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Piggy Hero

by Cindy and Bud

Piggy is a Silkie rooster, and also a very beloved and loving house pet. Piggy has never been constrained in any way, except to the house (though of course he does have supervised yard forays) and so has developed his own routines. When he's not asleep, Piggy socializes. Wherever the people are is where he will be, either sitting behind them on the back of the couch watching videos, or nestled on the bed beside a lazy reader, or pattering from room to room as errands are attended to.

But at night, Piggy makes his way to his bed, which is the back of the couch (eternally towel-draped), and generally speaking he will then sleep through all manner of activity and noise. Now and then he'll arise with a second wind if the lights are turned on or if he hears activity in a distant room and finds it too quiet where he is, but generally he sticks to his routine. In the morning, he hops up, crows, gets himself a bite to eat, and seeks out a bed to jump into, where he will greet any sign of movement by gentling nibbling noses or tugging on hair in an attempt to waken a sleeper for a petting session. If he is unsuccessful in his attempts, as he often is, he will settle down to nap quietly until his companions finally arise. Often I have walked by Mark's room to see a heap of bedclothes, with nothing emerging but Piggy's rotund rump and a rather limp hand petting said rump.

Last night Mark was away, and our housemate Paul and I were the only humans in the house. Piggy had gone to bed as usual several hours before, and Paul had retired to his upstairs bedroom. I was in my room at the back of the house, picking sluggishly at a couple watercolor commissions. Around 11:30 I passed Piggy on the way to the kitchen to put on the teakettle, but Piggy never woke up, although I briefly rubbed his back in passing, as always.

It can't have been two minutes later that I heard Piggy hit the floor with a thud. This caught my attention, because it was late and there was no conversation for him to be seeking out, no lights, nothing to wake him. I called his name. Suddenly he rushed into my room and leapt onto the bed, clearly agitated and making distress noises. Thinking vaguely that perhaps an animal had gotten in and frightened him, I ran through the living room - to find the kitchen half engulfed in flames, visible only as a large red glow through thick black smoke. I tried to turn on the light, and thought it must have blown, though I later discovered that it was still working, but so thick was the smoke that I could not tell if it was on or off. I screamed for Paul and fumbled the outside door open, got the outside light on and tore open the door of the bulkhead to the basement, where the garden hose had recently been stored. As Paul dialed 911, I turned the hose full force on the door of the kitchen as smoke pumped out like a huge black caterpillar. By the time the fire trucks arrived, the walls and ceiling were still smoldering, but I had gotten the flames out some minutes before. We were hustled from the house and the fire axes went to work. At one point I sneaked in and checked on Piggy, and he was standing alertly on the bed where I had left him, so I left him and went back outside while the firemen finished up. They said that surely another minute and we would have lost the whole house, and they did not need to say - possibly our lives as well. They asked what had happened and I told them all, including Piggy's role. As they were winding down, I was standing in the smoldering remains of my kitchen, talking to two firemen in full gear, when one of them cried, 'There's the chicken!' Piggy, hearing my voice, had taken that for an all clear, and left the refuge of my bed to amble out, rather timidly by his own standards, to be introduced.

I intend to propose at the next town meeting that a monument be erected in Piggy's likeness on the fire station lawn. This evening Piggy, who when he is not being a hero is just a regular stay-at-home kind of guy, ate a prodigious quantity of peanut butter, cream cheese and olive sandwich (you read right), wiped his beak repeatedly on my leg, and snuggled down beside me for a nap.

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