Having ridden my bike all over Toronto for the last ten years, I've had many critters run, fly and waddle across my path. Cats. Dogs. Squirrels. Raccoons. Ducks. Geese. As of yesterday, I can add another species to the list: a Vietnamese Pot-Bellied Pig. Yes, pig.
I was riding my bike home on Royal York having dropped off one of our kids at his rock-climbing class, when a pig nonchalantly trotted across the road, stopping the few drivers and pedestrians who happened to be around in their tracks. People were laughing and taking pictures, but no one seemed to be calling OSPCA or Animal Control, which I found surprising. I would have done it, but my phone is currently sim-card free, so it cannot make calls.
I couldn't leave the poor piggie all alone now!
And so I followed her.
That proved a challenging task, for the pig had no respect for property boundaries and, despite being pot-bellied, was able to fit through considerably smaller openings that I, especially since I still had my bike with me. At one point I lost sight of her, but a passer-by, having inquired whether I was "looking for a pig", directed me back across Royal York, to the back yard of one of the triplexes whither the pig had apparently decided to wander.
The pig -- who was obviously someone's pet -- didn't look all too dangerous, but, since the lady with the leash had her hands in her pockets, must have assumed that there were treats to be had, and was indeed becoming increasingly agitated. She started nibbling the lady's coat and eventually jumped up on her, sending the poor woman flying right into the puddle, splashes and all! I helped the lady get up and retrieve her phone, while the man and the boy walked away, not willing to risk their life and limb in a face-off with a lethal monster that is a pot-bellied pet piggy. Classy move, dudes.
Luckily, the cell phone that had landed right by the edge of the puddle was undamaged, and some phone calls were being made. Apparently the lady had already called 911 a few minutes ago, in the heat of the moment, but they refused to send out a fire truck, lights a-flashing and siren a-blazing, to trap a pig on the loose. Call us back when it's a tiger was their message. Then she tried 311, 411, Animal Control... I wasn't paying much attention to the numbers she was dialling, since I kept following the roving pig, trying to guide her away from traffic and back into the back yard.
Some residents emerged from the triplex, rubbing their eyes and asking: "Is this what I think it is?" If you think it's a pig, then yes. It is. One of the residents brought out a head of lettuce and starting feeding the pig, which at least kept her in one place. Once the lettuce ran out though, the pig wanted more and was not shy about letting us know that, and the guy had to keep a fine balance between allowing the pig to throw him into the puddle and scaring her away completely.
Finally, a car pulled into the driveway. A man came out, walked up to the pig and, petting her hairy back, mumbled: "Hmmm, Olympia, so how are we going to get you home?"
Owner and pig appeared to be reunited. Except... he wasn't sure how to get her home!
The man rigged up a harness or so out of a length of rope, but the pig -- who had been all about roaming the neighbourhood half an hour ago -- was now perfectly content to stay where it was.
She refused to budge!
After a considerable amount of pushing, pulling and head-scratching, the owner decided that she would just have to go for a ride in the trunk.
Olympia the pig didn't think much of that plan and put up a good fight as the man tried to wrestle her in. Even after the trunk closed, she continued to struggle, which made for a scene right out of a cheap Hollywood thriller.
"Don't get stopped by the police!" I told the owner, and finally, after an hour of pig-herding, was on my way.
At home, I was greeted by a very concerned-looking girlfriend who announced that she was about to call start calling the police and the hospitals. "You better have a good excuse!" she exclaimed.
I pulled out my phone with the pictures and grinned at her: "Oh, do I ever..."