Nevada Union FFA student raises “Some pig” for fair
Nevada County seems to have its own remake of “Charlotte’s Web” with a distinctly marked pig that has been cared for by a Nevada Union Future Farmers of America student.
Named Notorious P.I.G., the swine is held in the pens at Nevada Union, cared for by student Emily Pyzer, who will show it at the fair.
“We have some pigs at the high school,” said Dottie Kelley, Nevada Union special education teacher’s aide, who introduced the pig to her special education class after reading “Charlotte’s Web.”
“I heard of this pig that looks like it has a mustache on its snout, so we took a little field trip to pretend like it was Wilbur for the students,” Kelly said.
“The pig has a very black mark across its snout that looks like a mustache, but also two thick dark grey eyebrows that reminded me of Groucho Marx.
“You’ll never get markings like this again. This is something people need to see. We have our own Wilbur in Nevada City.”
Pyzer has cared for Notorious P.I.G. since April and enjoys seeing the kids around him.
“It feels really good, and it’s nice to have the opportunity to give back in a small kind of way,” she said.
“He runs around in circles when the kids come up. He’s just unique.”
Pyzer said her level of involvement with the FFA program was unexpected.
“I started (FFA) freshman year and at first it wasn’t something I knew I was going to get into,” she said.
After she participated in Forestry Team and Parli Pro, a parliamentary procedure career development event through FFA, Pyzer was encouraged to continue in the FFA program, which requires a supervised agricultural experience project which can include caring for an animal.
“I always wanted to raise a pig,” she said.
Though the initial idea seemed fun, the reality required a lot of difficult training and hard work, with daily visits and walks with a show stick.
“It’s a lot of training, which can get difficult, but it’s going to be worth it.”
Part of the challenge is managing the pig despite its intelligent and stubborn personality, Pyzer said.
“They’re really, really smart and know exactly what they’re doing, but they know they are bigger and a little tougher than you. You have to be rough with them, which can be mean, but it’s necessary. If not, they are going to be mean and think they are superior.”
Notorious P.I.G. memorized a routine in the pen where he walks a certain path and knows when to turn, Pyzer said.
“He loves apples, so every time he does something right, I give him apples. He loves strawberries, too.”
In addition to experience, Pyzer will also receive money at the fair for showing Notorious P.I.G., which will contribute to a future car purchase.
“In the long run, it’s definitely going to pay off,” she said. “It’s a cool experience that will also help me later.”
Pyzer hopes to use her love of caretaking to become an Army nurse one day.
“I’m not sure I’m going to do that, but it’s what I wanted to do,” she added.
In the meantime, she just hopes her pig shows well at the fair.
“I’m really nervous,” she said. “That’s why I’m working so hard — so that he’s well-behaved.”
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.
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