Yesterday, one of our pigs was off his food. Being the bigger of the two (and the one I would definitely call a greedy pig, who wolfs [?] down everything you put in front of him - except spinach), this was a bit of a worry.
On close inspection, Clare discovered quite a serious lice infestation. Which explained some discomfort, but not the shaking. Not to worry too much. He drank some water. He pooed. We left him to sleep it off.
This morning, Clare took some warm milk and bread to cheer him up and the pig was dead. We knew we were going to have to face this kind of thing sooner or later. Turned out to be very soon.
I phoned the people we bought him from to see if there was an infection of some kind and Marlene said all their pigs were OK. On what to do next, her advice tallied with the vet's: We should dig a deep hole and bury him. (If you're from the UK, you'll know that one dead animal can mean half the country being quarantined or a generation of animals being needlessly culled, but as I must have said elsewhere things are different over here.)
Now, I don't know if the mafia have ever made you dig your own grave and then let you off with a warning, but digging a deep hole is bloody hard work. Even when you've got a pretty big hole to start with. It's only just less hard to fill it in again.
But what could have been a very dark day was lightened by Marlene and Gary's kind offer to replace the pig. They didn't need to do this. Chances are, the pig had some kind of congenital heart or lung problem and it was just one of those things. They've only lost two pigs in two and a half years and never quite like this. For some reason the pig decided to go to the great sty in the sky.
However, because taking one pig (a brother to the pig/s we have/had) would have left their sister all alone, I went to Campagne this afternoon and picked up two little pigs.
The little family has been reunited to squeals of happiness all round and the two new (to us) pigs are rooting around in probably the first grass they've seen on the inside of an electric fence.
Here's a picture of the pig in happier days:
I'll leave you with a business idea I had a few years ago that I never developed. It was to be a company offering an alternative burial service for people who thought black was a bit too 20th Century. I can't remember the name, but the strapline was: "We put the fun back into funerals."
If you want to do something with it, it's yours.