The True Adventures of Wilbur the Pig Chapter 19…”Wilbur Takes a Bow”

It is now spring of 2009, and Wilbur is approaching his seventh birthday. He is a slimmed down 250 pounds give or take a couple of pounds. He is a very happy and healthy pig.

Our pet population is approaching a small zoo of animals. We now have six dogs, (as documented in my past post “Big Daddy’s Blues”). Besides Princess, Bobby, and Simon, we now have Chloe, a skittish but lovable American bulldog, and Buddy, an eager to please, insatiable loving Golden Retriever. Chloe and Buddy came to us from my stepson Jason when he moved down here for a year or so, and stayed with us when Jason moved back up north. We also have Sophie, a small Terrier mixed breed that Rhea took in when a friend of hers moved into a pet-free condo last fall. On top of six dogs, and a pig, we also feed two neighborhood cats (whom I have named Carrie and Molly) on a nightly basis.

Many things have changed, but then again many things haven’t. Simon will still try to pick a fight with Wilbur from time to time, and Bobby will still bark and snap at Wilbur when Wilbur comes up to me for attention and Bobby wants me all to himself.

There are other things that haven’t changed much either. Wilbur still looks out the front screen door from time to time, dreaming of being “Mr. Big shot front yard pig”, and roaming the neighborhood. He is also still very sneaky. His new favorite antic is sneaking into the laundry room where we keep the dog food, and chewing a hole in the bottom of the bag so he can get an illicit snack. Rhea tries to keep an eye on him, but it is difficult to do when her arms are full of clothes.

Wilbur doesn’t really try to hump the furniture any more. Instead he takes cushions off of the sofa and pushes them out side so he can have his way with them; all of this in spite of the fact that he has his fifth generation “girlfriend” at his disposal out in the backyard. Like a typical guy he is always looking for something strange.

Wilbur hasn’t “talked” to me in sometime; I guess he only feels the need to say something is when he is miffed about something. The last time he communicated with me was last summer when we had steak for dinner.

Steak night is a big night for everyone in the house, including the dogs; because they know daddy will have treats for them. Every time we have steak for supper, (every two weeks or so) I save all of the fat, and gristle from my steak, and any other scraps I can get from the others, and cut them up in pieces. I then call all of the dogs out into the kitchen. I then proclaim to the dogs “I will call your names in order of seniority, when I call your name, you eat. If you go out of turn, you will lose a turn.” I then call out each dog’s name and toss them a treat. We keep going around the horn until I run out of treats.

Last summer we had a steak night, I cut up all of the scraps, and then I called all of the dogs out to the kitchen. I just got done delivering my spiel when Wilbur came out and joined us. He looked at me and I knew what he was saying; “Hey, I’m the most senior pet here. How come I don’t get any treats?” I thought about it for a second and said “You’re right Wilbur.” I didn’t want to give him any meat, so I grabbed half of a baked potato, slathered it in sour cream, and cut it into five pieces. Wilbur, being the most senior pet started each round of treats. When I called his name I took a piece of the sour cream coated potato and fed it to him. He was delighted, and so were the dogs. Wilbur is now included in every steak night. The squeaky wheel, or in this case the telepathic pig, always gets the grease.

As I said before, Wilbur is almost seven years old. I have been told that the average potbelly pig lives to be fifteen. This means that Wilbur is now a middle aged pig. Perhaps he will start to calm down, or at least slow down; but so far he has not shown us he has any inclination to do so. As sneaky as he is, he has become my best buddy, and I am glad that I let Rhea talk me into getting him all of those years ago. I am sure that we will have many more adventures together in the future.

Post Script: Believe it or not as I was writing this final chapter about Wilbur and us, Rhea and Jeff were in the main bedroom room giving it a fresh coat of new paint. For some odd reason they didn’t close the bedroom door. While they were preoccupied painting, guess who, snuck into the room? Guess who now has a fresh coat of white paint all over his snout, and is getting yelled at? Guess who is trying to sneak back into the house? This was supposed to be the last chapter, but now I am not so sure. Tomorrow they are painting the walls a lilac purple. I can see it now, “The True Adventures of Wilbur the Pig…The Purple Pig”

PPS: My boy Wilbur passed away 2/13/15 after sustaining an injury knocking something over on our patio. I will forever miss my buddy, and Rhea will always miss her “Pumpkin Pie”.

Wilbur the pig Muehleisen: 7/15/2002 – 2/13/15. Adopted by us 10/15/2002 RIP


The True Adventures of Wilbur the Pig…Chapter 18 “The Mysterious Shrinking Pool”

The arrivals of Bobby and Simon changed the balance of power in our household. Before this Wilbur had not had any real problems with any of the dogs. Dylan, and Toby had become buddies with the young pig, and Bruno, and Princess were mostly aloof about him. Wilbur was now faced with his first two real antagonists; Simon, and Bobby were definitely not fans of Wilbur. Bobby never really did much to hurt Wilbur, but he would bark and snap at him anytime Wilbur wanted to approach me. Simon however could be vicious with poor Wilbur, attacking him and biting at him until Wilbur’s ears would be bleeding and sore.

I handled each dog in a different manner. Bobby was just trying to be protective of me, and was not nasty in nature. When Wilbur would approach me to get his ears, or his tummy rubbed; and Bobby barked and snapped at him; I would tell Bobby that it is Wilbur’s turn to get love, and that I would pet him some more later on. Bobby was a very mindful dog, and I seldom had any problems with him, and if I did, I just put him in the house until Wilbur was ready for bed.

Simon was a totally different story. Simon was a man-child of a dog, large in stature, but short on smarts and emotional development. Every time he saw Wilbur on the back patio he wanted to start something with him. It was very annoying to both Wilbur and me. Because Simon was just an overgrown puppy, I didn’t want to get too heavy handed with him, but I had to find a way to get him to listen to me, and to back off on Wilbur. I instituted the “two fingers” policy with Simon. Every time Simon got too rambunctious, or mean with Wilbur I would give Simon a slap across the bridge of his nose with my first two fingers. This was not enough to hurt him, but certainly enough to get his attention and let him know I was displeased. It did not take long before the sight of me holding up two fingers and saying “Simon, leave Wilbur alone or you’ll get two fingers!” would make Simon leave Wilbur alone, and run away. Even today, two years later, whenever Simon is bad, all I have to do is hold up two fingers as if I were making the Cub Scout sign, and Simon will head inside the house. Never underestimate the power of two fingers.

Being from up north, Rhea and I are intrinsically different from other Floridians; we like being outdoors, and we love the sun. Most Floridians avoid the sun as if it were the plague, and spend their entire existence indoors in air conditioned comfort. As a result the average person living in Florida is as pale as a sheet; the only tanned people here are the tourists, the construction workers, landscapers, and us northern transplants.

In May of that year Rhea decided that she needed some color so we went to a local Big Lots store and bought a 12’ pool on sale. This pool was nothing more than a big kiddies’ pool with a big blow up ring on the top that would make the pool rise as you filled it up with water. It was just big enough for three or four adults, and an inflatable mattress. Rhea would float on her mattress like the Queen of Sheba soaking up the sun, while Jeff and I would hang off the inflatable ring drinking beer and smoking (cigars for me, and cigarettes for Jeff). We spent many enjoyable afternoons lounging around in that pool.

There was one problem though; we could never keep water in the pool. Every day I would have to replace 20-25 gallons of water that would mysteriously disappear each night. Now, water does not come cheaply here in Homestead, so I tried to find out what the problem was. Jeff, and I checked, and re-checked the pool many times for leaks, but we could not find any. I knew that the hot sun down here would make the water evaporate some, but certainly not enough to account for the loss we were experiencing. It was, to say the least very baffling.

One Friday night I was out on the patio after dark watching my sports shows on TIVO, when I heard the sound of rushing water. I could not figure out what was going on or where it came from. I rushed inside and grabbed a big lantern flash light to see what was going on. I shined the light around the back yard, and found out the answer to our mystery. There was Wilbur, up on the pool pushing down the inflatable ring with his front hooves; having a drink of water and cooling off his undersides with the water flowing out of the pool! “Wilbur, What the hell do you think you’re doing?!” I shouted. A very surprised and startled Wilbur hopped off the pool and shimmied away into the dark. I should have known. Of course a large pan of fresh water would not be good enough for Wilbur, not when there was 600 gallons of cool fresh water there for the taking.

I am sure that Wilbur, being the envious pig that he is, was watching all of us have fun in the pool cooling off, then, bided his time to have his fun later when we were not around. I am sure he was miffed at us for not getting him his own pool like we did a couple of years before.

I guess I don’t blame him, but Wilbur was much too big now for a pool like his old kiddies’ pool. We remedied that problem by hosing him down daily with our back yard hose, which he loved immensely. Oh well, live, and learn.

The True Adventures of Wilbur the Pig…Chapter 17 “Return of the Party Animal”

We were all very happy to get Wilbur home with no problems from the police, or Animal Services; once again we had dodged a potential bullet because of Wilbur’s antics. Wilbur always took everything in stride, but he was turning Rhea, and I into nervous wrecks. If there was something Wilbur could get into, he would somehow find a way to get into it.

You might wonder how something as big as a 300 pound pig could keep escaping our notice to get into the trouble that he did. I can only tell you that Wilbur was very smart, and that he was persistent; he also knew when to pick his spot. Wilbur also had this nonchalant way of ambling around the house, to see him you would never guess that he was up to something. He would also wait until you were busy or occupied with something, and then make his move. All in all, Wilbur was one crafty pig.

The pet line up in our household had gone through some changes in the next year. My old dog Dylan had passed away from old age, and Bruno had contracted a mysterious urinary tact disease and had to be put to sleep. After Bruno’s passing Rhea went into a deep depression, and I knew the only way to bring her out of it was to get her a new Rottweiler.

I went back to the Miami-Dade adoption center, but to my dismay found that there were no Rottweiler’s available. I went back again about a week later only to find there was still no Rottweiler’s; but there was a dog who had been there a week before. He looked like a skinny rot, but was probably half Doberman. He was scarred from a lifetime of living on the street, and he looked pretty beaten up. Unlike the other dogs there, he was very quiet, but friendly when I talked to him. I could see on his card that he had been in custody for almost three weeks; that meant if he wasn’t adopted real soon he would be put to sleep. I adopted him, and named him Bobby. I was correct in my assumption that they were anxious to get rid of him, because they rushed the paper work and had him leave with me that day.

I brought Bobby home and tried to pass him off as a Rottweiler to Rhea, but she would have nothing to do with poor Bobby. Bobby became my dog. Within two months Bobby had healed up, and fattened up to the point that you would not have recognized him as the dog I brought home. Bobby became my “bodyguard” because he would always sit next to me on the patio, and make that sure nobody threatened me. This would lead to many spats between him and Wilbur. These spats kept up until Bobby learned that Wilbur wasn’t out to harm me, just to get petted, and loved.

A couple of months later I made one more trip to the adoption center, and got lucky. When I didn’t find any Rottweiler’s in the main section, I “wandered” into the off limits section. There I saw the handlers bringing in a new dog that was a Rottweiler! After I had apologized to the handler for being where I should not have been, I asked him about the new dog. “He is a male, very young, and very friendly, and he needs a new home.”My prayers had been answered! I adopted him, and a week later I brought him home. Rhea was ecstatic! She decided to name him Simon, which had been her father’s middle name.

Simon was basically a puppy, but a large puppy. Like Bruno, and Bobby, he was very skinny when I brought him home; but he soon got fatter, and grew even larger. Simon was the big dog, and he knew it! He constantly used his size to push around the other dogs when suppertime came. He was also big enough that he was not afraid of Wilbur. Wilbur is a lover, not a fighter, but he knew enough not to back down to this young upstart bully. We had many fights out on the back patio with Wilbur, and Simon, going at it like two huge sumo wrestlers; pushing patio table and chairs around, and me screaming at the top of my lungs “Stop it! Both of you go lie down!” They eventually did get used to each other, though like brothers they still will brawl from time to time.

September of that year was the occasion of my fiftieth birthday. Rhea decided to throw me a big party on our large back patio. We had friends and family come, and we had Wilbur, and the dogs. We had music, fire works, party hats, beer, and food. Wilbur, Bobby, Simon, and Princess, all wore party hats, and helped daddy celebrate turning fifty. Wilbur the party animal was in his glory, drinking beer, and wandering around getting food from the other partiers. Wilbur, I, and the others, partied late into the evening until Wilbur had had enough, then he just walked through the house to his bedroom, where he passed out until late the next morning.

When he got up the next day I think he was a little hung over, because he was even more grumpy than usual. I said to him, “Don’t be crabby with me! If you can’t handle your beer, don’t drink it!” Good words to live by, even if you are a pig.

All in all, it was a birthday party I never will forget.

The True Adventures of Wilbur the Pig Chapter 16 “The Wanderer”

Wilbur was now a more obedient pig than before, but that was not the same as being a good pig. Wilbur still had a mind of his own, and with that mind came desires, urges, and needs.

Though Wilbur was now forever banished to the backyard, he still longed for the freedom of the front yard. Wilbur would spend hours staring out the front screen door, imagining himself as “Mr. Big shot front yard pig” carousing our front yard, and our neighbor’s yards as far as he could see. I would see Wilbur stare longingly out the front door and I would say to him “Don’t even think about it big fella, that is one problem neither one of us needs.” Wilbur would just stare ahead; little did I know that he was biding his time, waiting for his chance. That is one thing about Wilbur, he is a very patient pig; and very determined.

One day while I as at work, Jeff left to run some errands. He swung the front door shut and hopped into Rhea’s Mustang. Jeff hadn’t noticed that the front door had not closed tightly, but Wilbur did. After Jeff drove away Wilbur walked up to the front door and gave it a push with his snout. It was if Wilbur had said “Open Sesame!” because the door swung open for him. I’m sure Wilbur was feeling very pleased with himself as he walked out into the sunshine of the front yard.

“Mr. Big shot, front yard pig” was back! Wilbur spent an hour or two strutting around the front yard smelling the new smells, and snouting the different plants, when he thought to himself, “Why confine my wishes and desires to this small yard, when I can go anywhere?”

So Wilbur decided to go exploring. While humming the song “Don’t Fence Me In” to himself, Wilbur started strolling down the sidewalk.

When Jeff got home he noticed that the front door was wide open and wondered why. He found Rhea in our bedroom watching “Judge Judy”, and asked her if she left the front door open for a reason. Rhea had worked the night before tending bar, and had not got home until the wee hours of the morning so she replied, “No, I just woke up and haven’t been out of the bedroom all day. Why?” He told her that he just got back from running errands and found the front door wide open. “Oh no, the dogs must have got out!” she exclaimed. “No, I left all the dogs on the back patio before I left, and they are still there.” They looked at each other and said at the same time, “Wilbur!” They searched the entire house, and the back yard, but there was no sign of Wilbur.

Wilbur, being the lazy pig that he is, is a late sleeper; often not coming out of his closet/bedroom until after 11:00 am. He must have got up just before, or just after Jeff had left, and noticed that the door was not shut tight.

At that time I was on my way home from work when my cell phone rang. It was Rhea. “Wilbur’s gone, somehow he got the front door open and he took off.” “Are you sure?” I asked, “Did you check the house and back yard for him?” “We looked everywhere for him, but he’s not here!” Rhea blurted out. “Ok, ok, calm down. He couldn’t have gone too far.” I said. “Start looking through our neighbor’s yards; I’ll be home in a half an hour.”

As I raced home all the different possible scenarios played through my head; and most of them were not good. To half of the people in my area, Wilbur would be nothing more than 300 pounds of free bacon, and the other half would call Miami-Dade Animal Services, or the police on him. Since it was only about 2:30 in the afternoon, I was hoping that perhaps Wilbur had not yet been noticed by any of these people.

When I got home I saw Rhea and Jeff down the street looking through the front yards of our neighbors. One thing in our favor was that in our area everyone’s backyard is fenced off, so we knew that Wilbur could not have wandered into someone’s backyard where we couldn’t see him; but we had no idea which yard he had wandered into.

After checking all the yards on our street, we checked the side street with no luck. We got to the next street a block behind our house, where we saw a group of school kids talking and pointing at something in one of the yards. We walked up to see what they were pointing at. There lying in the shade of a big bush was Wilbur, sleeping. “What is that mister?” one of the kids asked me. “That is our pet potbelly pig.” I replied. “His name is Wilbur, and he has been very bad, we need to take him home.” I walked over and yelled “Wilbur! What are you doing here? You need to get home now!” Wilbur got up and grunted to show his displeasure at being woken up. As Wilbur walked by all of the children backed away in fear. “Don’t be afraid” I said. “Wilbur won’t hurt you. Here, come and pet him. He loves to be petted.” I stroked the bridge of his nose to demonstrate what Wilbur liked. Though timid, each kid took a turn stroking Wilbur’s nose. “His hair feels funny, like bristles!” One child exclaimed. “Yes his fur coat is different than a dog’s” I explained. “But he likes to be petted just like a dog.”

So there we were, the whole group of us escorting Wilbur back home. When we got to our house, all of the kids petted Wilbur one more time and said goodbye. From time to time the kids will still ring our doorbell and ask us if they can pet him.

The True Adventures of Wilbur the Pig Chapter 15…”The Pig Whisperer”

Now we had a green pig, but that was not all that had turned green. Besides Jeff’s carpet, the fronts of two dressers, and a door that Wilbur had rubbed against, were now permanently green.

Wilbur had turned into a Denis the Menace with hooves. He was always getting into trouble, and he was always getting yelled at or spanked for something. They say that cats are curious creatures, but they are nothing compared to an overgrown, spoiled rotten, teenage pig. We had to “Wilbur-proof” our entire house by putting brass plates on the bottom of the patio doors, putting latches on cupboard, closet, laundry, and bedroom doors; any place we wanted to try to keep Wilbur out of. Considering that this was the pig that wanted nothing to do with us his first week, we now could not get away from him! He was always underfoot or getting into something he shouldn’t be. But just like that teenage kid you have that you want to hug, and strangle at the same time, we loved Wilbur, and we knew he loved us.

As much as we all loved Wilbur, we were also getting very tired of yelling at him all of the time. I didn’t know it, but Wilbur was also tired of getting yelled at all the time.

One evening after I got home from work, I was sitting on the back patio watching my favorite shows on TIVO, enjoying a cold beer, smoking a cigar, and sipping on a shot of bourbon. The dogs were inside eating their supper, so Wilbur was on the patio with me with the doors shut tight. Wilbur wanted to get inside to help the dogs finish off their suppers, so he was trying to pry the doors open with his big bottom teeth. After yelling at him about five times to leave the doors alone, and to go lie down, I had had enough. He had started trying to open the doors one more time when I stood up and screamed at him “Wilbur you are not going in the house! Go lie down before I wail the shit out of you!” Instead of running away Wilbur spun around and faced me defiantly.

This was it! Father and teenage son squared off in a battle of wills. I was staring at him ready to either attack or defend myself, when I received a telepathic message in my head. “Why are you so mean to me? And why are you always yelling at me?” I immediately relaxed and said out loud in a calm but firm voice to him. “I yell at you because you do not listen to me. You have to understand that I am the boss, and what I say goes. If you will do as I say, I agree not to yell at you any more. Now go lie down and be a good pig.” Wilbur turned and walked to the other side of the patio and laid down.

Now I know that there are plenty of you out there asking yourself, “Just how many beers, and shots did you have Mike?” and to be truthful it was probably a couple of each; but the experience was real to me, and real to Wilbur, because I have not had to yell at him to get him to obey since. Rhea was very skeptical when I told her the story, but she could not account for the fact that Wilbur would listen, and obey me without having to be yelled at.

The next summer on a very hot and humid day, (as they all are here in South Florida) I came out on the patio after work. Wilbur was looking into the house through the door windows. I could see he was agitated and wanted to go inside so I asked him “What’s the matter Wilbur?” He told me in no uncertain terms that he was upset that the dogs got to stay inside the cool air-conditioned house, while he had to stay outside in the heat. I said to him, “Mommy wants you outside because she is afraid you will sneak off and hump the furniture. If you promise to leave the furniture alone, I will let you inside, but if I catch you humping the furniture, I will kick you outside, and you will spend the rest of the night outside.” Wilbur agreed. As I opened the door to let him in, Rhea said, “What are you doing? I want him outside away from the furniture!” I told her that Wilbur was jealous that the dogs get to stay inside in the cool, and that he wasn’t. I also told her that Wilbur promised to leave the furniture alone. She begrudging let him in. Wilbur walked over to an open area of the rug and laid down. He kept his word not to mess with the furniture the rest of that summer.

Now Wilbur does not always communicate with me telepathically; he normally will just grunt his displeasure if I make him do something he doesn’t want to do, just like any kid would; and I think that is cute. He is a little grumpy in the morning when he first wakes up, like most people, and he doesn’t like to be prodded outside to go to the bathroom. He is also a little grumpy when he is tired and wants to go to bed. He often reminds both Rhea, and me of my son Mitchell, who is a bit of a grouch. We think they are both cute.

The True Adventures of Wilbur the Pig Chapter 14…”The Painted Pig”

As Wilbur approached his second birthday his appearance started undergoing a transformation. He grew what I can only describe as tusks. He had two large pointed teeth come up from his bottom jaw, one on each side of his jaw that looked like mini elephant tusks. He also had two tusks like growths that came from the front of his lower jaw and grew back toward his neck; I call these his “side bars”. These side bar tusks have had to be trimmed once a year so they wouldn’t dig into his neck and cause him extreme discomfort.

Together, these tusks give Wilbur a kind of sinister look, but he has never used them to attack or hurt anyone, or the dogs. The only time I have had to look out for them is when Wilbur wants to show me love by rubbing up against my leg. He has accidentally scraped me a couple of times when he wanted me to pet him and I wasn’t paying attention. Wilbur has never had a mean or aggressive bone in his body and he has always been very affectionate.

Wilbur is also very smart, and I do mean VERY smart. This intelligence, coupled with his stubbornness, and his spoiled rottenness, can lead to trouble. I say this because Wilbur can be very sneaky when he wants something. The thing that makes Wilbur so bad besides this sneakiness is his persistence. When Wilbur wants something, like getting in the house, or illicit food, you have to either bar the doors, or watch him constantly because Wilbur will not stop until he has got what he wants; and if he doesn’t get what he wants, he is not above tearing up the patio to show his displeasure, call it throwing his weight around if you will.

When we bought our house in Homestead, all of the interior walls and ceilings throughout the whole house were painted white. After a year and a half of all white all of the time, Rhea decided we needed some color inside the house. She had just got hired as a bartender at a tiki bar in Florida City, which gave us some spare income. We picked out colors, and bought some latex paint on sale at the Home Depot. We brought the paint home and we went to work.

We were painting the living room ceiling and walls, when Wilbur managed to pry open the back patio doors with his bottom teeth. As soon as he walked into the house he smelled the paint and made a bee line for the nearest can. We have already talked about Wilbur’s love for the smell of gasoline; well we found out that he has the same fascination for house paint. While we were distracted painting the ceiling with a fresh coat of white, Wilbur walked over and dunked his snout in the paint can! Rhea saw him and shouted “get away from there” which startled Wilbur and made him back away from the can. Too late! Wilbur’s snout now had a fresh coat of white paint on it. I got a moist rag and washed most of the paint off of his snout, then kicked his butt back outside. However, he now knew that we had “yummy” paint inside, so he bided his time, and waited for his next opportunity.

This opportunity presented itself the next day after we finished painting Sean’s bedroom. Sean decided he wanted to paint his bedroom with his favorite color, a deep forest green. After we finished, we still had half a gallon of green paint, so in order to save money Jeff decided to mix some white paint with the green to paint his bedroom a light green. Rhea and I left to buy some more paint and left Jeff alone to paint his bedroom. After painting for an hour or so, Jeff thought he would take a cigarette break on the back patio.

Out back while Jeff was distracted lighting a cigarette, and grabbing a beer, Wilbur slipped into the house unnoticed. Wilbur in his nonchalant sneaky manner ambled down the hall to Jeff’s room to find the door had been left open. Wilbur went inside, found the can, and the roller tray filled with paint, and he had a grand old time! First he stuck his snout into the paint, then he knocked the can over on to the bedroom carpet, then he flipped over the roller tray. Now that he had a nice puddle of light green paint in the middle of the carpet he rolled his entire body in the puddle!

Rhea and I came home from the store to see Jeff relaxing on the back patio. “So, how goes the painting?” I asked, “Are you done yet?” “Nah not yet, I thought I would take a little beer, and cigarette break.” He replied. I looked around the patio, “Where’s Wilbur?” I asked him. “He was just here a second or two ago….” We ran down the hall to Jeff’s room and there he was, sleeping in the middle of a huge green spot in the middle of Jeff’s cream colored rug, covered head to toe in light green paint!

Rhea almost fainted, and I blew my stack. “Wilbur! Get your piggy ass outside NOW!” Wilbur got up with a start and ran down the hall, through the living room, and out the back doors leaving little light green piggy hoof prints behind him on the white tile floors.

Wilbur looked like some punk rocker gone amok with a tattoo gun. I took the hose and sprayed him down. I managed to wash some of the paint off of him, but Wilbur’s skin was a nice light green for almost two years before all of the paint finally wore off. The rug in Jeff’s room had to be torn up and replaced, because no matter how many times we washed, and shampooed it, we never got the paint out.

You want to talk about the times that try a man’s soul? After this last escapade I was seriously considering having a block party with Wilbur as the main course.

Next: Wilbur “talks” to me.

The True Adventures of Wilbur the Pig Chapter 13 “Hog Heaven”

I really didn’t know that there were restrictions about having a pot belly pig for a pet, but I later read how a school teacher was fighting the City of Homestead to keep her pet pig. The City had lumped together all pigs in the classification of “livestock”, and banned them from residential areas. The lady fought City Hall, and eventually won, keeping her pig; but this was not something I cared to go through.

Wilbur’s days as a front yard pig were short lived. We did eventually find out which neighbor snitched to the authorities, after we had another visit from the authorities about a pig, (that they never found) and a couple more about our dogs. It turned out that the cops hated this guy (because he complains about all the neighbors), and told him he better not to bother them again with stupid complaints. So far, he hasn’t.

There was one big problem that had yet to be solved, and that was Wilbur’s weight. His belly was getting so big that it literally scraped the ground as he walked. Since we couldn’t get him leg extensions, we decided to put him on a diet. Rhea and I drove to the Redlands and visited a feed store there. We told them of our problem, and found out that we should not be feeding a potbelly pig dog food, cocoa puffs, bread, meat, and a host of Wilbur’s other favorite foods. We left the feed store with a bag of potbelly pig food, and a bag of corn to mix with the food.

Wilbur had always been raised as a junk food junkie, and he did not take to his change of diet well. The first couple of days were really tough for the poor pig. Wilbur was used to getting a bowl of cocoa puffs every morning for breakfast, and several snacks throughout the day, topped off with a dish of dry dog food for supper; but now he was just getting a dish of pig food mixed with corn once a day at supper. Like any junkie, Wilbur spent a lot of time trying to secure a fix. He started rummaging through the kitchen garbage can, and raiding the dog’s dishes, by pushing the dogs out of the way. This did not go over well with the dogs, and every night a fight would erupt. To solve this problem we had to start feeding the dogs inside, and Wilbur outside with the doors tightly closed.

At this time Mrs. Pulee was out of town staying at her daughter’s house in Tampa, so she wasn’t spoiling him with treats anymore, and Wilbur was becoming frantic. He started experimenting with other substances to get him by. One of his favorites was gasoline.

One day while mowing the lawn Jeff left the gas can on the back patio where Wilbur could get at it. This was a big mistake because we found out that Wilbur loves gasoline…the hard way. Wilbur knocked over the gas can and started going crazy over the spilt gasoline. Fortunately Jeff saw what was going on before Wilbur started the house on fire, or before he poisoned himself. We now know better, and keep the gas can out of Wilbur’s reach.

Slowly, but surely, Wilbur adjusted to his new diet, and within six months he had lost enough weight that there was a 2-3 inch gap between his belly and the ground. Wilbur could start going up and down the step from the edge of the patio to the back yard with little difficulty.

Since it was a very hot and humid summer (as they all are down here), we decided to reward Wilbur with his own pool to keep cool in.

Rhea and I drove down to Florida City to the Super Wal Mart. There we looked over a selection of kiddie’s pools, looking for one that Wilbur could get into, and out of, and one that could stand his weight. We bought a nice five foot pool made out of a durable plastic. The pool was only a little over a foot deep, but we knew that with Wilbur’s water displacement, it would be perfect for him.

We brought it home and filled it up with water. The whole time we were filling it up, Wilbur stood by with his tail swishing anxiously. We had got the pool only half full when Wilbur decided that he could wait no longer. We finished filling up the pool with Wilbur lying in it as if he were King Farouk.

Once again Wilbur was a big shot, this time with his own pool. Wilbur looked so cute in his little pool! I remarked that all he needed now was a cold beer, and a cigar, and he would be in hog heaven.

Now it was the dog’s turn to get jealous. They all wanted to get in the pool, but with King Farouk in it there was no room for anybody else.

Wilbur spent the rest if that summer in sublime ecstasy. Between his new pool, and his new “girlfriend”, he had everything he needed to be in hog heaven.

Next: The Painted Pig

The True Adventures of Wilbur the Pig Chapter 12…”Ain’t No Pig Around Here”

Now that Wilbur had an outlet for his pent up piggy urges, things settled down to our normal level of bedlam around our household. At the time, our roster of pets besides Wilbur included Bruno a large but lovable Rottweiler, Princess, a lovable golden retriever mix, and my old dog Dylan.

After the death of her beloved rot Bluedoe, Rhea pined away for another rot. For her birthday in August 2003 I went to the Dade County Pet Adoption Center, and adopted a rot I named Bruno. I was a little anxious picking him up and driving him home in rush hour traffic by myself; but I had nothing to be worried of. Bruno was so scared of the car and traffic he nearly crapped on the seat on the way home. When I brought him home from the center he was as skinny as a rail, from a lifetime of living on the street, but within six months Rhea had fattened him up so that he was now a virtual clone of Bluedoe.

About six months after getting Bruno, we felt that he needed a younger playmate, because Dylan was getting too old to want to romp with the younger rot. I went back to the adoption center and found Princess. Princess was a house dog who got dropped off because her owners were moving and couldn’t take her with them. Princess wanted out of that cage so bad that she did everything but stand on her head to get my attention, and it worked. I brought her home and she was the perfect playmate for Bruno. Since all the dogs being adopted had to be spayed or neutered before adoption, all they would ever be was playmates.

One night we had a hurricane go north of us and make land fall about 100 miles away just north of Palm Beach. We still got 60 M.P.H. winds and rains that would come and go in sheets. We all sat on the front porch to watch the sights, because we had never seen a hurricane before. The hurricane was close enough that everything was closed that night and the following day, so we just stayed up and drank beer and watched the storm from the lee side of the house out front. In between rain bands we let the dogs out front and kept an eye on them. Wilbur came to the doorway and saw the dogs out front, so of course he wanted to come out. Wilbur just hates it when the dogs are allowed to do something he isn’t, he gets very jealous. I told Rhea to let him out, so she did.

Wilbur went all around the front yard smelling all the new smells. The way he acted and strutted around we all could tell that Wilbur thought he was a big shot. “Wilbur thinks he’s a big shot, now that he is a front yard pig.” I remarked to Rhea. “He sure is acting that way.” said Rhea. We let him and the dogs roam, and play in the front yard for an hour or so before the next big feeder band of rain blew in and we had to bring them all in.

About a week or two later, I had just got home from work when someone rang the front doorbell. I answered the door to find a man wearing a Miami-Dade Animal Services uniform. “Hi what can I do for you?” I asked. “I’m Bill Simmons from Miami-Dade Animal Services. We received a complaint from one of your neighbors that you have a pig.” “Do you have a pig on these premises?” “A pig, us?” I replied. “We have a large Rottweiler dog, but, no pig.” Mean while I was thinking to myself “Who blew in Wilbur, and where the hell is he right now?” I had just seen him a few minutes before out on the back patio, but had no idea where he may now be. I tried to block Mr. Simmon’s view inside the house with my body, and kept talking. “I can’t imagine who would call in a complaint against us. We get along with all of our neighbors, and never have had any problems before.” “I can’t tell you who sent in the complaint. Do you mind coming out with me while I check out your property?” He said. “Not at all” I said as I quickly closed the door and started walking with him. On the outside I was walking, but on the inside I was dancing like a man with his finger in a light socket.

The biggest problem was that I had no idea what he would do if he found Wilbur. Mr. Simmons it turned out, was a very nice and personable man. “I’m really sorry to have to bother you like this, but when someone registers a complaint, I have to check it out personally.” He said. “No problem at all. It probably was one of my neighbors who needs glasses, or had been drinking, and took a look at my rot and thought it was a pig.” I joked with him. “Everything looks good out here, now if you don’t mind I just need to take a picture of your backyard from your fence.” He said. “Not a problem” I said. We walked down the side yard to the fence. I remained calm and cool, but on the inside my thoughts raged, “Where is Wilbur?!” We walked up to the gate, and fortunately there was no sign of Wilbur. Mr. Simmons saw all of the plants we have hanging and potted on the patio, “This is a very beautiful yard you have here with all of your plants.” He said. He took his picture, looked at it and was happy.

We started walking back to his car. “Well, I can tell that you don’t have a pig.” He said to me. “Really, how, can you tell?” I asked him. “Simple” he said, “The smell, if you had a pig I would know it by the smell, they stink!” “If you say so,” I replied, “I don’t know anything about pigs.” He wished me a good day, got in his car and drove away.

I went back in the house looking for Wilbur. I found him sleeping on the back patio, just out of eye shot from the gate, and no more than 15-20 feet away. “Whew, that was close! I need a shot of bourbon!”

The True Adventures of Wilbur the Pig Chapter 11…”Wilbur’s Bitch”

We were at our wits end, and really didn’t know what to do. Wilbur was too big too transport in the truck, and we couldn’t afford to pay a vet to make a house call, tranquilize a 300 pound pig, and perform the surgery. At the moment though, I felt like getting a sharp knife and doing it myself.

Rhea mentioned the possibility of giving Wilbur to one of the local farms in the Redlands about four miles away. There were a couple of problems with this idea, one we couldn’t guarantee he wouldn’t get slaughtered, and two, we had heard stories of pot belly pigs being given away, then dying in a month or two of a broken heart. “No,” I said, “I have never got rid of a pet before, and I am not getting rid of this one!” “Really,” Rhea said, “You’ve never given a pet away before?” “No, once I take an animal, they stay with me until it dies.” I replied. “One way or another, we will work this out.”

The fact that Wilbur had been spoiled so much prior to this did not help the situation. Wilbur was as they say, pig headed, and used to getting his way. We decided to work out a compromise solution; Wilbur would be an outdoor pig during the daytime, when he was frisky, and allowed to go to bed at night when he was sleepy. This arrangement worked rather well unless Wilbur got into the house unnoticed. Most people don’t know this, but pigs are very intelligent, as smart, or, smarter than dogs. Wilbur is very adroit at being sneaky, so he had to be watched like a hawk, and the bedroom doors had to be kept shut tight.

Most of my spare time was spent on my back patio, watching my TV, and chilling out with a beer. It was just natural that Wilbur and I spent a lot of time together. Wilbur was (and still is) a very loving and affectionate pig. He was always coming up and rubbing against me much like a cat does, except Wilbur being 300 pounds, would almost knock me over if I wasn’t ready for his affection.

On the back patio I had this old hassock footstool that would I put my feet up on when I was relaxing. One day I got home from work and my footstool was gone. I looked around for it on the patio, but couldn’t find it. I then looked in the back yard, and there it was; Wilbur had it and was humping it! I guess Wilbur took a liking to it, and just pushed it into the backyard with his snout. I was not happy, but after Wilbur got done with it, I didn’t really want it back anyway. So, my hassock footstool became Wilbur’s first “bitch”.

This turned out to be a win-win situation, Wilbur got all the action he wanted (at least twice a day), and he left our furniture alone. Wilbur was once again happier than a pig in the proverbial poop, and we were delighted.

Unfortunately after a couple of weeks of Wilbur’s hammering, and the rain, the hassock fell apart into a pile of straw. We were frantic; we had to find Wilbur another bitch. We went to every store we could think of, but not one of them carried that once popular item anymore. We went to yard sales, and garage sales, but could not find an acceptable replacement for his lost love.

About that time we had Hurricane Wilma blow through the area. A neighbor down the street lost his entire shed, and it contents to the 100 M.P.H. winds. The next day I found a thirty gallon water container sitting in my front yard. I took a good long look at it, and came up with an idea. I took it into the back yard, filled it up with water, and glued an old area rug to the top. Wilbur saw this thing, and it was love at first sight! “Bitch” number two was born! After a year or so, the container got a crack and wouldn’t hold water anymore; so I filled it up with dirt, and stuck it in an old bean bag chair. This is the “bitch” you will see in the pictures.

So, Wilbur was happy, and we were happy; another calamity diverted with love, and a little American ingenuity.

Next: Wilbur gets narc’ed out by a neighbor.

The True Adventures of Wilbur the Pig…Chapter 10 “Teen Pig”

Wilbur has always been his own pig, which means he has always been stubborn, and difficult to handle; but now that he had all these new hormones coursing through his body, he became even harder to handle. I’m sure any parent who has raised teenage children, can relate. Wilbur at the tender age of one and a half was now an obstinate, spoiled teenager.

When we first moved into our new home, it took Wilbur all of one day to decide that the large walk in closet in our bedroom would be his bedroom. This was very cute at first. Every night around 7 p.m. we would say “its bed time Wilbur”, and he would get up and make his way down the hall to our bedroom. He would (and still does) walk into the closet and close the door behind him with his snout. This was not a problem for me because he would go all the way to the back of the closet, and fall asleep. But like most teenagers, Wilbur got big, and lazy. He no longer could be bothered with walking all the way to the back of the closet to sleep; instead he would close the door, and fall asleep right behind the door. This would really irk me because at 3:30 in the morning I would try to get into the closet to get my clothes, only to find the door barricaded shut by a 300 pound pig! Not only that, but barricaded by a 300 pound, very grumpy when woke up by having a door continuously slammed into his ribs, pig.

You would think that after getting woke up in this manner a few times, Wilbur would adjust, and sleep in the back again; but no, not Wilbur. Finally I got tired of fighting with him and started laying out my clothes the night before.

There was also another problem with Wilbur sleeping in our closet. For some unknown reason, Wilbur decided that the rug in our closet wasn’t comfortable enough for him to sleep on anymore. Wilbur’s remedy for this problem was to pull down any clothes he could reach, off of their hangers, and then sleep on them. He would also pull down any blankets, comforters, and towels he could reach on the shelves. The result of all of this was that our closet floor was always littered with what were once clean clothes, and bedding. Wilbur was becoming a nuisance of the first degree, and neat freak Rhea was at her wit’s end.

But the thing that finally drove Rhea over the brink was Wilbur’s urges. You know which urges I am talking about, the same urges that all teenage men have when testosterone is introduced into their system; the urge to propagate. Since Wilbur didn’t have a female pig he could cavort with, he started to hump the furniture. This was not good! Wilbur could not be left in the house unattended without something very bad happening to the beds or the couch.

After cleaning up after a couple of Wilbur’s conquests Rhea had had enough. “As of today, Wilbur is to be an outdoor pig!” Rhea exclaimed to me one afternoon. “I am not going to clean up after him again! I can’t take the mess, and I can’t take the smell! Our whole house is starting to smell like a barn!” She was right. All I could do was nod to her and say “you’re right dear.”

So it was, Wilbur was to be an outdoor pig. He was banished to the back patio, and back yard.

Later that night Wilbur began trying to open the back door so he could go to bed. I said to him “Sorry old boy, but you have really done it this time; mommy has put her foot down, you will have to stay outside tonight.” I closed the door tight so he couldn’t pry it open with his bottom teeth, turned the light off, and went to bed.

The next morning we woke up, looked out at the patio, and we were horrified. Wilbur decided to show his displeasure of being banished by throwing a temper tantrum over night. The back porch looked as if a bomb had gone off on it! All the patio chairs had been knocked over or off the porch. The gas grill had been toppled off the deck, and my little refrigerator had been knocked about causing it to open scattering beer cans. He had also trashed every plant he could reach.

I went into a rage. “So, you want to throw a temper tantrum do you?!” I bellowed at Wilbur. “I’ll show you a temper tantrum!” I went at Wilbur with a rage he had never seen before. I came at him kicking and swinging. “You son of a bitch!” I yelled as I tore into him. Wilbur had never seen daddy this angry before, and ran as fast as he could away from me. Wilbur went to the far side of the yard where he watched me warily as I cleaned up his mess.

We were in a quandary. It became obvious to us that the lady who sold him to us knew what she was talking about when she recommended that we get Wilbur fixed. Now what were going to do?

Next: Wilbur gets a “girlfriend”