today i am thankful for the brief but beautiful life of a little pig named oscar. oscar was born this past july to a 600 pound mama that stepped on him the day he was born. her weight shattered his right scapula rendering his right front leg immobile and causing other internal complications. surviving as a 1 pound newborn piglet is hard enough on the farm with four legs. with three legs i knew the odds stacked against oscar and so i brought him into our home. i raised him on goats milk, banana yogurt, blueberries and cereal.
he quickly became my everywhere companion.
nick and i brought him to the mountains with the jordans. we brought him to cape cod with nick's family, canada and the vineyard with my family. he quickly became the best traveled pig on the farm. his preferred seat was on mine or nick's lap suckling on our hands or knees. he loved car rides and every time we got out to stretch our legs and let oscar pee or give him a snack we would have a little crowd around us cooing over our piglet.
after a month of holiday from the farm oscar came back with nick, rudy, and i weighing just under 40 pounds. as hard as it was to let him go live like a pig, i moved him in with my other piglet, van gogh, and the two lived happily together amongst the adolescent turkeys in elizabeth's barn. they became inseparable. pigs are remarkable creatures and develop relationships with each other not unlike the way humans do. oscar would always tease van gogh by playfully biting at his missing ear and van gogh, similarly would tease oscar about his broken leg.
oscar's injury was a constant worry for me and for all those who loved him. dad and his friend sketched out plans for a prosthetic of sorts. mom told me of a pony at the world equestrian games that had only three legs. michelle tried to contact veterinary students that would operate for free. nick was always studying & marveling at the way his good front leg was developing and compensating.
i worried a lot. i was oscar's mama. i had been so from the first day when i picked him out of the fields all bloody and broken and brought him back to the bus. i would dissolve into tears when i heard stories of mamas... human mamas with human babies...speak to their fears of letting down their babies. it was my biggest fear. i was so scared that oscar was in pain. or was going to be in pain. i couldn't fix his leg but i wanted nothing more in this world than to fix it. i wanted him to have four working legs so that he could run around as fast as his brother. i wanted him to be able to stand at the water trough and not have to fling his upper body up on it just to get a sip. i wanted him to be just like all of the other pigs.
but i guess that's just what made oscar so very very amazing. he wasn't like all of the other pigs. and if it weren't for his injury i would have never known him. i would have never snuggled with him while watching movies. my parents would have never had a pig live in their backyard. i would have never had so many friends and family finish letters and emails with "give my love to oscar".
oscar died this monday morning. asleep in the straw in his hut alongside van gogh and the three big pigs he shared a home with. we don't know what precisely killed him. i knew that he was feeling unwell. i had spent this past weekend sitting with him in his pasture as he let me scratch his belly and tickle his ears. but he wouldn't eat. i should have done more about it. i should have involved elizabeth and taken him up to the house and spoiled him rotten. but i didn't. it is so shameful to admit, but i was tired. i was tired of worrying. i didn't love him any less. i was simply at a loss of what more i could do. i hope i didn't let him down. i hope he knew how much i loved him.
i don't regret a single moment i spent with that pig or thinking about him. i don't doubt it sounds ludicrous to most that i could write so much about a pig. but this is the abridged story of oscar. in five short months he became the biggest animal on the farm to me. i feel so lucky to have been his mama. and that is about all i can say about oscar right now. thank you for reading if you got this far :)
Posted by kate at 6:37 PM