By Darren Lum
When Heather Peddie was reunited with her “babies” she was overcome with relief after they went missing for more than a day while she was out of town last week.
Upon returning from a business trip the retired dairy farmer with 96 acres off of Glamorgan Road didn’t see her pet micropigs when she called out to Prince 2 and Peewee 3 like she always does.
Later in the day her daughter returned from high school asking if the family’s pets Prince and Peewee were missing.
Through Facebook it was revealed there were pigs being sighted in the area off the family property. Peddie realized they had had somehow crossed the Burnt River and left the property.
Peddie was worried with hunting season they might be shot particularly Peewee who has black hair that could make him look like a bear.
Peddie tried to contact the various people who saw her pigs. Then she learned the story was on Canoe FM and subsequently contacted them and then called Michèle Swyer.
Swyer a year-round resident on Paradise Lake was one of several people who saw one of the pigs on Wednesday.
Swyer remembers seeing a pig (she thought it was female) through her front window walk across her front yard while having tea last week.
“I was just sitting here having my tea at 9:30 a.m. or 10 a.m. Not doing anything in particular and it just walked by” she said.
Initially she thought it was some sort of dog.
When she went out her front door to her lawn the pig initially moved away because of the noise but then came closer.
“It sort of looked at me sniffed and dug the ground and then walked within three feet” she said.
Swyer used the opportunity to take a few photos of the inquisitive visitor which she noticed was the size of a large dog but with black-hair and tusks measuring a couple feet high on all fours.
“It was hairy so it wasn’t your barnyard pig” she said.
The 18-year resident always wanted to see different animals up here. A pig wasn’t one of them.
“I wanted to see a moose or a wolf or something and I see a pig after all the years I’ve been up here” she said.
Peddie eventually contacted her and others to figure out where her pigs were.
The concerned pig owner didn’t find them in each case after following up with the sightings.
Last Thursday afternoon they returned.
“The dogs started barking and I looked out here they were” she said.
Peddie said they came walking down the driveway grunting to each other.
She was happy and relieved.
Normally the pigs are well fed with vegetables and fruits food scraps from the local grocery store but this was a special occasion.
“We sat down and had a chocolate bar together. I treated them” she said laughing.
The pigs were only gone overnight and really only travelled close to a kilometre through the bush she estimates from the sightings. She wonders what exactly they got up to in the time they were away.
The affection Peddie has for her pigs is apparent with her comprehensive understanding she has of them and her feelings about the common jokes about comparing her babies to breakfast.
She gets angry and tells people they would never consider eating their pet dogs so it’s ridiculous for her to ever contemplate eating her pigs.
They’re just like members of her family she said.
“They have the run of the place” she said.
Prince and Peewee who are both more than 23 kilograms are housebroken and spend the harsh Haliburton winters inside. The other seasons they sleep in their enclosures under the deck at the house but love and spend time outdoors she said.
When they are inside and want to go out they whine and press their snouts in the crack of the door.
She was shocked about reports that people were afraid for themselves and their dogs upon seeing her pigs. No one needs to be afraid of the pigs particularly Peewee she said. They are gentle with people and love dogs and have photos to show how they get along she adds. Even visiting wildlife to her property has not had a problem with the pigs either.
If it was to come down to a choice between her dogs or her pigs it would be the pigs Peddie said unequivocally.
She’ll look to reinforce the enclosure since the pigs escaped by pushing through the two bottom rails.
Although this isn’t the first time they’ve broken free of the enclosure they have never wandered off the property she said.
“I guess maybe because I wasn’t there and had someone watch them they kind of went ‘ Oh my gosh mom’s gone. Let’s go look for her.’ I don’t know” she said.
They had access to food and water so there really isn’t a clear reason why they left she adds.
They had never escaped before and she wonders whether they were spooked ran off and became disoriented. Loud noises like the sound of an approaching vehicle or a gun shot could do it.
As far as them coming home Peddie said these are smart pigs that understand where they feel welcomed.
“They know where home is” she said.