She spends a fair bit of time outside of the xpen, in the mudroom with me. The mudroom is separated from the rest of the house by a dog gate. While she plays in the mudroom, I do mundane tasks like cleaning her pen, running laundry back and forth, taking her dishes to the kitchen. She sees me go through the dog gate. It took her all of about three observations to decide she would test her luck getting through the bars. She almost made it – and would likely have become stuck, head one side, belly the other, if I hadn’t stopped her. I now stretch the x-pen across the gate when Dover the Explorer is on the prowl.
So.... just what does one do to keep a wee little piggy entertained and meet the growing needs of her Very Big Brain? Most piglets her age would be rooting outside in the dirt and grass, looking for tasty bugs and worms and other things to eat. They would be running around with their siblings, stopping for a snooze in the sun or a roll in the mud, chasing butterflies and playing with falling leaves. But Dover is still too wee and vulnerable to expose her to the great outdoors.
Pigs may be very smart, but they also have very short attention spans. The toys she enjoyed for a short while yesterday and the day before – the I-cube and Wag-O twisty and the big round ball – are boring to her today.
She tastes the doormat and boot tray, nibbles my shoes, snuffles around the freezer for dust bunnies. She redecorates her xpen by shoving her crate over here, her blanket over there, and then does it all over again. She tips the water dish, shreds the pee pad, and checks in with me every few minutes to see if I happen to have anything for her.
I pull out some dog toys she hasn’t seen, and that keeps her busy for ... oh ....all of two minutes.
|Hmm...what's this? Oh, toys. Boring!|
I fix up a tray with some washed river rocks and tuck cheerios among them so she can root. That keeps her busy for perhaps five minutes.
Then she decides lifting up the corner of the tray with her snout and letting it bang back down is more fun. For perhaps 30 seconds.
I pull out some tiny dog clothes – they are awaiting transport to Broken Promises Rescue. I find an outfit that fits perfectly, but Dover is less than cooperative about modeling it and goes into a full fledged Drama Queen Routine. I’ve seen her wearing a Santa suit in the SPCA ad in the paper, but still I fear causing porcine heart failure, so I quickly remove it. So much for doing a fashion photo shoot for the porcine crowd.
|Get if off! Get it off! I iz NOT a fashion model!|
I suggest she hang her Christmas stocking on the door of her crate,
|Deah Santa, Fer Christmas I wud like a forever home!|
...and she wants a little tree as well, though her interest in it lasts only seconds.
|Nuffin' to eat on here. You'd think she'd hang some gingerbread cookies or sumthin'.|
I give her a few sheets of newspaper and she shakes them vigorously and races around the room waving one over her head like a flag. For all of 30 seconds. I invite the animal-loving teen next door over to meet her. Dover becomes very quiet and shy when visitors appear, but it gives her a new scent to investigate. For a minute or two.
I sit on the floor and she climbs all over me, nibbling at my shirt, tasting my hair, tugging on my pants, nosing her snout under my arm.
|Auntie Jean! I can pinch an inch!|
Eventually, she curls up on my lap for a nap.
|We can cuddle?|
I put her back in the xpen and leave the room. I’m hardly out the door before the squealing and squeaking, the barking and snorting, the oinking and crowing and noisy pig hollering begins once more.
I warm up some goat's milk and pigmush and feed her, even though it’s only two hours since she last ate. I leave again, and after a few minutes of histrionics she calms down and is fast asleep.
The toys and rocks and cheerios and clothes, the furniture and dustbunnies and my grey hair may not have been high value entertainment from her point of view, but the entertainment value to me was ......priceless.