Sunday, September 2, 2012

Close Encounters of a Pig Kind

Dorian had a pig exposure at 7 months of age, at the Tanana Valley State Fair in Fairbanks, Alaska. When we walked into the livestock barn, the fur on his neck went up and his tail lowered and stiffened. To Dorian’s way of thinking, we had entered an alien stronghold. The strong smells emanating from the sawdust, the deep guttural grunts, and the snouts beckoning from between the bars – surely this must be a trap! Yet when he glanced over at me, I was, surprisingly, pleased with the situation. Had his puppy raiser lost her mind?

Dorian's not so sure about these alien creatures

Yet Dorian’s curiosity got the best of him and he advanced forward toward one outstretched snout. Carefully, cautiously, they both leaned out until their noses touched. The tension dissolved and Dorian’s tail began to beat a slow wag. Pig took a deep sniff of Dorian; Dorian did the same of Pig. Then Pig moved his snout over between the next set of bars. Dorian followed suit and their noses touched again. They slowly sidestepped their way down the side of the pen, touching noses at each and every space between sets of bars. When they reached the pen’s corner, they reversed direction and sidestepped back, bar-by-bar, to their original meeting place, ending with noses touching. 

Dorian and Pig slid and touched noses from bar to bar the length of the pen and back again.

 Oddly enough, it was a beautiful thing to see. A dance between two animals very different yet similar. Both animals were young and half-grown. Both were black and the same height, meeting eye-to-eye. From what I know of his kind, Pig was probably on an equal intelligence with Dorian. Their paths met there in the fair barn, on a sunny August day - Pig and Labrador, not alien creatures but kindred spirits.

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