Corran and the Pig Thief

   Our dog Corran has been featured here a few times and it is worth noting that he is a rescue that we adopted from Pet Smart as a companion for Sia. It is also worth noting that we adopted him as an adult and as a result, he had some emotional baggage that varied from mild to severe. Since we don’t give up on our animals whatever the reason may be, we started working with him and three and a half years later, he is a perfect fit to our family, and most of the baggage ( he still won’t come inside, no matter what the weather is) is gone. One of the things he had a hard time with was playing with toys. As a family, we would play in the yard and Sia would do her usual frisbee flips, ball catches and the like, while Corran just sat there watching the fun with anxiety. No matter what we did to encourage him to play, he would not participate and sometimes would just run to the other side of the house. Three years go by and I had pretty much come to the conclusion that maybe this wasn’t for him. I’ve really never seen it before, but I guess some dogs just don’t play with toys. Then one day I was looking out of the kitchen window and saw something that made me almost pass out. It was Corran, shaking a rag he had found so furiously, it looked like he was about to shake his head clean off. I yelled for Sheila to come see, and we watched him for about twenty minutes before I ran outside screaming “Good boy! Good boy!” His immediate response was to start prancing like a horse with this crazed look on his face, looking for approval like a kid who just made his first touchdown in his first football game. That day we all went out and bought him his first toy. He loved it. He dragged it everywhere. At this point things were great, we could all play together, and even he didn’t know the concept of fetch, it was nice to see that he felt included in our games. As his first toy wore out, we gave him “Piggy”, a stuffed pig that belonged to Sia. She was reluctant to let him have it, snatching it away as soon as it was given to him. She would shake it in his face, and as soon as he came near her, she would growl, letting him know who’s toy it really was. One of the many problems with Corran was his submissiveness. He would let anyone just walk all over him. Cats, other dogs, you name it. I chose this opportunity to teach him the value of standing up for yourself. Every time Sia took his pig away, I would say to him, “Get it boy!” “Get it!”, and he would nervously approach Sia, then dash in when she wasn’t looking and snatch piggy back. This was a huge victory for him. He had never gotten anything on his own before, let alone taking something from his big sister who happened to be the top dog in the family. From that moment on, Corran cherished his newfound prize like no one’s business. Any where in the yard it laid, he was not far behind, giving that coonhound bay (bark) to anything that came near his pig.                                                                                                                                                                                Enter Dexter, a very nice dog who belongs to our neighbor’s adult children. He comes with them every once in a while when they are visiting the parents for a weekend. He loves to come over and play his game of “catch me if you can” and then go home. No big deal. Every time this happens, Corran stands by piggy barking, while Sia chases Dexter around the yard until he goes back home. Everything was fine, until one day the unthinkable happened. I was having my morning coffee on our deck when I heard Corran barking wildly. Then I heard Sia join in. Then I heard the unmistakable sound of the jangling of dog tags that was Dexter. Then just silence. I passed it off as the dogs having their normal bit of fun and paid no attention. It wasn’t until later that day while playing with the dogs that I notice that Corran didn’t have his pig. “Get it boy!” I shouted. Corran runs around the house to the front yard, and returns with no piggy. I repeat the command and again he comes back with no piggy. At this point I start to get nervous because I realize that Corran always knows where piggy is at all times and he looks like he is about to panic. I gather the two dogs and together we look for piggy all over the yard. All the usual places, including under my van, and under the deck. that’s when I realized that Dexter had stolen Corran’s pig. At first I thought, no need to panic, I’ll just go over and ask if they had seen a little red pig, to which they would reply “Why yes, here he is!”, and I would then return Corran’s beloved toy to him. As I get to my neighbor’s yard, I realize that all the cars are gone, and there is no Dexter in sight. This is the part where I feel absolutely terrible. If I had only not been so lazy earlier and just got up to check on things, maybe I could have prevented this. At this point there was nothing I could do except wait for Dexter and his owners to come home. A day goes by and still no one is home. Then two days. Then three. Nothing. Now my mind has been taken over with all kinds of bad thoughts. What if Dexter never comes back? What if he took his pig, and then dropped him in a field (we live in the country) or the woods never to be found? The easy thing would be to go back to the pet store and get him a new toy. The problem with Corran is that he is extremely picky and that pig is more than just a toy to him. The fourth day arrives and I am going to get the mail when I spot this red object laying in our driveway. As I get closer I realize that it is piggy. I immediately started shouting for Corran. At first I got no response, but then I squeezed the little pigs belly and as it let out that familiar squeak, Corran jumped out of his dog house with that “Holy crap!” look on his face. I toss him back his pig, to which he proceeded to shake the thing so hard, that I thought he was shake himself into a coma. As it turns out, Dexter’s owners were being responsible pet owners. As soon as they found the pig, they returned him. And I’m not mad at Dexter. He is a great dog, and he was just being himself. Now Corran is more careful with piggy, and will only have him out in the front yard, within sight of his doghouse. At night he sleeps with piggy tucked under him, and during the day, as in the photo above, piggy is alway within reach of his snout. All of this is understandable after all, he is a prize pig.

Tech:Canon 5D markII, Ef 24-70 L 2.8, ISO 800, 1/80 @ f/5.6


19 Comments on “Corran and the Pig Thief

  1. This is an incredible story. First, I am so impressed and amazed at the evolution of Corran’s acceptance of toys (at least one toy!). You have really created the image of how much she loves that pig — both in your words and the picture. I love the way the frame is mostly of the pig, given that it really is all about the pig …. and the closeness of Corran’s nose to it shows her protection of it. I’m also amazed that the pig looks in really good shape, given that it sounds like it gets a lot of attention and use! Fabulous story, Lionel. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank you Robin. Sheila keeps the pig clean as she washes it by hand and then dries him in the dryer. There’s nothing like a warm pig.

  3. That made me laugh out loud. (And how sweet and wonderful that Sheila takes such loving care of the pig.) I assume the pig does not have a name as you didn’t mention it. But it would be fun to know what Corran calls it.

    • I agree Michael. Animal psychologists are starting to realize that treating a dogs emotional problems is far more involved than previously thought. Thanks.

  4. Awwww look at him with this piggy.. so darn cute. If I could, I would definitely take him out to jog with me. Look at me, I’m already volunteering to house sit your dog LOL. Corran has stole my heart

  5. What a lovely and fun story. And you photographed Corran and the little pig very well. So cute and so relaxed. A very nice picture

  6. This story was so touching. I am So happy Corran is living with such kind and wise people. That day in which he learned to play. So wonderfull. Recovery stories like this are things we all need to here about. After 3 years and you still had plenty of love and patience to give. Thats a rare quality, I admire you guys so much for it. And I ached for hearing Corran had lost the pig briefly. Happy endings are fun.

    • Thank you Sara. I love this dog and it has been trying at times, especially when Sia is so different. But now he loves his home, his cats and I guess us as well. It only proves that there is hope in every dog.

  7. He still won’t come inside? :S
    Poor dog. I don’t want to know how his former owners treated him!

    • i don’t want to know either Kim. He usually only comes in when he hears thunder, and when that happens he shakes like he’s having convulsions. He has recently (the last three months) come in on his own, but it is not for long or frequent enough. But it is progress nonetheless.

  8. What a lovely post, Lionel, and what a beautiful way of telling it. I read it in one breath and was cheering by the end of it. I love a happy ending.
    Hats off to you for working on Corran and helping him overcome his past, and also for teaching and encouraging him to stand up for himself and be more confident. I’m sure that made him happier, too. I can understand why he’s so attached to piggy, and I’m very glad he got it back 🙂

  9. What a great photo and a great story. We’ve always gotten rescue dogs. We adopted one at 6 months and the other as a puppy. Someone had just left him in a box. He has some separation issues and hates other dogs, except his brother. Go figure.

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