About five months ago our family welcomed a new member: Ham “Hammie” Solo, a petite, pink, micro mini pig. It seemed like a crazy thing to do at the time, especially considering our dog had just had nine puppies who were already keeping us quite busy. But you know how it goes. Daughter sees pig. Daughter falls in love with pig. Daddy lets her have pig.
Since Hammie stayed in my daughter’s room, I didn’t think we would see her too often. We were, essentially, the grandparents who came to visit, cuddle, and spoil, but then went back home.
But at some point we realized it was going to be better for Hammie to stay with us. My daughter’s dogs weren’t too excited about having her around, and Hammie had taken to rooting the carpet. So we hauled all of her piggy paraphernalia into the main house and set up her bed in a corner of the living room.
In the months since, I can say that I have learned a lot of life lessons from Hammie.
1. If you try hard enough, you can get along with anyone. It was rough for a while with Hammie intruding on the main house, which up until this time belonged solely to the jealous and whiney wiener dog. The dog bullied Hammie until Hammie caught up to her in size. At that point they somehow reached a mutual agreement to give each other space. Mutual respect eventually turned into a strange little companionship, to the point that Hammie now follows the wiener dog everywhere she goes inside, and the wiener dog crawls into bed with Hammie at night.
2. You will become the company that you keep. At this point, I’m not sure if the pig thinks she is a dog, or the dog thinks she is a pig. But the two have become inseparable and have taken on each other’s characteristics. Just like the wiener dog, Hammie runs when she sees me open the refrigerator door, often jumping up on her hind legs and planting her little hooves on my kneecaps to beg for food. And the wiener dog has taken on Hammie’s eating habits, to the point that she now enjoys eating raw broccoli.
3. You can’t force love. There are times when Hammie comes and stands beside me with a pensive look on her face. And at those times, I know she wants to be held. I wrap my hands around her portly little belly and pull her up to my lap, where she quickly nuzzles her snout under my arm and patiently waits for the scratching and patting to commence. But there are also times when I feel like snuggling with her, and I will pick her up without getting the signal. At those times, she begins to wiggle and squeal, escalating with both fervor and intensity, until I reluctantly put her back down on the floor.
I heard recently that one can get their pet certified as an emotional support animal. I wonder how that would work. Would I get to bring Hammie with me to work, on airplanes, and into HEB? Would she get one of those cute little vests? Not quite the prestige of a full-pledged service animal, of course. But an accomplishment, nonetheless.
She is her own woman, and this may not be a gig that appeals to her. But with enough broccoli, I think she could be bribed.