June 2010

Dear Family and Friends,

At 6 p.m. on Friday, May 28th, our first and beloved pig, Clover la Oink, crossed over to Rainbow Bridge. We were with him when he left.

He is survived by his people (Colleen, Wayne, Sarah & Ali),
herd-mate Penny PigMeadows,
countless family,friends and admirers of many species.

He was 19 years, 3 months old.

Our lives will never be the same.

"I was born on a cold winter's day in the rolling hills of New York's wine country. Chilly at the outside edges of the red glow which gave us warmth, I stayed near my mother who told me I was special."

Three days later, I saw Clover for the very first time, knowing he would be ours. Our family had been waiting for him to be born for three months. Videos taken that first day, then again two days later when I returned with Wayne and our girls in tow, show him and his litter-mates darting here and there, never straying far from their mother or the heat lamp that helped to warm the cold, early March air. Yet no matter which way the band of piglets were going, Clover would always stop and stare at me... at us. At only three days old, it was clear to me that Clover la Oink was meant to be ours.

When Clover was about 10 weeks old he began having seizures. The vets had no idea what was causing them, even after a two-and-a-half hour grand-mal seizure that a human probably would not have survived. His vets told us we had to take him to Cornell or he would not live out the month. We did not, truly believing the stress of taking him there would have caused a seizure even worse, taking his life for sure. Instead, we spent the next few months scouring the homeopathic medical books looking for the remedy that would help him. The first one did not, but our second choice seemed to do the job. We then brought home Harry Swinedell to love and enjoy, just in case the remedy did not hold. That was 19 years ago... We had 19 years more than we thought we would have.

So how do you measure one's life? How do you find words fitting enough to memorialize someone who has changed your life? How do you give justice to their memory, their accomplishments, to help yourself find closure, and why would you want to? Questions like these will remain unanswered in my heart as I simply don't know how to do this for Clover. I have tried, by sharing with you the quote above that he gave me a long time ago as I worked on Crossing. I guess he didn't feel the need to elaborate further because at that time his story was far from over.

Clover was special beyond words and each of us are better humans for having had him in our lives. He has taught us so much and is responsible for my career. From the moment he stepped hoof into our home, he became a constant source of joy, laughter, love and unending pleasure. He has proved to be wiser than words and over the years has demonstrated clearly that if humans are at the top of the intelligence scale, then we had to have cheated to get there. He had a lot to teach us all.

The hole his physical presence leaves behind is greater than the sea, yet we each are so grateful and thankful that we were part of his herd. Even as our tears fall, we know in our hearts that our relationship has not ended, it is simply changed. We have been blessed beyond words.

So here is our memorial for our boy, Clover la Oink... moments frozen-in-time in pigtures. This slide-show tells the story of our lives together and I can think of no better way to celebrate his long life. We hope that as you watch, you'll take a moment and blow a kiss heavenward to our smiling friend that we miss so much. Then draw those you love close to you in your heart or by your side. Appreciate every moment that you are blessed with, and may you find yourself counting their birthdays well beyond 19 years old.

May you be as blessed as we have.

Love, Colleen & Wayne

Clover la Oink: Herd leader, herd-mate, animal communicator, best friend, wise one, and NAPPA's Pig Therapist Extraordinaire (Retired).