Robert Frost once said that good fences make good neighbors; obviously he never raised pigs.
At midnight our phone rang. It was our neighbor M. and he'd found our pig lying in his horse pasture. Tim and Peggie sprung from the bed and threw on warm clothes and we ran to M's. There was Apples, asleep. Needless to say she didn't want to move. I later discovered that she had raided the feed in the tractor shed and eaten every crumb. What a pig!
The night was cold but clear enough, at first, to see by the stars and security lights from the surrounding houses. We roused her and started slowly walking her towards the fence, but she would have none of that. Pigs have good eyesight and I guess Apples could see the bottom strands of wire. After an hour, M. and Tim cut the lower two strands in part of the fence. What a neighbor! It was then that I fully understood the expressions 'pig-headed' and 'stubborn as a pig.' Then the drizzle began. By that time my paws were getting pretty chilled, and caked in, well, horse poop. Still we kept trying - me, Tim, Peggie, and M.
M. had an idea. He has several horse panels and he thought we could just let her lie back down and then surround her with the panels. A great idea! But I think Apples understood. She laid down and let us get three panels in place before she ran across the field again with me in pursuit. Then the drizzle turned to a good, solid, icy rain. I kept telling myself how great those pork chops, hams, bacon, and sausage would taste - someday. It's hard to be too mad at an animal whose fate is sealed.
Finally, a stroke of luck. Apples lay in the corner of the lower passage. Tim whispered that since she wouldn't go through the horse fence, we could corner her with the horse panels. It was beautiful. Peggie and I stood in the open corner, and M. and Tim slowly advanced with the panels until they clinked together in my corner. B-E-A beautiful! We all let out a sigh of relief. Apples could sleep there 'til morning, and Peggie, Ian, and Noah could lead her home in daylight. We let out a little chuckle. At least I think we chuckled. It may have been Apples because the next thing we knew, she'd slipped through the fence into the upper pasture. Beauty is a fleeting thing - or in this case a fleeing pig.
Believe it or not, this was the beginning of the end. I guess Apples had had enough adventure for one night. I nipped at her heels and she slipped throough the fence onto our farm. Then she spritely trotted across the front yard, past the tractor shed, and into the run around the chicken coop. Tim and M. secured a palate across the entrance, threw in some hay, and called it a night. I gave Apples a warning bark - stay!!!
Peggie began singing a Patsy Cline tune - Walking After Midnight. What she lacks in musical talent, she makes for in enthusiasm. It was 3:30 before we finally settled down for a short winter's sleep.
Back to Frost. Good fences are all good and well, but a good neighbor is a guy who will spend three hours in the middle of a rainy, cold night chasing a reluctant pig just because he was there. Thanks M!