When Pet Pig Education was sent a message a couple weeks ago from a devoted follower regarding her pet pig Theo that saved her life, our hearts broke. As she haphazardly relived her terrifying tragedy to us, tears streamed down our faces for her loss but the amazing sacrifice her pet made for her was nothing short of amazing. We tried our best to help Courtney with her GoFund Me campaign, in hopes she could raise enough money to cremate him and to help ease the burden of the financial loss of replacing everything their family had lost. To date and in 14 days, her campaign has raised just shy of $7,500. We knew we had a story that just HAD to be told. We wanted the story only Courtney could tell in her own words...
"Grieve not, nor speak of me with tears, but laugh and talk of me as if I were beside you... I loved you so -- 'twas Heaven while I was here with you."
I vowed to write about my beloved Theodore and tell his story because it is one that deserves to be heard. Theodore was an impulse purchase I made a year ago and from that day I realized I would never eat pork again. During our year together I brought him everywhere. I thought it was important to see how much of a personality he had and to show people pigs are so much more than food. I can't count how many times I heard, "well we don't eat the cute tiny ones like Theodore, we eat the big fat ugly ones." Comments like that infuriated me. Yes I'm aware people do not eat mini pigs, but are you aware the "big fat ugly ones" are just as smart? They live their whole lives in small pens and are deemed disgusting because they have no ability to separate themselves from an area they soil, to an area in which they sleep or eat. Pigs are actually one of the smartest animals in the world and have cognitive abilities above the average 3 year old. They are smarter than both cats and dogs, are hypo-allergenic, and (Google it if you don't believe me) and considered one of THE cleanest animals in the world. Theodore opened my eyes to a whole new world of compassion for them.
He and I fell in love from day one, I actually found him at a park. A couple had him, he was still a baby (8 weeks) at the time and I melted as soon as I saw him. I got the bravery to go pester them about him and I'm so glad I did. After about half an hour of playing and holding Theodore, he started rooting on me. This wasn't a dominant rooting, this was a clear "I want to sit with you" gesture. They said he usually didn't do that to people and must really like me, I've never been so flattered. They then proceeded to tell me because they just had a child, they were going to have to sell Theodore and wanted to give him a good home and if I was interested. We exchanged contact info, and by the next morning I was at their house picking up my new baby.
Having Theodore was like having a child, a hungry child. He loved to snuggle. If I was sitting on the couch he would immediately jump in my lap to get under the blanket with me. I would wake up to the sound of oinking noises around the house in the morning as he was ready for his breakfast. He would actually wake up at 4 or 5 am because he knew breakfast was first thing in the morning. I taught Theodore how to jump through a hoop, play a toy piano, and spin around. It literally took 15 minutes for him to learn any of those tricks. He was already potty trained when I bought him at eight weeks old. Theodore went everywhere with me- and I mean literally everywhere. Be it OKC, Dallas, KCMO, Austin, just to name a few. He was a local favorite at a mid-town brunch spot (R- Bar and Grill Tulsa) and I will never forget the kindness, openness, and friendliness they showed my sweet child with on a regular basis. He went to work with me, any vacation I went on (the beach being his favorite), errands, and we slept together every night. We were completely in love with each other. My friends thought I was crazy when I randomly said one day "I think I'm gonna buy this pig I just found at the park," but they soon realized when they met Theodore why I did it. I actually turned down a job in the Hamptons because my employer that was going to provide my housing did not even want the chance to meet Theodore before he decided if he would allow him in the home. I respectfully and instantly declined.
A week after our year anniversary of adopting him, something horrific happened that no one ever thinks they would be the victim of. Theodore woke me up in the wee hours of the night as he usually did, because of his strong sense of smell he could smell smoke coming from outside the condo, before I could. I mistakenly thought he was hungry because that was our usual gig, mom gets up, puts food all over the kitchen, he eats it all and then jumps back in bed. As I walked back to my room as soon as I stepped in the doorway, I saw flames. I grabbed a water bottle to pour on them and then everything engulfed, (it was an electrical fire). My friend was in bed right next to it and I woke her up to get her out the door of the condo. I then went back to wake up my elderly father who was in a very deep sleep and didn't hear anything. By the time we were at the front door the house was filled with smoke and the whole back half of it was in flames. We were screaming for Theodore. My dad tried to force me out but I wouldn't go, I got on my hands and knees yelling and searching for my baby. The firefighters had to pull me out and would not let me back inside the condo. I burned the top of my hair to the root and obtained a small burn on my hand but am so lucky that's all it was... I still wasn't giving up. The firefighters made us go outside of the courtyard but I ran back in and up the stairs screaming for them to find my baby. I was then forced back downstairs and outside of the courtyard where it was safe, where I then found every single fireman to tell them my condo number, my pigs name, and where I thought he was. It was over half an hour before I got any news, and what they told me was devastating. Theodore had passed out from smoke inhalation and although they recovered his body, he did not make it. I am crying just typing this, I think every day how I could've reacted faster or better to save his life, how I could've done more, how his precious life was taken too soon. I know we wouldn't have made it out in time that night without him waking me up, the fire spread so fast. Theodore was more than just a pig, he was more than just a pet, he was a best friend, and now he's an angel. He was my angel. I hope his story can encourage people to open their minds and hearts to the wonderful animals that pigs are. They are the most loyal and loving creatures I have ever came across. They are so much more than food. Without my sweet Theodore I wouldn't be writing this today and I feel a huge hole inside my heart that I don't know if it will ever go away, I don't even know if I want it to, because that's the space he took up in it; there will always be a void. I know the saying "when pigs fly" - well, that was confirmed, they can. And on that tragic night I learned this first hand because I know my sweet baby is now flying high in heaven. RIP Theodore.
_Courtney's campaign is still running and you can donate to Theo and her family at the following link: https://www.gofundme.com/8qw26tas
The Hog Blog...
Jodi will be keeping up the blog but we are more interested in guest bloggers! Please contact us via email if you may be interested! Check back to see who our guest blogger is and what topic we will be exploring.