The Good, Good Pig

Bird lover that I am, obviously I don’t often gravitate towards stories about pigs.

But in a happy setup, “Birdology” by Sy Montgomery just happens to be one of my favorite books…so favorite, actually, that I eventually got curious if she had any more great bird stories in print.

In the process, I discovered that great pig stories can be just as (well almost just as) great.

"The Good, Good Pig" by Sy Montgomery
“The Good, Good Pig” by Sy Montgomery

Christopher Hogwood, like Pearl, was a runt. His former human caretakers raised hogs for, well, ham – Christopher obviously wasn’t shaping up into a very, er, meaty portion, so they were planning to off him.

Only neither of them could do it.

So finally they gifted Sy and her husband, Howard, with the little pig.

Christopher Hogwood as a baby (he would later top 750 pounds!)
Christopher Hogwood as a baby (he would later top 750 pounds!)

Sy and Howard promptly named Chris after a favorite classical composer and added him to their growing menagerie, which included dogs, cats, chickens, and – jackpot! – a cockatiel.

14 years later, Sy’s entire community had become close friends, all centering around the one critical priority they shared in common – making sure Christopher had great cuisine, loving care, regular baths and belly rubs and plenty of good company.

In the process, Chris somehow managed to touch the hearts and change the lives of everyone he met – from the state troopers who would bring him home from his many unauthorized forays into the neighbors’ vegetable patches to the New York city photographer who arrived hoping to snap a line of greeting cards using Chris’ likeness (he got precisely one usable shot before Chris eagerly ingested all the rest of the props).

Chris was featured in newspapers, magazines, radio and television programs. Frequently. Like the African Grey parrot Alex, his obituary made the front page of the town’s paper.

The young, the elderly, the bereft, the joyful – all found something in common with this good, good pig.

As did I. I found soul – inspiration – love – compassion – new insight – hope – gratitude – appreciation – empathy – courage – and so much more.

To learn more about Sy & Christopher: www.symontgomery.com

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