Physical life is a learning hologram. No one who is alive is exempt from learning and expansion and so, no one is exempt from contrast. Negative emotion is always the red flag alerting you to the fact that there is something there to learn. It is always alerting you that you have come to the crossroads of personal expansion. But if you avoid the negative feeling, you also avoid the lesson and the expansion. This week has been full of expansion for me.
Lately when I have felt stress and anxiety, I have done my emotional healing process and then taken to watching animal videos on YouTube. I’ve been particularly enamored with the videos of mini pigs. So enamored in fact that I decided to get one. After being informed of my new interest in mini pigs, Graciela came up to me a few days ago with a website advertising mini pigs for sale in the very state that I live in. I had interviews that morning and I instantly got excited, knowing that I had the rest of the day free and hatched the idea to drive the two hours to where they are and to get one of them. Graciela contacted the breeder and confirmed. I was so excited that when the time came, I got straight in the car without even eating dinner and started driving.
Let me preface the rest of the story by saying that I grew up with animals everywhere. My father was the humane officer for the area where we lived for a few years, we used to foster animals for the humane society. Not a day has gone by that I have not slept in the bed with a dog. I had horses (the most high maintenance pet ever) until I was 19. And the man whom was my mentor/abuser was a large animal veterinarian. I know how to take care of animals. Pigs are intelligent, readily trained, affectionate, curious, playful, clean, generally quiet, odor free, and non-allergenic. So, when I watched the videos on you tube of people in little apartments with their mini pigs, I thought “If these people, and so many of them, are having such an easy time with their piggies (even in the city), this will be a breeze for me living where I live and with the experience I have". So, uncharacteristically, I didn’t do any research about mini pigs.
My intuition was rubbed the wrong way when the breeder would not give us an address to her house. Instead she kept incrementally directing us to the place where the pigs were kept landmark by landmark. I pressed forward anyway, and when we arrived, we were greeted by two sweet adult pigs that were pregnant with new litters. Out back, in a dirty shed, there were three pens full of piglets. About twenty pigs in each saw dust pen. She talked to me about the mini pigs as they scampered about, obviously afraid of our presence. Having sized me up already, she pointed to the far pen at the back and said, “These are micro mini pigs; they cost more because they are the smallest”. I thought to myself, "small is good. I’ll take one of those I think". I said to the universe mentally “Ok I’ve been led all the way here, give me a sign about who is meant to come with me”. At that minute, this little black and white, female piglet jumped up over the other piglets and huffed, sniffing the air and staring me right in the eye. I pointed at her and said, “She’s the one”. The breeder collected her and put her in a little crate and walked into the house with me, which was littered with other animals because it turns out that she breeds French bulldogs too. That was a synchronicity because as you may know, I have a French bulldog.
Over the next twenty minutes, she detailed how to take care of the piglet, gave me handouts and a bag of mini pig food and pig medicine and took the payment. Believe me when I tell you that you would not believe what I spent on this little pig. I was told that anyone who doesn’t charge over two thousand dollars for a mini pig, isn’t selling you a mini pig, they are selling you a normal pig that could grow into a 500 pound pig. I was so excited to have her that I did not heed the “something about this is off” feeling that I felt in the center of my chest. On the drive home, she was shivering with fear. I took her out of her crate and held her on my lap. She fell asleep on me. As we were driving into the night, the moon rose over the horizon. As a result, we decided to name the piglet Luna.
After I got her home, and introduced her to the family, I gave her a bath and Blake volunteered to sleep with her, so she fell asleep cuddled up with him in bed and slept through the night. The next day, I went to the pet store to get her all the things she would need; a doggie bed, a litter box, toys, a water and food bowl, and blankets. Pigs love blankets. They carry them around the house and crawl under them to sleep. Luna was adorable. She would eat her food, cuddle up on someone’s lap and spend the majority of the day there. Then when she was hungry again, she would wander around looking for her dish, the sound of her tiny hooves on the floor and her precious snorts could be heard throughout the house. But the fact still remained that she was a piglet who had never been socialized. Unlike a dog, who is a predator, she saw us (as pigs do until they bond with you) as the kidnapper and the predator. So she would take to crying and squealing when we would first go to pick her up. According to modern science, pigs are the fourth smartest animals on earth. We were warned about this squealing behavior and informed that if you just keep holding them through the yelling, they eventually learn that you aren’t going to kill them and become acclimatized to being handled. You also have to train pigs not to bite! Just like puppies, (but puppies who are afraid of you and will bite in defense instead of play) they have very sharp teeth.
But the experience of picking up a piglet that didn’t want to be picked up, decreased my confidence and so I decided that I had to do some research on mini pigs and how to train them. This is where it all went downhill.
Long story short, In my haste, I did not think to distrust a breeder or YouTube and so, I fell straight into a heartbreaking trap. The trap is: As a breed, there is no such thing as a "mini pig". Like any breeder, you can choose to breed specifically for size, by breeding the smallest pot belly pigs you can find together in the hopes that it will make an even smaller pig. But mini pigs (also sometimes sold as “micro pigs,” "teacup pigs", “pocket pigs” or “Juliana pigs”) are a potbelly pig marketing scam. It works like this: Breeders put up listings for mini pigs, promising to sell pigs that’ll stay permanently tiny. Buyers then pay anywhere from $750 to $5,000 for their teacup pig. The breeder tells the buyer that the way to ensure that they will stay small is to make sure you don’t feed them too much. They tell you that a pig grows in proportion to how much you feed it. So they give you directions on how much to feed. The problem is, they are educating you on how to starve the pig. While malnutrition can keep their skeletal structure somewhat small, their internal organs will continue to grow until they can’t function properly because they don’t have the skeletal structure to support the size of them. The pig then starts getting bone deformities and they often die before reaching age five. On the contrary, if you ignore the instructions and feed them an appropriate amount to keep them healthy, they will turn into a normal potbelly pig, which is small compared to the commercial hog. If they are healthy, they grow to the size of a medium size dog. Because of the way their bodies compact weight however, even at that size, they can weigh up to 150 pounds. I understand the frustration of pig breeders. The market demand is small pigs. So, either they selectively breed them to be as small as possible, to the point that they are unable to give birth naturally. Or they try to find a way to restrict their growth while trying to maintain the pig's health. Many breeders accomplish this by telling buyers to restrict their food while feeding them vitamins and medicines.
So, having been told to care for their piglet in such a way, either their pig dies of malnutrition, their pig grows up small, but unhealthy or the buyer watches as their tiny pig becomes a larger adolescent pig; then a very large, very non-teacup-sized pig. The mini pigs I was seeing on YouTube are all tiny piglets! Now I am fine with a large pig, provided that it is happy with me. But here we run into our second problem. The breeder did not bother to ask me any questions about my house. I have all wood floors. The first thing a vet will tell you if you are thinking of getting a pig, is that you have to resurface your floors or at least buy throw rugs to put everywhere because it is so hazardous to their health to be on wood floors. Luna could not take a step without slipping. This is somewhat adorable, albeit sad, but when they get older it can lead to accidents that require surgery. On top of that, contrary to what you’ve heard, they need outdoor time. Living where I live, my property is not zoned for livestock. My HOA does not allow livestock, and so regardless of how pet-like Luna is, she is also against the law for me to have. On top of that, a pig is a herd animal. Because of this, they need constant company. Some vets are very vocal about their opinion that if you are not planning on being with your pig 24 hours a day, it is cruel to have them in a place where they do not have at least one other pig as a companion. I travel every month. So unless Luna bonded to Caput, my frenchie, she would be miserable. My heart sank. I was in big trouble. I realize that universally there is no such thing as a mistake. But I had made a huge mistake.
The average person would send the piglet back and demand a refund. But I could not do that. After all, this breeder would just re-sell Luna to another person (who made the same mistake I did) and traumatize her by shipping her across country to a new home where she would probably be starved by a new set of human parents who actually do follow directions. Or abandoned. I detest it when people assume responsibility for an animal and then based on inconvenience, abandon the animal later. There is no excuse for it. Potbelly pigs are some of the most frequently abandoned animals because despite their obvious lovability, owners cannot accommodate them in their lives and homes once they grow into an adult. Guilty as I felt, I needed to find Luna a home that is better than the one I could provide for her. I can deal with inconvenience, what I cannot deal with is seeing an unhappy pig everyday. I sent letters to every potbelly pig enthusiast I could find in my area, confessing the situation and asking if they knew anyone who would adopt a two-month-old piglet. I despise making mistakes. I couldn’t sleep. Aside from being drug to the slaughterhouse, I have never been around pigs. Of course, pigs were the one animal I didn’t know much about.
Back track one week, out of the blue over week ago, I got this feeling that I had to have a member of the Teal Tribe group, Penny Love Wick who lives about two hours away up to the house for dinner. She accepted the invitation and last night, she and her husband Mike showed up for dinner. Almost the instant they walked through the door, they were introduced to Luna and Luna spent nearly an hour asleep in Mike’s arms while I was cooking. She took to Mike and Penny instantly. They started joking about taking her home with them. I filled them in on my predicament. Connecting on a soul level in person with Penny and Mike was beyond enjoyable, despite my “guilt stooper”, which lowered my frequency considerably. I could really feel the support that I have from people who see the value in my work and I felt some part of myself exhale and relax into the strength of their inner convictions. They did not need me to be anything other than what I am. I am always afraid to disappoint people when they spend time around the “day to day Teal versus the spiritual teacher Teal.” I did not know just how much support I had from them until they actually decided to take Luna home with them.
Penny and Mike live in a place with some acres. They are well versed in how to take care of animals. They also know people who have farmland. They told me that they would take her with them and either keep her or find her a forever home. The relief I felt, though tinged with shame, was palpable. Luna had no problem leaving with them. She went with them as if it was always in her plan. I felt a little bit of heart break as I kissed her little pink nose and watched her and all of her accessories get carried out the door and drive away. I love potbelly pigs. Whenever I get a place that is actually appropriate for them, I’m going to adopt one from a rescue organization. I did fall for the scam yes, but if someone came up to me and said that the amount of money I spent would guarantee that a living being would have a good life, the money would be worth it completely. In fact, I would spend many, many times more than that to ensure such a thing.
I am determined to help put an end to this cruel, destructive trade of “tea cup pigs”. That being said, this morning I have spied a kind of ray of light through the angst. Imagine for me the following scenario…
A spiritual teacher gets an intuitive urge to invite some fellow spiritual people to her house on a whim. In the interim, she develops a mini crush on little pigs. She does not research them, which is abnormal, nor does she go out of body to gain information about them, which is also abnormal. If she had researched, she would have decided against getting one. But because she did not, she is led to a farm that sells them.
Before coming into this life, a soul decides to become a little pig. Call it karma if you wish, this pig decides to give off a little different frequency, which makes her a match to being selected by a spiritual teacher. They drive home together, their hearts commune. But because the spiritual teacher brought the pig home, she becomes aware of an inhumane trade involving this little pig, and then writes about it. With her “reach”, many people can become aware of the inhumane trade. The spiritual teacher is able to connect her with people who actually can provide her with a home, which is appropriate for the well being of a little pig. She will live a happy life.
Whether her “human parents” were supposed to be Penny and Mike all along or not, there is divine orchestration here. Maybe all of us were just facilitators for the life intention of this special little pig.