Piggie’s day out

Yesterday was a big day for our little piggie. She met her vet, Dr Borland, and returned to Wabash on Washington, the feed store where she’s a full-blown celebrity.

First, the vet visit. What a relief to find a piggie vet, after calling 19 different clinics in the greater Houston area. I was beginning to think they were all messing with me because I’d call one to be told, we don’t see piggies anymore but Dr So-and-So does. I’d call Dr So-and-So and say, Dr Whozit recommended you as a piggie vet, then Dr So-and-So would chuckle and say oh really? By the way, several of the 19 clinics recommended I call the vet school at Texas A&M. Not saying it’s an Aggie thing, but no one ever answered the phone. No answering machine, no voice mail, no human on the other end. Hmmmm. Those Aggies missed out on their chance to see Miss Piggy all dressed up for her doctor’s appointment. 

Big, big thanks to Cyndi at Ranch Pony for turning us onto Dr Borland. Everyone in her office was so excited to meet Piper. I felt bad for the lady who walked in at the same time as us with her adorable lab-mix puppy, who certainly was precious but didn’t get much attention with Miss Piggy in the house! Several of the vet techs wanted to take a picture of Piper, and one even wanted a pic of Macy’s t-shirt. Our little piggie got a good report from Dr B, and I’m sure Piper wanted to kiss Dr B when she recommended we increase Miss Piggy’s food rations a bit. Music to Piper’s ears!

We picked a day to bring Piper back to get spayed; gotta get the idea out of my head that it would be fun to let her have a litter. No! No! Walk away from the crazy idea!

After the vet visit, we trekked across town to Wabash on Washington, the feed store, to buy another bag of pig chow. Piper made a trip to Wabash about a week after we got her and was quickly befriended by the folks who work there. A couple of them remembered her from our last visit, and our little piggie was a lot more comfortable exploring the store. It didn’t take her long to find the doggie Cheez-Its, and we came home with a big bag. And two mesclun plants, because our piggie likes her some fancy lettuce.Wabash is a super cool place–not just because they sell pig chow, but because they have some cool live animals, gorgeous plants, fun trinkets, and out-of-this world yard art.

We were greeted by Beyonce the giant metal chicken.

If you haven’t read this story about Beyonce the giant metal chicken, I urge you to do so now. Not because the Bloggess needs any more publicity, but because it’s hilarious. There’s a bit of cursing, so beware.

After the giant chickens, we spied this giant pig. The iPhone photos don’t do it justice. 

That is some pig. I must go back and discover what the handle on the side opens up to; a grill? a cooler? a hiding place? The plot thickens.

On to the fabulous yard art, of which I am a big fan. Most species are represented at Wabash. I’d be hard-pressed to choose my favorite, but if I had to pick just one yard-art species it would be the weenie dogs. 

Or maybe the flamingos.

Or maybe the peacocks. So proud. 

But which version? They’ve both fabulous in their own right.

But of course, we are rather partial to pigs in our house. The winged ones are just delightful, although the black & white ones with the long eyelashes look a lot like our piggie girl. 

Seeing as how we are in Texas, the longhorn would be a good addition to the yard (Hook ‘Em!).

If the full-size version is a bit much, there’s always the convenient smaller guy.

The “We don’t dial 911” signs don’t really do it for me, but I applaud the delivery and the sassiness nonetheless.

Piper enjoyed all the yard art species, too.

Almost as much as she enjoyed rooting in the soft, damp earth.

As if all the species weren’t enough, there are flowers and birdhouses, too. 

Tall & short, big & small, the flowering yard art on display made us smile.

The girl is there to give you an idea of the scale (both of the flowers, and of the piggie snacks).

What bird wouldn’t feel luckier than a dog with two tails to live in these houses?

Just when I thought we’d seen every piece of yard art, we spied this little guy, tucked into the corner of a pond. 

So cute!

Once we were sure we’d laid eyes on all the cute inanimate objects, it was time to move on to the real deal. With “Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry” playing in my head, I thoroughly enjoyed seeing these guys. I especially like the guy in front of the red feeder with the duck-fro. That is one stylin’ duck.

Next to the ducks were the chickens, a most beautiful color of chickens, in fact. I absolutely love that soft grey/beige/white combination. I’d always thought chickens were rather bland looking, but now I know better.

Next to the chickens were the roosters, and they were quite proud and preened for us. 

If I didn’t know better, I’d swear these two were having a conversation. I’ve no idea what roosters talk about, but I’d bet it has something to do with the broody hens they can peep at through the wire of their enclosure.

In between the chickens and the roosters, naturally, were eggs. Something about this simple line-up speaks to me. Each egg is a little different, whether in size, color, or the number of speckles contained on the shell, but they all represent some primal, untapped potential. 

The fantailed pigeons are lovely and a step up from the run-of-the-mill pigeons seen begging for scraps in an urban landscape. 

This guy didn’t seem to mind me snapping a pic of his backside.

While the brown & white fantail pigeon got our attention, it paled in comparison to its all-white neighbor. 

Wow. What a showy, feathery display. Beautiful. I wasn’t sure what fantail pigeons were all about, but a quick peek at wikipedia schooled me. They have 30 to 40 feathers, which is “abnormally more tail feathers than most members of the pigeon family.” The less-endowed pigeons tend to have a measly 12 to 14 tail feathers. There are two varieties of fantails, the regular (pictured above), and the silky fantail, which has more variegated feathers. Charles Darwin used the fantail pigeon as an example of the correlation of growth principle in an opening chapter of On the Origin of Species. Fantails are also used in training other pigeons, called Tipplers, that engage in endurance trials. Who knew that a Tippler can fly for 22 hours nonstop? Fascinating.

Stuffed full of pigeon knowledge, we can now move on to the rabbits. 

So cute! I was struck by how similar their markings are to our piggie girl’s. Dark face and body, with a white neck and a white blaze. 

I sure hope these two get to stay together. They look pretty chummy. And the feet on the reclining bunny…precious.

This little bun-bun was kinda shy. I’m not sure, but I think she whispered, “Take me with you!” Ok, but only if we can get this hutch, too. So beautiful (but I’ll pass on the cowboy dude).

It was naptime for this guy, so we didn’t stick around after admiring his extreme cuteness.

While making our way toward the door after a thoroughly enjoyable time at Wabash, a family walked in and exclaimed over Piper. The two young girls were smitten. Their mom told me that on the way to Wabash, one girl said she sure hoped she’d get to pet a pig there. Well, Piper was happy to oblige. Poor Macy was about to collapse from holding her piggie during the family’s Q&A session. They asked all the usual questions: where did you get her? what does she eat? where does she sleep? then the mom asked me one I’ve not heard before: how great of a mom are you for letting your daughter have a pet pig? Macy chimed in before I could answer by saying, “Pretty great!”

We were almost out the door and to the car when we were stopped by one more family, this time a young mother and her mom and a toddler girl clutching a green Care Bear. The moms were way more interested in Piper than the little girl, who eyed our piggie from a safe distance and the security of her mama’s arms. More questions, more ooohing and aaahing, and we were home free. As I was loading our purchases into the car, however, a man with his two tiny, fluffy dogs pulled up beside us and shouted out the window, “Wait! Don’t leave! I’ve got to see that pig!” Another parking-lot chat ensued, and he finagled a trade with Macy so that she had his two fluffy dogs, Shakira and the one who growled a lot, in her arms and he ended up holding Piper. His visit wasn’t complete without taking a picture or two, both with his “real” camera and his iPhone camera. Man, that little piggie is popular.

Finally, after our long, pig-filled day, we were safely packed into the car for the ride home. Piper had a belly full of Cheez-Its and lettuce and a snout full of dirt. The only thing left to do was nap.

Sweet dreams, little piggie.

Crimes in suburbia

Something bad happened at my place sometime between the hours of 3 pm Tuesday and 7 am today.

My sweet little garden rabbit got his head bashed in. 

I sure hope it wasn’t a hate crime.

Who could hate this guy?

Someone apparently did, because they roughed him up good.

Poor rabbit. 

His ears were sheared right off his head. And there’s no recovering from that kind of head wound.

No one is talking. I guess they’re afraid of recrimination.

This guy stands sentry at the front door, and has been quite attentive for years to the goings-on in our little patch of the neighborhood.

He is getting old, though, and perhaps he dozed off.  Or maybe he didn’t cry out for fear of dropping his basket of flowers. I’m sure his hearing isn’t what it used to be, so perhaps he snoozed right through the incident and didn’t even awaken when the poor rabbit got whacked.

The frog couple who live in front of the sentry dog were too busy canoodling to notice any wrong-doing. 

The pink bird of happiness had a birds-eye view of the incident, yet claims she didn’t see a thing. Not sure how she could have missed her fallen comrade, but birds are fickle creatures, and she is a bit of a birdbrain. Good thing she’s so pretty, because she’s definitely not long on brains.

I sure wish someone had let me know that the rabbit was in trouble. He’s had a few run-ins with the neighbor’s cat who likes to creep through the flower beds, but nothing this serious; usually the cat just knocks him off his feet, and Garden Rabbit typically manages to collect himself. I’m always temped to let Harry loose when I see that mangy old cat sneaking around my flowers, but I try to be the bigger person.

Garden Rabbit’s friend, Sir Lops A Lot, was shocked and saddened to hear the bad news. 

As you can see, Loppy has suffered a similar injury, albeit not fatal. Thankfully, through the marvels of Super Glue, Loppy’s ears were saved and reattached, and he made a full recovery. There’s no such happy ending for Garden Rabbit, unfortunately.

I had high hopes that perhaps Angel Dog might have seen or heard something, but clues are scarce. A.D. stands in remembrance of our dogs who’ve gone to the great dog park in the sky and has always been very quiet. I suppose it comes with the territory in that business. Solemn and silent. And a little rusty.

The third rabbit in our warren had nothing to say about the crime, either. Always a little shy and usually half-covered in flowers, I shouldn’t have expected much from her. 

Maybe she was jealous of Garden Rabbit’s height and gleaming white hide. She is pretty dingy and diminutive. Sometimes it’s the quiet ones you have to watch out for the most.

Crackle Frog is way too out of it to be relied upon for any useful information. He’s spent his entire life sniffing pool chemicals, so no one believes a word he says anyway. 

Not even Ellie the Water Girl had any information, and she’s usually the source of the best gossip. You know what they say about elephants. 

The last remaining hope for some insight into this brutal crime rested with the piggies. With the most smarts in the animal kingdom, I knew I could count on these two little pigs to solve the mystery of the Garden Rabbit attack. 

The Winged Thing promised to confer with Black Betty.

Surely with the brainy girls on the case, we’d catch a break and find the killer, restoring peace & order among the yard art.

The brainy girls studied the clues and meticulously retraced the steps of the assaulter in hopes of cracking the case. Working mostly unassisted and with free range of the front and back yard, the brainy girls identified a suspect.

Here’s his mug shot:

I never quite trusted that shifty-eyed, booze-swilling flamingo. He always seemed like a bad seed.