Feb 022012

My wife has a monkey on her back – and it’s a teacup pig!

If you’re not familiar with the Teacup Pig, it’s an absolutely adorable little swine which, when first born, can fit into a teacup. While people have been breeding miniature pigs for years Pennywell Farm in Devon, England developed this particularly adorable breed and the wife has become obsessed.

Teacup Pigs

Accept their cuteness before it destroys you!

So obsessed, in fact, that we made a pilgrimage to said farm and spent some time with the real thing. Our children are already fairly well traveled owing to the fact that we made the mistake of moving too far away from our families at a time just prior to that time in your life when you settle down, buy a house, and have some kids. If we had planned things better we would have stayed on the East coast (what’s wrong with Boston?) or found a place to settle down that had better weather for flying in the winter and cheap hangar fees.

As it happened, we were beginning to think that we might not be able to have a baby and Seattle, while considerably smaller than New York at first, turned out to be a ridiculously livable city. Moving the cats across the country was traumatic (like this) but the wife has a need for little furry things in her life so we brought them along; even though one of them had experienced a mental breakdown back in Brooklyn and didn’t really like anyone any more.

Once we were settled in Seattle the wife, who had always advocated for a dog, started to turn up the heat. I tried to resist as best I could. Not that I don’t like dogs but I was still fairly overwhelmed by the idea of keeping a little human alive. Cats were good; they poop in a box and generally take care of their own business. You have to walk a dog, rain or shine. As I’ve mentioned before, I would rather stay inside where it’s warm and read a book.

“It’s not fair to have a dog if we don’t have dog-land.” I would say, “As soon as we have dog-land we’ll get one.” Dog-land in my mind was a proper yard with a fence where fido could get some exercise and poop to her heart’s content. Another concern I had was the wife’s passion for large dogs, Irish setters, Irish wolfhounds, and other freakishly large breeds. I don’t mind saying I had more a medium size mutt in mind.

Once the kids were on the scene they joined in enthusiastically with the wife’s crusade. A dog, why not? “Daddy! Let’s get a dog!”

I continued with the dog-land argument until the wife reached critical mass and actually started going to shelters and pet stores to do some window-shopping. What she found was a delightful little mutt. Small and portable with a sweet disposition and generally ridiculously cute. Better yet, she also appears to be half cat considering that she sleeps about 20 hours a day and frolics joyfully for the remaining time. And our yard, while small, is a perfect dog-land for her.

But this adorable mutt wasn’t enough to satisfy my wife’s cravings for an entire menagerie and the next step has always been a pig. Yes, they’re very very cute – when they’re small. Teacup pigs (have I mentioned how intelligent and easily trained they are?) do have a tendency to grow into adult pigs who no longer fit in teacups. And, I’m sorry to say, the adults aren’t as attractive as the piglets (who are very clean, pigs are very clean animals).

The kids, who were thrilled with this adventure, were laying it on pretty thick. They knew what I wanted to name the dog so they decided to start the psychological warfare. “We can get a pig and we can name her Trixie! Isn’t Trixie a great name for a pig? We should get one!”

Grown-up teacup pig

If you're wondering at my reluctance, this is what you get when they no longer fit in a teacup.

“That would be great, but you know what we need?” The kids would shake their heads and stare up at me.

“We need pig land.”

“Pigland? What’s that? Is it like Disneyland for pigs?”

“Sure. If Disneyland were our backyard with a pig hutch, a trough, and lots of mud. Oh no! Mommy just landscaped the back yard. We can’t use that for pigland!”

Just as with a dog, I’m not averse to the idea of a pig. I would just prefer to have the proper outdoor venue for small-scale urban animal husbandry.

Yes, pigs can live indoors; they are pretty much like a dog in that regard. However, they are unfortunately like a human in the way they sweat and smell and evacuate their bowels. That’s why, while they can live indoors, most farms choose to keep them in a barn or a pen outside. A type of enclosure I like to call, Pig Land.

The family hasn’t given up. The wife still has that tiny pig monkey on her back and the writing is on the wall. Someday I’ll give in. Someday we will own a teacup pig and someday we will have pig land.

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