In doing research on how to care for our potbellied pig, I learned that pigs are considered the fourth most intelligent species on the planet, behind humans, apes and dolphins.
So far, 5-month-old Ziggy hasnt opened any latched doors or figured out how to pilfer treats, but shes no dummy, either. She responds to being told no and associates the sound of our daughters basement door opening with feeding time.
At 28 pounds, shes caught up to the dog in length, but not quite in height, and outweighs him by a good five pounds of muscle. Hes not as inclined to chase her around as he used to be, now that the tables have turned and its he who gets batted across the floor when they play.
Im still trying to learn Piggish. The vocabulary may be limited, but the syntax is complex. Theres murf, murf, murf, which is a happy, contented grunt Ziggy makes just after shes eaten a meal and is foraging the living room rug for any interesting bits, like a treasure hunter sweeping a lawn with a metal detector. A higher-pitched ee-ee-ee-ee while pacing around our shins means I want to jump up and sit with you. And theres a strange bellow that sounds like the headcrab zombies on the video game Half-Life 2 (or if youre not a gamer, Tim Allens caveman-sounding grunt at the end of the theme song to Home Improvement), the meaning of which is not yet clear.
The utterance that never fails to crack us up is Ziggys laugh. When the dog is occupying his bed, and Ziggy is roaming around, doing whatever holds a pigs interest, if she comes near the dog bed her constant little murf grunt turns into ah ah ah ah. Its as if something about his current state amuses her. Or maybe shes divulging a haughty ego: Poor fool of a pug. I am the superior being now. Ah ah ah ah.