A Lesson in Patience, Pigs and Passers-by

A few weeks back I posted some photos from a wonderful weekend trip to Ohio wherein the Ninja’s middle sister won the Grand Champion Market Hog at the Ohio State Fair. This accomplishment, which I should mention is a family win and not just limited to her, earned her and her hog a spot in the coveted Sale of Champions. The prestigious sale takes place the day after the champion is chosen however, the sale is held in a different building than the show, which is approximately 1/2 mile away from the show barn. The exhibitor, pig and entourage must make this trek, on foot, in the middle of a usually-sweltering summer day in Ohio. Did I mention it’s at a state fair?
Walking a pig through a large crowd requires patience
A small portion of the entourage leaving the pig pavilion

That means there are people EVERYWHERE. So imagine this scenario if you will:
A large hog that has only ever been around three or four people at one time is now thrust into the midst of hundreds of spectators, many of whom are small and screaming, at every junction. The pig is hot, scared and obviously, not on a leash. Throw in an entourage of family members and fair goers who don’t understand boundaries and you can see how trouble can brew and stress can build.

Walking a pig through a large crowd requires patience
Walking a pig down the midway is no small task

I must pause to share how excessively proud I was, and still am, of the Ninja’s little sister. During this 1/2 mile walk, which seemed to last for hours, her pig became “grouchy,” for lack of a better word, and several times tried to turn away from the path and go back to the barn, ignoring her directional guidance. Fair goers offered several comments, some of the most memorable being:

  • You should put that pig on a leash! (To which I promptly responded, “Uh, that’s not really possible at this point.” I was met with an up-turned nose and the retort, “Yes, you definitely can.”)
  • Ewww – gross!
  • That pig is crazy!

Obviously, the unending comments were starting to get to all of us and, bless her heart, that show woman didn’t take her frustration out on the pig. She didn’t issue backlash at the fair goers, she didn’t curse and she didn’t cry. She maintained her composure and patiently continued to move her hog towards the barn while the rest of the family shooed folks out of the way with the explanation that “The pig is scared because it’s a farm animal and there are a ton of people here. We just need to give him some room.” 

Walking a pig through a large crowd requires patience
We’re just going to squeeze right by the French fries stand!
I can think of no better situation than the walk to the Sale of Champions to exemplify the need for farmers, ranchers, livestock owners and showmen and women to remember that there are always people watching and wanting to learn more about animals. A lot of people thought it was really cool that we were walking a pig down the midway; others were disgusted and some people just didn’t give a hoot. But the point is that patience is important when dealing with people and I can assure you that my sister-in-law was a shining example of how we should practice high-quality animal care and interact with consumers who just want a glimpse of rural life.

Happy Friday!

Until next time,
~ Buzzard ~

The thoughts and opinions of this blog post
strictly represent that of Brandi Buzzard Frobose and are NOT representative of
any other entity or organization.