Who would have guessed that this unusual and less-than-manageably-sized pet could become such an invaluable family member? Or that giant wild boars make good pets at all? What is this about a secret feud between pigs and roosters? Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the tale of Susie.
While only a “squeaker” (a wild boar less than ten months old), and still fawn-colored and striped, Susie made her awkward entrance into the life of Khru Ang, a Thai language teacher in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Susie was originally destined for some horrible pig fate, crammed onto the back of a truck and headed who-knows-where with several dozen other pigs. Fortunately for her, she was small enough to fall through the wooden slats on the side of the truck and tumble onto the roadside. That was where Khru Ang’s cousin found her moments later. Susie traveled home with that kindhearted cousin in a fruit basket used for market days.
At home, Susie received her name and a little fenced-off section of the yard to call her own. She grew rapidly, thriving on a diet of various fruits and Thai sweets. On birthdays, the family would cut a generous slice of cake, dub it “Susie’s piece,” and feed it to her afterwards, to her great delight.
As Susie grew, her personality began to reveal itself. The first thing her new adoptive family noticed was her penchant for escaping, Houdini-style, from her area. Khru Ang commented fondly that Susie loved to “go on vacation.” She used the concrete section of the wall around her area for scraping her snout, gradually turning it into her very own personal battering ram. At night, Susie loved to bash through the fence and go for a pleasant evening trot through the neighborhood, only to be recognized and caught by neighbors several blocks away. Naturally brave—or naïve—Susie loved exploring and feared nothing. Well, perhaps she feared one thing. One of the uncles in the family possessed a thin bamboo stick which he skillfully employed as a disciplinary tool. One day, when Susie escaped her fence and went trotting down the street, she turned a corner and saw that much-dreaded uncle carrying his equally dreaded Stick of Doom. She let out one panicked squeal, spun around, and ran straight back behind her fence again.
Susie, 5 years old, with Khru Ang’s niece and nephew
Apart from ramming fences, Susie’s snout came in handy for other things too. Once, when she was about five years old, she escaped while no adults were there to stop her. Khru Ang’s seven-year-old nephew took it upon himself to become a human barrier between Susie and the outdoors. Susie appraised the situation with a few sly glances, lowered her head, and charged. As Khru Ang relates, she looked up to see a very strange sight through the window: her screaming nephew flying through the air, head-over-heels, legs and arms waving wildly. Susie had flipped him out of the way with her snout and kept right on running.
In her younger years, Susie was quite the mischievous little pig, but after her sixth or seventh birthday, she became increasingly lazy. Bashing fences is now too strenuous – Susie much prefers lolling in the sunshine and eating whatever comes her way. On her more ambitious days, she provides music for the household by scratching her rough hide on the various buckets, boxes, and appliances scattered around the garage. However, Susie hasn’t lost her naughtiness. When confined to her small fenced-in area, Susie makes her life interesting by stealing whatever she can reach. She stretches far over the wire fence, making use of every inch of her long snout to grab laundry, food, garden hoses, shoes, and almost everything else within a several-foot radius, dragging the items into her cage and sitting or lying on them possessively.
Susie’s temper shows itself more rarely in her older years, but some things still get on her nerves: mainly the roosters. Khru Ang’s family owns several roosters which perch on the fence around Susie’s cage, crowing and clucking and generally annoying her. Although Susie usually ignores their antics, one night she had had enough. When the family awoke the following morning, one of the roosters was missing. It wasn’t until later that they found the significantly flattened bird underneath their reclining pig. Susie had yanked him into her cage and used him as a pillow. The family didn’t mourn their lost rooster too much. They laughed over the situation, mildly scolded Susie, and ate chicken for dinner.
Despite the usual life-span of wild boars being only six or seven years, Susie has lived to the ripe old age of twelve and still lazes away every day in her cage. She currently weighs roughly 265 pounds and is getting steadily plumper, due to the sweets. Susie has become a stereotypical grumpy old lady pig. If someone calls her name, she answers with an annoyed grunt and pointedly turns in the other direction. She still steals laundry and lays on it, although the family does their best to prevent this. The remaining roosters keep a safe distance away.
Photo Credit: Rouse, Andy. “Wild Boar Piglet.” Reddit, 2017, www.reddit.com/r/aww/comments/5u8rnc/wild_boar_piglet/.