BOOKS: Cousin John: The Story of a Boy & a Small Smart Pig

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, October 2006:

Cousin John: The Story of a Boy
& a Small Smart Pig by Walter Paine
Bunker Hill Publishing (285 River Road,
Piermont, NH 03779), 2006. 95 pages,
paperback. $17.95.

Raised in Brookline, Massachusetts,
Walter Paine found the outdoors and nature an
endless source of interest. He was far happier
roaming the open acres he called “my magic
kingdom’” because of the many fascinating
creatures he found there, than he was playing
with school friends. He had difficulty relating
to other boys his age because he was far more
interested in picking up bugs and inspecting
anything that crawled or flew than in playing
conventional games.
Paine did once try hunting, shooting a
squirrel out of a tree with a BB gun. “As it lay
twitching pathetically at my feet, I felt a
sudden surge of shame and sorrow for taking an
innocent creature’s life,” he writes.

On his tenth birthday Paine’s parents
gave him a runt piglet, who became the center of
his life. Paine named his little pink pig Cousin
John. Walter spent every moment he could with
his new friend, teaching him to walk on a
harness, taking him to visit neighbors and even
winning a “special mention” ribbon at a local
fair, where he entertained the public by walking
Cousin John around the pony ring. No one had
ever seen a pig walk on a harness before.
Paine feels that caring for Cousin John
gave him an invaluable lesson in responsibility.
He hopes that his young readers of this story
will each have the same opportunity to care for a
special creature, and experience the trust and
companionship that he did.
–Beverley Pervan
South Africa

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