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