bills again. It was a sure winner and the best entertainment I've seen in a long time.
And I am so very, very relieved that Derby is 100% back to normal.