When I wrote my story about Cooper and the wild boar he tried to befriend, well, I did it as a way to make my peace with my furry friend’s passing.
And as frequently happens when I write about things that hurt my heart, my blogging buddies have all helped me through what has been a sad few days. Thanks. It has made a difference.
Karen, from Mom in the Muddle commented that she’d never known anyone with a wild boar story And it occurred to me that I have several.
So I thought I’d tap that keg one more time, and tell you my other wild boar stories.
Spoiler Alert: Nobody dies. You’re welcome.
Linda was an English angel. We met when she came to my door about six months after we moved to Switzerland. By that point, I was incredibly lonely – my French was, ummm, sucky, and I knew very few people.
Then Linda knocked on my door. She spoke English. And she was moving in down the street with her husband and two, count ‘em two kids – a girl Jacob’s age (Catherine) and a boy (James) a year younger. Friends for my son! Did I mention that she was English. And that she spoke English?
While Linda was visiting that first afternoon, John called. I told him that we had a new neighbor who spoke English and that I wasn’t going to let her leave. I said this in front of Linda. Somehow, she didn’t take me to be some sort of psychopath and became my friend in spite of what must have seemed like a creepy thing to say.
Anyway, one evening after Cooper and I had our encounter, Linda was driving down the busy road that was next to our house. Linda drove a large, green Mitsubishi Montero, and that night she struck a fully grown, male wild boar. Only a car that size could have won such a jousting match. Linda was unhurt, and she called the local police, the gendarme, to report it. The men in uniform came rushing.
Now what do you think was their first question? Did they ask if she was hurt? If her car was alright? If she was traumatized by hitting and killing a beast that weighed as much as a truck?
No. Wrong on all counts.
“Madam, do yu vant it?” they said in heavily French-accented English. “Ze sanglier? Ze body? Ze boar?”
You see, the meat from wild boar is a much sought after delicacy in Switzerland and France. Linda was unaware of that fact.
Linda straightened her British backbone, stiffened her British upper lip and said in her most refined British accent:
Linda’s boar was given to a local bistro in the next town. The served sanglier à la chaise for the rest of the season.
I didn’t try it out of respect for Cooper’s pal, the boar who didn’t kill us. It only seemed fair.
* * *
Boaring story #2
In mid-2000 we moved a short ways away, across the border into France. There we had a lovely house, but the dog walks were less spectacular.
Still, every night after Jacob went to bed, John or I would take Coops for a walk. We took turns, because Jacob was still too young to leave alone. We were still surrounded by farm fields, but the views and the walks now along town streets that meandered alongside of farm fields, instead of farm roads that criss-crossed them. These roads were built for cars, and darn it all, people used them to drive on!
John insisted on taking a flashlight whenever he went for a walk at night. I thought he was a pansy. I mean, really, there were streetlights here and there, plus your eyes adjust to the darkness and I for one could see just fine in the dark, thank you very much. I was not a pansy; I didn’t carry a flashlight.
And you know, that was probably just as well, because one night while Cooper and I were out, we walked down a road that was busy enough to require me to leash Coops. And it was a good thing. Because as we came around a curve I noticed something silhouetted in the streetlight 30 feet ahead of us – a full grown, tusked, wild boar.
Male wild boars have tusks that protrude from their lower jaw. They use these tusks to skewer dogs and people who displease them.
Cooper and I stood very still and watched him. The streetlight glistened on his tusks which were quite large. I figured they would easily go through either Cooper or I. Maybe both.
Unless we died from the stench. Wild boars seem to have an aversion to water. And soap.
After about 10 minutes that seemed a whole lot longer, Pumba moved on into the farm field on the other side of the road. There was a dip of about two feet between the road and the field, and Pumba negotiated it easily.
Phew! Another boaring averted.
* * *
Naturally, I started to become a wee bit nervous. Paranoid. Fearful of large mammals that might kill me and my dog.
I was pretty sure I wouldn’t do anything stupid around a wild animal. I respected them. I admired their strength. Their wildness. Their ability to kill me if I ticked them off. So I knew that I was safe.
Cooper? There was not even the slightest chance that he would be sensible. So during the fall, when the wild boar were known to be around, I kept him on the leash in the evenings. I was learning.
I did decide that maybe my husband John wasn’t such a pansy after all. Perhaps, I thought, just perhaps, a flashlight wasn’t such a stupid idea. It could let me see what was going to attack me, although sometimes I think you’re better off not knowing what’s gonna hit you. Still, maybe having a flashlight would give me a blunt instrument with which to defend myself. I looked at the six-inch plastic flashlight in my hand and realized that I was totally screwed in the weapons department.
One night, not long after Cooper and I had seen Pumba basking in the streetlamp, that we had another sighting. I was starting to worry that my luck just couldn’t continue. Time was running out. How many times can you be in close contact with a wild boar without getting boared?
It was getting on towards December. There was a distinct chill in the air. The leaves were off the trees, the shrubs were bare . The moon was full that night, and so I left the flashlight at home. I could see just fine in the bright light that needed no batteries. Of course, just when I needed the moon, it chose to disappear. And that is when I looked to my left and saw the dim outline of yet another wild boar. And this one was even bigger.
This wildlife crap was beginning to get on my nerves.
“SHIT!!!!” I thought. “What is with these pigs? Do I have a ‘Gore me’ sign on my back? Or one that says ‘Secretly wants to be Boared?’ ”
Does Mother Nature truly have a warped sense of humor?
In the dim light, I could just see the animal slowly walking, straight towards me and Cooper. We slowly backed away, but it kept coming. Slowly and steadily it lumbered our way, prolonging my fear. Why not kill me and get it over with?
I swear, this animal was even bigger than the last boar we’d seen. From its size and shape, I figured it was possibly the largest wild boar on earth.
And then, just when it was at the edge of the field, about 20 feet away from frozen me and squirming Cooper, something surprising happened.
The wild boar mooed.
The farmer had apparently just moved his herd of cows to that field the other boar had crossed. It had previously been empty. The moon came back out and shined down on me, as I laughed uproariously. Cooper looked confused but he wagged his tail and tugged on his leash. He wanted to play with the cows. Of course, they don’t much like dogs, either.
* * *
Cooper and I never again met a wild boar. And you know what? That suits me just fine. Because dealing with one sanglier was memorable. A whole herd of them was just getting boaring