Poking a pig in the poke

Poking a pig in the poke

Turns out, pigs don't like 18-gauge needs—or the guy holding them
Sep 01, 2011

There were trees and vines and ivy and shrubs and bushes and fountains, and a pot-bellied pig.

That's right, one large pig called this paradise home. She was living in the perfect pig world. She had everything a pig could want. There was a muddy wallow, soft soil to root around in, shade, plenty of food and all the attention a pig could ask for.

My mission was to vaccinate the critter for all those bad pig diseases that might sneak into the yard. It was my last call of the day, and I had brought along my 5-year-old daughter. We entered through the house, and the hog owner took us to the pig paradise she called a backyard. I had to stop for a minute and think how wonderful it must have been to live in this yard. As I stood there absorbing the surroundings, my eyes fell on Prudence. She was sunning in a mud hole next to the forest that crept along the back fence. She was framed in ivy that was growing around the trees.

"Is she hard to catch?" was the first thing out of my mouth, as I pondered how I was going to give three shots to a free-roaming pig.

"Oh, no," replied the owner. "She just loves people and will come when I call her."

Sure enough, the lady gave a sweet-sounding yodel. The pig hopped out of the mud and came waddling toward the three of us. We petted her for a while, and I heard all the stories about having a pig living in the backyard.

The pig grunted and oinked as we scratched those hard-to-reach places. Life was good. I decided that the time was right to gently slip the first injection in her neck muscle. I tried the "sneak-it-in" approach. The moment the needle broke the skin, Prudence turned into the fastest-moving animal I had ever seen. In fact, her reaction startled me so much that I let go of the syringe and needle. As bad luck would have it, the needle stayed in.