Zacky Boy

Today we are mourning Mr. Zack Prust, a shy and courtly fellow of impeccable manners and uncommon delicacy, who passed away this sixth day of September 2007.

Zack’s life began in Northern California, where he had the good fortune to meet up with Donna Prust. He immediately knew her for the fine pig momma she is, and ran to her and put his head in her lap, to the amazement of the sanctuary staff, none of whom had been able to form a close relationship with him.

He grew up with the Prusts in Livermore, where he enjoyed an indoor/outdoor lifestyle and the company of Chloe, for whom this site is named. It was there that I first met him, hanging back shyly in the rear section of the back yard. His life there was filled with sunshine, cornflakes, a snuggly pig bed on the bedroom floor, and the frequent admonishments of Chloe (on the right in both pictures), which he took in stride. In fact, after an argument forced a separation between them, his gentle forbearing nature allowed them to be reunited eventually.

He would delight the letter carrier by waiting calmly behind Donna as she received the mail.

Zack had a genuine innocence which he kept to the end of his days. One of his greatest joys was the pantry area of the kitchen, where he had the good luck, one day when the family was out, to discover a bag of rice, obviously intended for him to open and eat. During one of my visits he extracted and disassembled the ball of plastic grocery bags, and I will never forget his trusting look of confusion when Donna took him to task for this activity; why else would the bag ball exist except for him to pull it apart? Likewise bubble wrap was obviously invented for him to walk on and pop.

He had the good sense to use the concrete pavers in the patio area to keep his own hooves trimmed, saving the necessity of vet visits for that purpose, although he developed a lifelong appreciation and enjoyment of the ISO gas he got there, such that Donna only had to say “ISO, Zack, ISO!” and he would amble expectantly into his crate.

A major disruption came in his life when the Prusts retired to a farm in Western Washington state. Faced with hated, hated change, beginning with a long miserable road trip, Zack became terribly depressed but hung on with Donna’s encouragement until at last he found himself uncrated in paradise: several large level acres of fresh, tall, tempting grass. Soon he was munching with delight. Then later that year there were the dandelions, which he beheaded with a gourmet’s finely tuned appreciation of the newly opened ones; then the apples, a belly-dragging surfeit of them, and the mushrooms, and the Autumn pleasures of trench digging.

The cold season wasn’t as appealing, but he enjoyed breakfast in bed, bed now being his custom built pig house under a fruit tree, tilting the pan up into his face so as to get every last bit.

Zack was always shy with me but overcame his reservations when I brought him raisins, which he took and ate with great gentleness. On my visits to the farm he would greet me and inform me of everything of importance: how he and the grass were, how nice it was to walk around coated with straw, how much he enjoyed the raisins, and so forth, in a well modulated conversational tone. Though he grew to be a large potbelly pig, and maintained alpha status over his companions Josephine and Sarah, he was unfailingly polite and gentle with humans.

He led a long, full life and will be missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him.