Patricia Kelsall, New Norfolk, Tas
I smiled as my partner called from the yard. ‘Come quick,’ Garry yelled. ‘I’ve done it!’ Wandering outside, I saw him pointing to the ground. In front of him our gorgeous pet had obediently sat down. But it wasn’t a pup obeying its master’s commands – it was our pig, Tina!
Garry was tickled pink he’d managed to train this trotter. And it was Tina’s intelligence that saved her bacon!
On our property at Tynwald Willow Bend Estate, we’ve been breeding the cute creatures for four years. But in July 2014, we noticed something special about one piglet. Weighing just under one kilo, she was the runt of the litter so we named her Tiny Tina. It wouldn’t be telling porkies to say this Babe has brains.
Just like her mum, Houdini, Tina was an escape artist! Garry would place her in the fenced paddock with the other pigs but minutes later we’d hear her at our door.
‘You cheeky thing,’ I giggled, feeding her a treat.
We thought it might have been a one-off but, as there was food involved, Tina hammed up her efforts. Each time she turned up at our door, we fell more in love with her. Just like that, this little piggy was no longer going to market!
That’s when Garry decided to teach her a few tricks, starting with getting Tina to sit on command. Bribing our swine, Tina started to comply. After just two weeks, she’d nailed it. Tina had her backside on the ground and her snout proudly pointed skyward. Her grin after gobbling her treat told us she was stoked too!
Since then, she’s been dubbed the most intelligent pig in Tasmania!
But all those rewards for showing off have had an impact on her waistline. Tiny Tina is properly porky! Now, she’s 17 months and we hope she’ll soon become a mum to gifted pigs like her.
Until then, we’ll continue to spoil Tina with sweet treats. That’s one thing she’ll happily take sitting down!
Originally published in that's life! Issue 1, 2016.