Grace the Magical
by, 06-15-12 at 11:33 am (209 Views)
Maybe it was the Abby summit. Jumble the Fierce going up to the grids that face Graceís pen and wheeking at her softly. Grace bouncing over and getting up on her hind legs to respond. No growling, no chattering of teeth. Just wiggly wheeking. Somehow, the idea that Grace was ever shy or nervous is hard to imagine. I do believe it. I just cannot imagine what someone must have done to such a vibrant pig to cause her nervousness or fear.
Grace is sleek and glossy and has the softest hair of any Abyssinian Iíve touched. The way her hair poofs out around her hips reminds me of a ballerina in a tutu, or, on some of her more rambunctious days, a wooly bear caterpillar. She is so agile and curious that I forget sometimes that she only has one eye.
If you know the story of Grace, you know that she was dropped by a small child. Her eye was injured and had to be surgically removed. The lids were not sewn shut, so there is a little pink bit of flesh where the eye used to be. It is nothing troubling to look at. However, the child found this now-injured piggy disturbing, so the parents instructed the vet to try to give her away or else put her to sleep.
A wonderful vet student at the clinic brought her home when no one would adopt her. I understand how difficult a decision this must be. You would see so many difficult cases with so many animals, imperfect, unwanted, somehow flawed in the eyes of humans. You have to learn to accept that you cannot save them all, but rather commit yourself to ensuring that they are treated humanely and with respect for as long as they still have life. You give them love and dignity, which is so often more than they ever experience before they come to you.
But on occasion you will find a life that speaks to you in a different language. A life that has had no chance, and in some way embodies the need for kindness and another opportunity. I cannot speak to what others feel in these moments, but there are times that you feel both anxious and settled. And thus you know. Here Grace came to us all, because of the kindness of this person in Kansas, who didnít know then that she was starting a chain of beauty by taking this chance.
I could go on a rant here about the parents missing a teachable moment, a moment to show their child what commitment and responsibility are, and that a handicap is not a flaw. It is only a difference. But that is not what Grace is about. She is the reverse of a rant. She is an affirmation.
Grace sits on my chest when I lie down on the couch. She isnít at the point of stretching out flat, chicken-leg style, but she does purr and groom. And she retrieves Grace Secret Piggy Power Pellets. I have decided that this is the source of her magic powers. She can pop about four or five of those pellets out at once, and noshes every single one in rapid fire retrieval.
She has many magical powers, but one is apparently teleportation. I have seen this twice. I still cannot explain the first time.
I took Grace out of her pen for floor time. The way floor time works for us is that we have an 8 x 10 area that is covered with fleece and towels, with a playpen wall around it. We put in a few tunnels and paper bags, along with hay and a water bottle. On this occasion, however, I used the top part of a commercial cage to help reinforce the area where the play pen grid meets a wall, just in case she pulled a Jumble and got curious about the seam and obsessed about getting out. The wire cage top is inside the floor time area, without the plastic bottom, sitting directly on the floor. Not the fleece. The floor. The door of the cage top is locked shut. The wires are, of course, very close together so no small animal can get out or in.
So Grace is trotting around and popcorns a few times. I am sitting on the floor next to the play area, immediately adjacent to the part where the cage top is sitting. I am making a grocery list, so I am mostly watching Grace but occasionally jotting an item on a pad of paper.
I want to emphasize that there isnít a way for a pig to get out of the floor time area. We wonít leave them alone in any case, but it is very secure and I was only sitting on the floor because Grace had only been with us a couple of days. Otherwise, I would sit on the couch a few feet away.
I turned my head to write down a couple of items on the list. It probably took me 30 seconds or so. I am not sure it was even that long. I look back over. Grace is inside the cage.
I was stunned. She hadnít tried to find a flaw in the play pen wall or pile up stuff to get out, a la Jumble. Somehow, she got into the cage. I checked the door again. Nope, locked. I inspected the wires. Nothing warped, bent, or broken.
In theory, she could have lifted the edge of the cage up and sneaked underneath it. But picture this: the cage is not lightweight. It was flush on the hardwood floor, so it wasnít like there was a gap for her to leverage her nose under. Maybe there would be if it had been on fleece, but not on the floor. Also, even if she somehow did this, how could she have crawled under it and not gotten stuck? How did she do it noiselessly?
She was sitting there nonetheless, looking up at me quietly, wheeking softly. I removed the cage and picked her up. She immediately started to purr. I put her back in the floor time area, where she happily started trotting around and playing with a paper bag. She was not interested in sharing her secret. Clearly, she knows now that she can do whatever she sets her mind to doing. Our job now is to try to keep up with her!