BOOKS: The Good Good Pig

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, September 2006:

The Good Good Pig by Sy Montgomery
Ballantine Books (c/o Random House, 1745 Broadway MD 18-2, New York,
NY 10019), 2006. Hard cover, 228 pages, $21.95.

The Good Good Pig celebrates 14 years of life with a pig,
and the love of the woman, Sy Montgomery, who saved his life–
“As I walked beside him, I began to rub his belly and grunt
our favorite mantra: “Good, good pig. Big, good pig. Fine,
fine swine. Good. Good, good.” He crumpled to the ground and
rolled over in porcine bliss. And then I lay down beside him,
beneath an apple tree. As long as I lay there and stroked him, he
wouldn’t get up and leave. And that was how I spent that afternoon:
lying beside someone I loved, watching the clouds and the
dragonflies and the sun streaming through the leaves of the apple
tree.”

Christopher Hogwood was born on a farm where pigs are raised
for the dinner table. As the runt of all runts, the piglet was
rather a sickly chap. He was given to Montgomery to take home to see
if she could help him to survive.
With love and much attention, he grew to be a whopping 750
pounds, bringing people in Montgomery’s small New Hampshire town out
of themselves, making sad children smile again, instilling through
his presence and personality the sense of love and peace that all
people need to feel.
‘Though we didn’t realize it at the time,” Montgomery
writes, from the first “Christopher was already bringing to us the
blessings for which pigs have been credited for centuries:
strength, luck, friends, and even family.”
Pigs are known for their intelligence and social instincts. An
accomplished escape artist, Christo-pher would take daily walkabouts
to meet the neighbours, but most importantly, to look for something
appetizing.
This is a delightful book, full of humor, honesty and love.
Unfortunately, Montgomery does not include precautionary
warnings about the problematic aspects of keeping pet pigs.
That will alarm readers who remember coping with the
aftermath of the Vietnamese potbellied pig fad of the 1980s and early
1990s, including the subsequent collapse of many underfunded and
badly managed “pig sanctuaries.”
Reputable pig sanctuaries, such Ironwood in Arizona, still
house dozens of aging pigs who were carelessly acquired and then
dumped during the pigs-as-pets fad, and would rather not see it
revived.
–Beverley Pervan
<www.cannedlion.co.za>
South Africa

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