When I was eleven, I was talking to my mom in the car one day on the way back from an orthodontist appointment. I began listing the pets I eventually wanted to have. Teacup pigs were one of the animals on my list, and I didn’t think too much of it, but I made a mental note to myself to look them up. Later that day, one of my friends came over. We began to talk about mini-pigs and it turned out someone she knew had one! We immediately began researching mini-pigs and places where we could buy one.
Instantly, I had a mini-pig obsession. That was all I ever talked about. I begged and begged to my parents to let me have one, but of course they said no. Two years later after wearing them down by making many, many pig related pamphlets and daily newsletters, they agreed. That summer, I would be getting a pig.
The day I picked out my pig is one of the most memorable days of my life so far. We drove for three hours to a tiny Texas town to visit the breeder’s house, which is where they kept their pigs. There were around fifteen piglets in a pen and I got to choose my favorite one. I chose the smallest and quietest piglet there was. She was silvery-tan with black spots and a cute pink and black nose. The breeder stepped inside the pen and scooped up the one I had chosen with a giant net. Voila! I finally had a pig!
I decided on a name for her. “Penelope.” She was so, so tiny, at the time- only three pounds! I immediately became her favorite because I spent the most time with her which made me feel like the best pig-mother there was. She slowly began following me around the house, and soon enough she was comfortable in my home.
But as time went on, the less needy yet more troublesome she got. Though I stopped having to wake up at 2 and 4 AM every morning to go sit with her outside while she used the bathroom, she started to become more aggressive and not quite as fun to be around, though I still loved her very much. My sister went from loving Penelope to hating her with a passion. As she got bigger, I noticed how small our yard is and how bored and sad she must be. My main interactions with her are her attempting to bite me and me being mad at her.
Also after getting Penelope, suddenly the word “pig” began to define me. Everything I had was pig related. When people ask, “What is unique about you?” I respond with, “I have a pet pig.” I use having a pig for excuses, conversation topics (which really annoys my sister), and essays and writings, such as this one. People walk by our house and ask, “Are y’all the people with the pig?” Anytime the word “pig” comes up at any point, whether it be at school or anyplace else, people look at me. Hardly a day goes by that someone doesn’t discover I have a pig, or I have a conversation about her.
I’m not at all saying that having a pig has been a bad experience or that I hate my name being next to the word “pig” in the dictionary- I really don’t mind it. It has had its good moments and bad moments, but overall it has been the biggest and best learning experience of my life. When I look at the difference between what I knew about pigs and responsibility when I first got Penelope versus now, I can tell I have learned so much. I love Penelope to death, and though I am not sure what I am going to do with her in the future- whatever it is- I hope it makes both her and me happier.