Petunia and Oscar have the right idea. Throughout the day, they go around and tip over all of the fresh water troughs. Then they flop, slip, and slosh until they have wiggled into a perfect customized form fitting mudhole. Ahhhh...
Of course, there is "Mudhole Etiquette" that must be followed. For starters, no matter how carefully young Oscar has prepared the perfect mudhole, if matronly Petunia decides she'd like to give his a try, he'd better hop out on the double. A short bit of pouty whining is acceptable, but it'd better not carry on for very long or it will disturb "her royal highness", Miss Petunia. Before you get felling too sorry for Oscar, or disapproving of Petunia, hear me out.
When fellow pigs Agnes and Ernestine decide to get up from their naps, Petunia is put on notice - get up and move out. The slow speed chase begins. Poor Petunia is on the run (kinda). Agnes and Ernestine "chase" Petunia out of the mud hole and around the barnyards until she has relinquished any territorial claims she may have had on that mudhole.
A few months ago, Petunia and Agnes called a truce and even started to share a pig apartment, Petunia's place. We were thrilled. Petunia had been living a pretty solitary life, by choice. She had been rescued from a severe abuse and neglect case, (well... all of the pigs had) but Petunia had spent years giving birth to babies that were promptly stolen from her. Over time, she detached emotionally from other pigs as a self defense mechanism. The impending separation was too devastating.
She has been at Peaceful Prairie Sanctuary for a few years, and is now slowly starting to trust that her adopted brothers and sisters will never be forcibly taken from her, but it is still difficult for Petunia to allow herself to get too attached to anyone. Oscar and Lucas met her as piglets and tentatively sought her companionship. She loves them, but is still a bit distant at times.
Petunia seems to favor inter-species friendships. For a while, she was infatuated with Petey the donkey. Now, when she needs an emotional "fix", she follows Justice the steer around like a schoolgirl with a crush.
Justice knows that Petunia needs his friendship and gladly obliges. He is always willing to comfort and console anyone in need, and is especially gentle and understanding with the many broken souls who go to him.
© 2006 Michele Alley-Grubb
If living ethically is important to you, please remember that there is nothing humane about “humane” animal farming, just as there is nothing ethical or defensible about consuming its products. When confronted with the fundamental injustice inherent in all animal agriculture—a system that is predicated on inflicting massive, intentional and unnecessary suffering and death on billions of sentient individuals—the only ethical response is to strive to end it, by becoming vegan, not to regulate it by supporting “improved” methods of producing dairy, eggs, meat, wool, leather, silk, honey, and other animal products. For more information, please read The Humane Farming Myth. Live vegan and educate others to do the same.