A Boy Called Gus


     Some of you may have wondered about who Gus was from yesterday’s blog entry.  I didn’t want to talk about him too much because I felt he deserved an entry all to himself.  Gus is Scott and Amy’s pot-bellied pig.


     When I picture pot-bellied pigs I picture tiny animals similar in size to guinea pigs.  I now know that is not the case and I now have a new picture in my mind when I think of pot-bellied pigs.  Gus who is just over one year old weighs over 100 pounds and is definitely not tiny. 


     Gus is Amy’s pig like Rugby is my dog.  When I’m home I want Rugby near me for company and he’s a part of our family.  Rugby spends time inside and outside as does Gus and Gus is even litter box trained.  This is pretty much where the similarities end and the differences begin.  A few differences include about a hundred pounds, a set of tusks and Gus’ overwhelming need to re-establish his status in a new herd.  Unfortunately I along with Mike, Josh and Abby were all a part of the new herd that Gus felt he needed to establish himself in.  


     I’ve always felt comfortable around animals and have no real fear of the creatures I meet along the Gunflint Trail.  Dogs don’t scare me so I didn’t think a pot-bellied pig would be any different.  When I came back from a run on Tuesday the kids said they had tried to go visit Gus in the garage and he charged them.  I laughed thinking I wouldn’t have any problems going to pet the pig.


     I went into the garage with a plan to get some food to befriend Gus with.  Unfortunately I didn’t come close to making it to the food box before he had me cornered and screaming in the garage.  Somehow I was able to escape and lock the door behind me. 


     When Amy got home from work she couldn’t believe Gus charged us but was quickly convinced when she brought him into the house.  The first thing he did was charge me until I was standing up on the barstool out of his reach.  She said we needed to fight back and give him a shove on the shoulders so he knew who was boss.  Before I had the chance to try Abby’s finger was bleeding and Gus was led into the first of what would become many pig time-outs. 


     Needless to say Gus wasn’t happy with his new herd and he had no trouble voicing his concern.  He squealed, screamed and squawked anytime he saw or heard us.  His immediate reaction when he was in close proximity to any of us was to charge us if we were standing or he would come to wherever we were sitting with our feet pulled up in the chair to try to nip at us.  Either behavior was answered with another pig time-out which Gus did not appreciate or enjoy.


     Poor Gus.  We had invaded his turf and disrupted the status of the herd and he was obviously out of sorts.  He felt threatened by our presence and was acting out against us much to the disbelief of his real herd (Amy and Scott). 


     I thought I would be able to win him over by the time we left but it just wasn’t going to happen.  Our only success with Gus was when Mike and I were able to feed him without getting charged.  With a bag full of spinach I distracted him long enough for Mike to make it to the food box with a broom in hand for protection.  Once Gus heard the sound of food entering the dish all worries about his status disappeared and for one small moment in time, Gus was my friend. 


     I would like to say it lasted, but it didn’t.  I’m hoping Gus will be OK within his herd now that we have gone.  I need to apologize to Gus since I never got the chance to say good-bye the morning we left.  I had heard through the herd he wasn’t a morning person or pig so I didn’t want to risk waking him up just to say good-bye. 


Good-Bye Gus, thanks for showing us who the boss hog of your herd is.