The Good Good Pig: The Extraordinary Life of Christopher Hogwood
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“Christopher Hogwood came home on my lap in a shoebox. He was a creature who would prove in many ways to be more human than I am.”
–from The Good Good Pig
A naturalist who spent months at a time living on her own among wild creatures in remote jungles, Sy Montgomery had always felt more comfortable with animals than with people. So she gladly opened her heart to a sick piglet who had been crowded away from nourishing meals by his stronger siblings. Yet Sy had no inkling that this piglet, later named Christopher Hogwood, would not only survive but flourish–and she soon found herself engaged with her small-town community in ways she had never dreamed possible. Unexpectedly, Christopher provided this peripatetic traveler with something she had sought all her life: an anchor (eventually weighing 750 pounds) to family and home.
The Good Good Pig celebrates Christopher Hogwood in all his glory, from his inauspicious infancy to hog heaven in rural New Hampshire, where his boundless zest for life and his large, loving heart made him absolute monarch over a (mostly) peaceable kingdom. At first, his domain included only Sy’s cosseted hens and her beautiful border collie, Tess. Then the neighbors began fetching Christopher home from his unauthorized jaunts, the little girls next door started giving him warm, soapy baths, and the villagers brought him delicious leftovers. His intelligence and fame increased along with his girth. He was featured in USA Today and on several National Public Radio environmental programs. On election day, some voters even wrote in Christopher’s name on their ballots.
But as this enchanting book describes, Christopher Hogwood’s influence extended far beyond celebrity; for he was, as a friend said, a great big Buddha master. Sy reveals what she and others learned from this generous soul who just so happened to be a pig–lessons about self-acceptance, the meaning of family, the value of community, and the pleasures of the sweet green Earth. The Good Good Pig provides proof that with love, almost anything is possible.
From the Hardcover edition.
them with horses (not a bad guess, as both are hoofed mammals—but new DNA evidence shows horses are actually more closely related evolutionarily to dogs than to pigs) because I almost immediately got on the back of one of them as if she were a pony. The pig generously let me ride around on her. This was much talked about in the dusty little cotton-growing town of Lexa, where my glamorous mother had, improbably, grown up—a place where nothing much more exciting than this ever happens. Later, the
write. “I pray you are well by the blessings of Goddess.” I prayed even harder for him and his family; after all, they lived on the outskirts of a reserve inhabited by five hundred man-eating tigers. “Thank you very much to write long treasurous letter. I used to wait for the same as a thirsty bird and inquire to the postal department….” I did, too. Pat knew well how eagerly I awaited Girindra’s letters. We wrote each other about every two weeks, but it usually took a month for a letter to
definition we can’t have it. Ever since Sunday school, I’d been intrigued by the notion of Eden. It irritated my Methodist teachers that Eden appealed to me far more than heaven. Heaven you might get to after your death, if you were good—but there was no hope, I was told, of finding Eden. Heaven seemed boring, though. There is no mention of plants or animals there, whereas Eden was full of them. In Eden, the animals spoke (at least the snake did), and we understood what they said. In heaven you
from when I’d lived in Virginia in junior high: the neighbors next door, whose son and daughter I used to babysit for twenty-five cents an hour. The folks whose backyard abutted ours, whose daughter had shown me the local creek and how to find box turtles there. My mother also had many friends from the military, especially from the Army’s Transportation Corps. But in the years since my father died, my mother had made new, young friends as well: Scott Marchard, originally from my mother’s home
came to love my intensity and joy. Eight years later—after I’d quit the paper, lived for six months in a tent in the Australian outback, rejoined Howard in a rented carriage house at the New Hampshire–Massachusetts border, and moved, again, to the house our friends owned—we were still living together. I had not mentioned this to my parents. I hadn’t, in fact, mentioned Howard at all. My mother had strong views about the “right kind” and “wrong kind” of people to “cultivate.” This tall, skinny