My life is filled with some interesting animals. There are dogs, horses, donkeys, a mule, a sheep, and still more dogs. And there are pigs. Big, glorious, not intended for bacon pigs. But today, there is one less pig.
My dear, fabulous, stupendous, brilliant pig among pigs, Spamela Anderson died today. We have known for some time that she was nearing the end of her days. She was quite old and honestly, I think she just got tired of being here.
I am sad. I will miss my beautiful pink girl. If you have never had a long term friendship with a pig, and I’m betting that most of you have not, you have truly missed out. But sadness will not define Spammy’s memory. Not by a long shot. I’m not writing this to mourn the loss of a special animal or to gain your sympathy. Spammy pig’s life was filled with too many great moments to allow me to do anything but smile when I think of her.
I’m writing this to celebrate the fact that this little piggy got to live a long, natural life, something that most pigs never experience. I’m also writing in remembrance of all of the good things she brought to my world. Yes, I do believe a pig was one of my most profound spirit animals.
I last wrote about Spamela in October when she was under the weather. In that post (read it here), I detailed how Spamela trotted out of the animal shelter and into my world as a tiny, pink, perfect piglet on her little high-heeled hooves. She captured my heart from our first hello.
I often refer to Spamela as my divorce pig. She entered stage right, as my husband of 15 years was exiting stage left. In my new-found independent state, I welcomed the one animal into my home that my husband had always said we could never have. “Whatever you do, don’t bring home a pig. I don’t like pigs.”
So when a pig literally fell into my lap, and despite the fact that it was during a very uncertain period in my life…I wasn’t even sure where I was going to live…I welcomed her little wrinkled nose and curly-q tail with open arms and lots of strawberries. She loved strawberries. Spammy was a funny little bright spot during an otherwise exhausting time. Is it possible that a little pig gave me strength? I have to say yes.
I will tell you that I even sold my beautiful wedding ring and used the money to buy panels to build a hog pen. Yes, I did.
I think my husband had a premonition about this. When we were parting ways and playing the this-is-mine-that-is-yours game, he asked if he could have the ring because he was afraid I would just sell it. Well, hell yes, I sold it. It was precisely the exclamation point I needed to close one chapter of my life and kick off another.
(By the way…I don’t hate the guy. Divorce was not fun, but OH the great life that followed it. Yes, I was/am grateful for divorce…and so was a pink baby pig.)
So my little piggy and I started figuring out our new life together.
A few days after I got her, a friend named Jim came by to meet her and when I asked him what I should name her, the name Spamela Anderson popped right out of his mouth. Perfect! Who knew that a year later that guy named Jim would be an important part of my/our world. Spammy, you little matchmaker, you.
This leads us to one of my all-time favorite Spamela stories. That Jim guy had been out taking care of the animals in the barn on a cold winter evening. When he came back into the house he looked a bit dazed and had two perfect cloven hoof prints on the front of his coveralls.
What the heck?
Well, it seems that Jim had tried to convince a very hungry, very large Spamela that she should calmly wait her turn to be fed. Yes. He was telling a 600 to 700 pound hog to “wait.”
Spamela had other ideas that resulted in Jim finding himself flat on his back in the doorway of the barn. The quote heard ‘round the world that night was, “Normally, if I tell you I saw nothing but pink tits passing over my face it’s a good thing.”
I should have expressed proper concern over the fact that Jim had just been trampled by a large hog. I really should have. I failed. Oh how I failed. I’m still failing that test to this very day. Sorry Jim, but it was hysterical. Bruises fade, but the mental picture of Spamela running straight over the top of you will stay with me forever.
Fast forward a bit more to the time when a local television reporter came out to do a story about the amazing Spamela. He had read an article about her in our local pet magazine and thought she would make a fun human interest piece. You see, Spamela could do all kinds of tricks. I had trained her from the time she was a piglet and she easily learned to sit, stay, lie down, kick a soccer ball, and even do some of the agility exercises our dogs could do. That pig could run a good set of weave poles in her day.
Of course when the reporter showed up with cameraman in tow, Spamela, who was normally quite a ham (yeah, I went there) walked out of the barn, yawned and did absolutely nothing. Nadda. Not ONE trick. She wouldn’t even sit.
Needless to say the reporter had to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear (oh yeah, I went there too) to pull a story out of that fiasco. Spamela looked lovely standing perfectly still on camera while the reporter and I talked about the tricks she supposedly could do. I now know how nerve-wracking it is for parents when their kid freezes on stage during his kindergarten play.
And you know, from that day forward, Spammy never did another trick. She was still her lovely, friendly self, but she made it clear that she was her own pig and her idea of fun was to nap in the straw, root around in the mud, and plant a dirty nose print on any unsuspecting human’s butt. She didn’t need no stinkin’ party tricks.
Important life lesson: You can lead a hog to weave poles, but you can’t force her to weave. You can take that literally or metaphorically. (I’m not that deep though, so take it at face value.)
But of all of the memories I have of Spammy, my very favorites are simply the times that she and I just got to hang out together on a pretty day. A girl and her hog.
I will also always remember the special little noise she made just for me since she was a tiny baby. It was a soft, guttural “ah, ah, ah” sound. I always liked to think it was pig-speak for “mom”…or it could have translated to “human who brings food.” Whatever it meant, I believe it was an expression of endearment on her part.
And now, just a couple of months shy of her 13th birthday, the little piglet who became a very old hog has moved on. I don’t believe she is hanging out anywhere waiting for a reunion following my demise. No, I think Spamela will come back as something new and equally fabulous. Perhaps a fashion model. Or more likely a New York socialite. Or a famous movie star. I can absolutely see her spirit gracing the big screen.
This little piggy never went to market. This little piggy found a loving home. This little piggy lived a long, wonderful life. This little piggy earned her wings.
And now, this little piggy has learned to fly.
Thanks for everything, Spammy pig. Ah, ah, ah right back at you.