How Esther the Wonder Pig Changed This Family’s Life Forever
There’s little point to a life that lacks excitement. But there’s excitement, and then there’s a freight train hurtling towards your bedroom at 3 a.m. on a regular basis.
We call it the Piggy Parade.
There’s nothing peaceful about being awoken by a 295‐kilogram pig barrelling down a hallway. It’s something you feel first: a vibration that rumbles through the mattress into your consciousness. You have just moments to realize what’s happening and to react. Over the din of humans (me and my partner, Derek) and animals (dogs Reuben and Shelby, and cats Delores and Finnegan) rushing to move out of the way comes the sound of hooves racing across the hardwood floor, getting louder by the second.
Within moments, our darling pig, Esther, comes crashing in from the living room where she sleeps, most likely spooked by a noise. She launches into our bed much the same way she launched into our lives. While it might be a mad scramble to make space for her, it’s more than worth it.
Before meeting Esther in 2012, we were already two guys, one girl, two dogs and two cats living in a modest single-level house in Georgetown, Ont., a small community just over 50 kilometres west of Toronto. Derek and I shared one bedroom, we had a roommate occupying another, and the remaining one was an office from which I ran my real estate business and Derek made phone calls to book his magic shows.
It was cramped, so we tried our best to give one another space. I’d frequently take my laptop to the living room and work from there when Derek was in the office. We were in this configuration when I received a Facebook message from a woman I knew from middle school, someone I hadn’t spoken to in 15 years.
“Hey Steve. I know you’ve always been a huge animal lover. I have a mini pig that’s not getting along with my dogs. I’ve just had a baby, and I can’t keep the pig.”
It’s true that I’ve always loved animals: my very first best friend was my childhood dog, Brandy, a shepherd mix, brown and black, with floppy ears and a long straight tail. So I was intrigued. A mini pig sounded adorable. In hindsight, of course, the whole situation was bizarre, but I’m a very trusting person.
I replied casually, “Let me do some research, and I’ll get back to you,” but I knew I wanted the pig. I just had to figure out how to make it happen.
It’s tricky enough to bring a pig back to the house you share with several other pets, a roommate and your long-time partner. But on top of that, only nine months earlier, I’d brought Delores home without talking to Derek about it. As you might expect, he didn’t react well.
I had to plan this right, to make it look like I wasn’t doing something behind Derek’s back—even though I was doing something behind his back.
A few hours later, I got another message from the woman:
“Someone else is interested, so if you want her, great. If not, this other person will take her.”