Look out dogs! Pigs may be man's best friend.
I so wish everyone could have the chance to experience just a little piece of my daily life with pigs. There is something so soothing about being around them. They have a calmness to them when they are cuddled up with you that puts your mind at ease that is like the most soothing meditation. The softness and rhythmic sound of them deeply breathing in and out can cure the worst insomnia. And, being a usually restless person, I'm always curious what it is about them that allows me to escape my troubles by simply wrapping my arms around one or more of them. I can sleep peacefully for hours thanks to them.
Then there are those eyes that so deeply piece into your soul. The similarity between a pig's eyes and a human's eyes is so complete that it is hard not to forget momentarily that you are looking at someone of another species. The wisdom and intelligence is clearly present in their stare. The curiosity they possess for all things is inspiring. They take nothing for granted and find joy in nearly all things. They live how all humans should live. They have a passion and zest for life that is only nearly matched in humans in our youthful days of wonder and excitement. But, with pigs, they carry this over throughout their life.
And the kindness and compassion for others is so palpably clear. The family bond between Pumpkin, Charlotte and Millie is as strong as any human family. And my human family is fortunate enough to be a part of their herd and loved by them in the same way. Our mother pig Pumpkin's love for her children is clear anytime her babies are unhappy. In these moments she always comes to their aid. While she is restrained in her actions, she will let you know that she wants whatever is happening to stop. An example of this is when we were at the vet's office recently and Charlotte was unhappy about getting her shots. Pumpkin saw that I was holding Charlotte for her shots and walked over to me, let out her unhappy whine and then put her mouth around my leg gently (without the least bit of pressure) to say "Don't let my baby get hurt." And, yet when I respond to her in a soothing voice telling her that it is okay she seemed to understand and watched closely to make sure that her baby was okay. But, it isn't just for her pig family that she does this. If Pumpkin feels that one of her human family is in danger, she reacts in much the same way. And there is something magical about the way they snuggled up close to you on the couch or the bed and then put their snout near your nose and stare into your eyes. You can feel that they are filled with love. Without experience this, I imagine it is hard for people to understand why I consider our pigs as much my family as my human family.
When people say that dogs are man's best friend, I think this is in part because we've never fully given pigs a chance to compete for this position. But it is also because pigs truly do view us as equals in our relationship with them. They won't worship us like gods as dog do. They will give us a chance to be their best friend. But we have to earn that. And something about that makes them all the more special.