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Wednesday, January 10, 2001

Story: Arnold: My Best Friend

A True Pig Story By Brock Gibson

I recently lost my best friend Arnold in an automobile accident while moving my family to our new home in Arizona. Arnold was an 8-month old pot belly who taught me so much about love, devotion and companionship. I am devastated by his loss, but thank God daily for blessing me with the joy of having Arnold for his short life.

Anyone contemplating a pot belly as a pet should know that if you are a true pet lover and devote yourself to them, a pot belly will make the most wonderful friend. You will be assured of endless hours of fascination and entertainment as you both grow together in understanding the human/pot belly relationship. Words cannot describe this relationship and it can only be fully understood by experiencing it.

Arnold didn't know he was a pig -- he thought he was just another member of our family -- modeling his behavior through observing me, my wife, my two daughters and our beagles. He was convinced he was loved by all; and he was, even when he was ornery trying to just get our attention. He learned his name, how to sit and how to use the litter box all in the first week we had him (at 7 weeks old!).

He loved to sleep on your lap as you sat on the couch watching TV. He didn't care if he grew to weigh 45lbs, he still expected you to hoist him onto your lap at precisely 8:00 pm every evening where he would fall fast asleep within seconds after snuggling his wet nose between your neck and shoulder. If you didn't respond to his initial "honks" letting you know it was his nap time, he would bump your legs with his nose until you picked him up.

With his weight as it was, you couldn't hold him all evening as he preferred, so you had to slide him off onto the couch next to you where he would sleep for hours with all four legs and his nose sticking straight up in the air. He would snore as long as he could feel you next to him but would immediately wake up if you tried to leave the couch. We had hours of fun balancing objects like a salt shaker on his flat nose while he slept soundly.

Arnold helped me in all my chores around our five acres in the country. Just being there at my feet, interested in what I was doing made even the most mundane tasks enjoyable. When he was out roaming and foraging and you would call out his name, he would come running at top speed, honking the whole way until he got close to you where he would dodge you, zig zagging around with a few victory roles turning in circles before settling down and calmly walking up to you with his tail wagging as if to say (winking) "hah, got-cha."

He even helped me build a kit aircraft and a customized trailer to haul it around in. I was planning on taking him flying with me some day. He loved to play with my sockets and rolled them around on the shop floor. Just as I would struggle and get frustrated with some difficult task, Arnold would show up underneath the trailer, with his wet nose in my ear and honking -- seeming to say, "take a break and laugh with me for a while, that should make it all better." And it did, every time.

God's marvelous creations minister to us in the most special ways if we can just stop for a few moments and observe them. God used Arnold to teach us this very important lesson in life which we will never forget.

My wife and two daughters began to say that Arnold and I were so close that he had become the son that I never had in our family. It seemed that we could no longer have any kind of conversation in our family or with our friends without Arnold being a main topic. The neighborhood kids would make appointments to come visit Arnold and couldn't wait to come over and play with him. The people in our church even offered their thanksgiving through prayer for the ways Arnold touched our lives.

Arnold went most everywhere with us--Pet's Mart, Wal-Mart, birthday parties, Christmas vacation to Grandma's. He loved riding in the car/shopping basket and was a big hit everywhere he went. Arnold had become such an important part of our life that when we found out that our family would have to move to another state, we insisted that the contract on our new house be contingent on the homeowners' association approval of Arnold in writing before we would agree to purchasing in our prestigious neighborhood.

On the day we left our old home town, we had a going away lunch with our friends from church. Everyone there just had to go out to the truck where Arnold and all our other pet were and say goodbye. Arnold trusted me to take care of him and get him to his new home. Tragically, along the way, the wind blast from a semi knocked our trailers out of control and pushed our truck off a 40' bridge. We lost a big part of our family that day when our pets Arnold, Sweeti and Leanna were killed. I feel terrible for not being able to protect Arnold the way he trusted me to. However, I will be forever grateful for the fond memories of him which I will cherish forever.

Thank you for reading this and allowing me to share some of Arnold's life with you. If you decide that a pot belly is the right choice for you both, I pray that you will be rewarded in the same way my family was with Arnold. (oo)

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