Awesome – Tales from the Sanctuary

Awesome was at best not very attractive; at worst he was ugly! His face was so short he looked more like a bulldog than a Vietnamese pot-bellied Pig. In fact, Awesome was so ugly he was verging on being beautiful.

He quickly won the hearts of all our staff; more to the point he won the hearts of 99% of our visitors. Awesome had what was called the “ahh” factor and was very astute at getting his own way – even as a baby, and believe me he really could turn on the charm. He led a totally cosseted life right from day one. It runs in my mind that at one stage this little, black pig at one time had an electric blanket, and if that is not spoiling the child then I don’t know what is.

As awesome grew, believe me he grew at an alarming rate, as did his appetite. He could be found anywhere he thought there might be a chance of the odd snack. He seemed to spend more time hanging around the food shed than he did in his sty. Awesome wasn’t very old when he discovered a rare phenomenon called visitors and soon realised that where there were visitors, there was bound to be food. As soon as he realised this combination; visitor equals food he would amble from picnic table to picnic table wearing his “poor starved me look”. He found that by visiting each picnic table in turn he was able to pull a few heartstrings and was given the titbits he soon became accustomed to. As you can guess, it quickly started to add considerably to his girth.

Summer moved on, and on warm sunny days he would be happy to meet individual cars as they arrived. His ulterior motive was of course to wind his way, not into their affections (but that would do for a start) he was more like the cartoon character Yogi Bear; he was more interested in the picnic baskets!

Should this ploy fail, Awesome would simply up sticks and waylay the next group of suckers – sorry, visitors as they parked their vehicles, then employ the “ahh” factor and if this was not successful he would simply do it all over again. This little pig never went long without a positive outcome. He would never outstay his welcome, when the food was gone, off he would go in pursuit of other unwary souls. I think he realised early on that he had found pig heaven. The tit bits that came his way did not in his mind replace his normal intake of food supplied by the staff, this was looked on as, well, simply perks. In his mind, they were worked for and he had to replace the energy he used to going back and forth to the car park. Life swept along and he did enjoy it. He was part of the scenery now.

Awesome loved everyone, with or without picnic baskets, although they did play a certain part in whether he would waste valuable time with any individual or family.

Pigs as a rule don’t like wet or cold weather and choose to spend these sorts of days in bed. Not Awesome, however, if there were visitors he insisted on being on duty. That is until one day we had a particular group of visitors, with them was a small chap carrying an umbrella almost as big as himself- you know the type, the kind you could use for a small marquee. He was a dapper looking fellow who looked as if he would be more at home in a building society than on a muddy wildlife sanctuary. Anyway, all was well until this person came across our own Awesome who was on the scrounge. No one took any notice and no one saw what caused the disturbance. The first I saw was this little guy backing around the corner of the pig sty brandishing his brolly as a sword. Following the visitor, 3 or 4 yards away, was Awesome. The more this swordsman shouted and waved his fearsome weapon about, the more Awesome chased after him, until they were both at full tilt heading for the carpark. The brolly wielding visitor followed the footpath, not knowing our pig was as intelligent as he was. Awesome took the shortcut past the pond to the car park. Our would-be swordsman was flabbergasted as he came around the end of the building adjacent to the car park; he thought he was safe. The look of horror on his face had to be seen to be believed. In a second the trusty weapon was brought into play, only this time deliberately or not (we will never know) he pressed the button that released the mechanism that allows the umbrella to unfurl. He got a shock as the brolly almost Leapt out of his hand. Awesome got a shock as he had never seen anything like this brightly coloured article that had appeared in his face. He decided that, discretion being the better part of Valour, he should leave this man and his brightly coloured whatever it was, and he left the field of conflict. With his tail erect and squealing for all his worth, headed for the safety of his sty. The visitor dropped the brolly and in the same movement tried to get in his car. Fear must have addled his senses, as we all know we should put the key in the lock and turn it before we can get in the door. The visitor insisted on running around the car trying each door in turn (and may I add he did this more than once before sanity gained a hold) whereby he scrabbled about in his pocket looking for the said keys. Luck was not smiling on our Hero. Someone else must have the keys. By now he had managed to attract a fair audience and it must have been quite a few minutes before anyone could convince him that his adversary had left the field and he was obviously the winner. None of the words of comfort really sank in, it was not until one of the visitors arrived at the car to open the door and allow him to climb into safety that he return to some sort of normality. Sometimes I wonder what exactly sparked off the whole thing. However, the guy and his companions did not stay around long enough for me to find out. I do believe that to Awesome it was some kind of fun thing, probably started by some titbit or other – or maybe the lack of a tit bit!

George Scott