When I was a sophomore in high school, I was hell bent on showing livestock in the county fair. My agriculture teacher/FFA advisor kept talking about how the sign-ups were just around the corner, and a few weeks later when he asked if anyone needed one I was the first to raise my hand. At that point, I had never raised livestock before or shown any animal at the county fair. None the less, just a short time later, and after a lot of convincing to my grandparents, I went to my first auction.
Along came Wilbur. I went into the auction not knowing a dang thing about what I was about to get myself into. All of my friends told me I was absolutely crazy, and looking back on it I guess I was. People were bidding left and right, but lucky pig number nine would soon be mine.
Once Wilbur was home, I didn’t even remember what life was like before having a pig. Every day when my Grandpa would get home from work, we would let Wilbur out of the pen to run around the yard. He surely knew how to make himself at home. The porch seemed to be his favorite place to be, whether it was underneath in the mud hole he created or on the porch sprawled out waiting for some belly rubs.
Six months flew by fast. After months of preparing, it was finally show time. Wilbur gained 232 pounds (it was probably all of the cookies), and weighed in at 295 at the fair. Following the show, is the auction. For some kids its the best night of the fair and for others its the most dreaded night. It was very obvious which side I fell under as I was choking back tears in the auction ring. Wilbur was sold to the Bank of Old Monroe and they chose to floor him. I was completely in the dark on what that meant. I thanked my buyer, bawling my eyes out, and started to clean out Wilbur’s pen and say goodbye. My friend who’s pen was right across the aisle came over to inform me that Wilbur could go home. I laughed and said yeah right don’t joke around like that, and she said “no, Shayla, seriously. He was floored, therefore the buyer didn’t want to keep him, he was just going to donate the meat. If you want him, you can choose to take him home.” Oh boy, now I had to call my Grandparents at 1 AM to figure out how to get my piggy back home.
After the fair, Wilbur literally had the life. He just laid around in his pen or the yard, swam in his pool (until he outgrew it), soaked up the sun, and consumed way too many cookies. This is how he would spend the next three years.
April 14, 2018 we took Wilbur to a place called “Where Pigs Fly.” A pig sanctuary with over 60 acres to roam with other pigs, cows, horses, goats, sheep, you name it— they have it. Unfortunately, Wilbur became extremely depressed, refusing to eat, drink, or even move. Five weeks later, May 23, we were on our way to Linn to bring him back home for good, and received the phone call that Wilbur had passed away.
Wilbur brought us four years of happiness and a lifetime of memories. Wilbur taught me responsibility, how to be more selfless, and made my love for pigs grow that much more.
So Wilbur, this one’s for you. Wilbur & Me Boutique. Founded April 1, 2019.