Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Pigs & Ice Cream

I've been wanting to write a story about the pets in my life. It's been a hard idea to commit to because I don't want anyone to be offended by them or to call animal control. With that being said, our story begins on a little ranch in the far northeast corner of Wyoming.
My relationship with pets started when I was just a toddler. Our cat had just had kittens and they were incredibly cute! My friend Gram and I would play with them every chance we got, then one day we had a great idea. There was an old toilet beside our woodshed, don't ask me why all I know is that it was there. We decided this teal colored, porcelain throne would be a wonderful home for these young kitties. Thus, we put some rags in the bowl, added some straw and I think we even may have sprinkled some food in it. We then introduced the kitties to their new home and shut the lid. I'd like to say we realized what a mistake we'd made before it was too late. Sadly, we didn't but my sister did and I have never heard the end of it.
My next pet was a bum calf. He was so special because he would get extremely excited to see me when I'd walk into the corral  with his bottle in hand. Sadly, the calf got bigger and, well, I stayed the same little size. So one day when I went to break the ice on the water tank in his pen, he came up behind me. He was searching for his bottle and butted me in the behind sending me sailing into the water tank. Did I mention that it was winter? He lost favorite pet status quickly.
There was also a horse named Spendy, my dog Tip and Gerald the beta fish. But those are too long to explain.
I did have a pig experience that is sure a fun memory. I bought two market hogs each year of high school to show at our county fair. My second year, my best hog broke his leg. thankfully we were able to restore his walking ability and he would have been fine for fair. But he began to lose weight. The morning that we were to head to the fair, my FFA Adviser showed up ready to go. But when he saw my black hog he was very concerned. He thought the tough young thing might not even make weight. We quickly had to come up with a back up plan. Mr. Bailey explained what I needed to do, and I headed into town. I came back with several buckets of ice cream. Yup, the kind we humans eat for dessert. I fed my pig the chocolate first, thinking that it would cause him to gain weight the fastest and, judging by experience, it is the most palatable. Next, I gave him vanilla and on it went all the way to the fairgrounds. When we got there the air was filled with the smell of animal soap and shine. All of the pigs were looking great. Their hair was clipped, their ears pinned up nicely and there shoes were polished, of course. We opened the trailer to let mine out and, like a mischievous three year old boy who found the ice-cream stash, his face was a mess! It seemed as if everyone was there. And in our small community, I wouldn't be surprised if they were. All heads turned and a chuckle rippled through the entire fairground area. The ol' hog apprehensively loaded onto the scale and I just held my breath. Well, I was thankful that he just barely made weight. I was more studious the next year and used research and advice to more precisely feed my animals.
It is interesting how God shows us lessons, isn't it. He used cute kittens to teach me that my  ideas aren't always the best. That's why he's blessed me with so many mentors. He taught me to wear a wet suit whenever I go to break cattle water, or just to always be ready and to never turn my back on a good friend. God can use anything to reach us, even kittens and calves, pigs and ice cream.

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