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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

April 13, 2012

This Little Piggy

By Elizabeth Creith


It's always a risk to bring in new pet product. What's flying off the shelves in Toronto or Montreal may take root, settle down to raise a family in our Sault Ste Marie pet store. Dry goods are bad enough, but there are options if that glitzy new line of pocket pooch hair bows doesn't sell. (Trust me, with our clientèle, it wouldn't; even the Chihuahua owners are more the studded-collar type.) You can pack them into a box in the back room, give them to the local second-hand shop or, if even they refuse them, throw them out. New animals are a bigger risk; no second-hand store will take that unsold axolotl.

A few years ago, miniature pot-bellied pigs became a big thing, even here. Our ferret supplier let us know that he had piglets for sale, neutered and in the case of the boar piglets, de-tusked. David suggested to me that we get a few.

"I don't know," I said. "You know we could have a lot of lookers and no buyers. Then what?"

“Just four,” he said. “We can move them through quickly, and once they're gone, we won't get any more. Besides, there's always the rabbit option.”

"True," I said. "Four, then and no more."

Piglets for sale
A few days later we picked up four piglets at the Sault Ste Marie airport.

They really were appealing; four little black critters, each the size of a loaf of raisin bread with bright button eyes and a wiggly little nose making snuffly baby noises. All the women at the cargo counter were little piles of mush. Even the security guard, a lean, dark young man who looked like he'd be more at home running a prison camp than riding shotgun on a two-runway airstrip, allowed they were cute.

I don't know if we've ever had more traffic in the pet store than we did for the week we had those piglets. Of course, there were a lot of lookers, people who had perhaps never seen a live pig before in their lives, but there were four buyers in very short order. Cute as those piggies were, I was relieved when the last one went.

“Let's get a couple more,” David said.

“You said when these were gone, no more,” I reminded him. “You know they don't stay small forever.” Or at all, I might have added. Although miniature pigs are smaller than the usual run of porkers, the key to keeping them in the 50-pound range is strictly limiting their food and treats. We already had people trying to return big, ugly Oscars that had outgrown their tanks. I didn't want someone dropping a 200-pound pig on us and demanding we take it back.

“Just two. We can sell two more—I've had serious requests,” he said. “Besides, there's always the rabbit option.”

So we ordered two more.

“So cuuuute!” said the cargo clerk. “What if you don't sell them, though?”

“There's always the rabbit option,” David said.

“What's that?” asked the security guard, “You let them just hop away?”

“No,” I said, without thinking, “we can eat them.” The guard's face fell—I felt like I'd kicked his puppy. “It's a joke,” I added hastily. “I mean, we say it sometimes about rabbits that get big in the store. We've never really done it.”

“Your halo just fell off,” he said mournfully. I could feel his eyes on the back of my head all the way out the door.

We sold the piglets. Honest we did. Really. Can I have my halo back?

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