Max and Max

So it's really no secret that we run a zoo around here. Ever since I met Little Red and we drove to Zanesville so she could re-adopt her Pug Brutus, our home has been the landing spot for a ton of animals. We had Oliver, then Brutus. Along came Joey, then Jessie and June, and...............well, you understand. Some, like Chance, came to us because they needed a happy home in their final days. Others, like Johnny, only stayed a little while before heading off to their forever home (Dave and Sara Burnham love having him now). And we just don't have dogs. Cats and rabbits have come and gone, and currently a snake and couple of frogs call our home their home. Tiffany's soft heart and my desire to give her anything she wants have led to this misfit pet reserve. And we love them all. Including a pig named Maxwell.

She had asked me for a couple of years if we could have a mini pot bellied porker, and I rebuffed her at every turn. Pigs are sloppy, messy, and dumb, or so I thought. But a few months ago, I caved and we picked him up from a place in the south end. He easily fit into his small dog crate, and we were assured that he was full grown. We brought him home, and soon I stopped looking at him as walking delicious bacon and started to realize she was right along. He was clean. He did not smell. And he was smart. Turns out, pigs are known for all those things.

I also discovered that, and this is important, those people LIED to us. He was not full grown. Within a few weeks he out grew the crate. Within 2 months he had outgrown the crate we replaced the first crate with.  It was tough corralling what turned out to be a very stubborn (also common in pigs, something else I didn't know) Max into the house and into the crate. We researched and quickly learned that his particular breed would grow to be 300 pounds or more. By the start of month four we knew we had a big problem, and it was only getting bigger. Tiffany begrudgingly agreed, knowing that finding him a new home was the right thing for him.

We found a new home quickly. My cousin Melanie happened to be looking for a pet pig and had the space to let him grow and live free. It would mean I would have to drive to Virginia to drop him off, but I didn't mind. We love road trips, and I had not been to Grundy since the Gilbert Reunion that inspired  "The Pocketwatch"   years ago. The plan was to take him down this weekend.

On Thursday, a bigger and fatter than ever Max came in the back door and down the stairs. He had mastered the 6 steps in his few months here and never had an issue. Until that day. He tumbled down from the top and, in process, broke both of his front legs and front shoulder. A call to the vet quickly confirmed the worse we had feared. He was in a great deal of pain and, by the time they came the next day, it was time to end his suffering. We sadly told our family and cancelled the trip down.

Saturday morning, we decided to go for a drive, just to see where the weekend took us. Tiffany was pretty down still and I knew just hitting the road would make her feel a little better. Tiff, Tanner, and I made our way into Southern Ohio and Kentucky, stopping various places to check out cool things. I showed Tanner where we lived in Lynchburg, we crossed the suspension bridge in Portsmouth, and stopped at a flea market in Lucasville. It was there that the whole tone of the day changed.

In the farthest corner of the farthest barn at this hole in the wall trading center in the middle of no where was a man who deals in dogs. He had Pomeranians he wanted 250 bucks a piece for. They were front and center in his booth, and he had spared no expense making sure they were happy and playful so he could make his money. Behind them, in an aquarium, was a little bitty beagle. She weighed about 2 pounds soaking wet and could not have been more than 7 weeks old. She had only a Styrofoam water bowl to keep her company, and was curled up, covered in flies.  As she slept you could see her little ribs through her coat. We asked if she had been given her shots or been wormed, and he said no he didn't have time after he did the Poms. Ugh. Ick. We didn't like him, but we asked to hold her. He pulled her out and handed her to me. I said "Ok, your name is Maxine AKA "Max" and handed him the 20 bucks he had been asking for her. A small price to pay to get her away from him and that place. And an appropriate way to honor a pig named Maxwell.

As we drove home, we were in disbelief about what had just happened. At home, we had 2 pugs, 2 bulldogs, a couple cats, and the reptiles. How were we going to explain our new little one to the rest of the crew. Yet they all seemed to understand when we got her home. And now, a little more than 24 hours later, she is spoiled rotten. And we wouldn't have it any other way.

Day # 538. Yes, we have a zoo. But Little Red is happy. Happy Wife, Happy life. It is good to be me!


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