October 11, 1990 to July 24, 2007
Oliver's obituary is below...
Oliver passed quietly this morning in the presence of his parents, fellow pigs and yard mates. He was helped across because he was no longer able to stand or walk. His quality of life had been reduced to the pleasures of eating [when he was not being bugged by his sister Violet].
Oliver was a very special pig. He was willful, intelligent, playful and brave. He was my buddy. In better days we would go for walks. He would look for something to eat and I would read the mail or smoke a cigar.
He has had several of the best birthday parties I have ever been to. He liked people in quantity. Lots of people and food meant that stuff would fall to the ground. The five-second rule in our house was that if Oliver could get to the food in five seconds, don't try for it.
He scared some people, but he once stood in the kitchen for minutes while a four year old rubbed his back. The look on his face was one of pure joy. He only asked to be treated as an equal.
His job was to clean up under the neighborhood trees every year when the fruit began to fall. He was quite good at sensing open doors. Over the years he snuck out several times. There were a couple of instances when I answered the front door and found Oliver wanting to be let back in. He knew where his regular food came from and I think he liked us.
People liked Oliver because of his personality and uniqueness. We often would be walking with him and people would say hello to Oliver. Neither Holly nor I would know who they were, but they knew him. He introduced many people to the concept of a pet pig.
Oliver's arthritis was discovered during his first year. There is an X-ray of his right leg [and Richard's left arm] to prove it. Still he ran and jumped and was a normal pig [sleeping upstairs] for 13 of his 16.75 years. During his thirteenth year he began sleeping downstairs. It was obvious that coming downstairs hurt. He still traveled and would do anything if it were something HE wanted to do, like play in wet sand or chase our friend Marcie, because he enjoyed scaring her [the sight of Oliver limping after Marcie is a fond memory]. For the last three years he has been medicated for his arthritis. He has had steroid joint shots. While the treatments did some good it was becoming increasingly obvious that his ability to walk was fading.
Last week in a last ditch effort we took him to a holistic vet. We tried a few new things, but last Wednesday it rained. Oliver was on the deck and could not get up because it was slippery. I helped him into a create and got him to his outdoor sleeping pad where he stayed until the end. He got up twice to pee and poop. The efforts caused him great pain. He still took great joy in eating, but feeding was difficult since even sitting upright caused him pain. Since food was such a focus of his life we spoiled him during his last few days. Besides some nutritious foods he enjoyed plums, beer, wine, cashews and a pecan pie that we made him on Sunday. [Even at the end he could still eat a pecan pie in 30 seconds, a huge piece was three bites and two swallows this morning.]
He was very peaceful and not afraid when the end came. He knew that it was time. Don't feel sorry for him. He is in a better place. Just remember the big open mouth expecting to be filled. He has left many wonderful memories and a large hole in our lives. [If you are ever in the neighborhood go down to Wente Restaurant and order an espresso with a shot of Sambuca. It's called a Café Oliver and it was named after our boy].