UC Davis undergraduate, 4th year
Major: Wildlife, Fish, and Conservation Biology
Dalia and Elizabeth bonding with the pigs
Over the weekend, I brought my roommate to Pine Trails Ranch to meet the piglets. I had wanted to have her meet them for quite some time, but our schedules never quite seemed to line up. Finally, we found an evening that worked.
In one of my previous blogs, I wrote about how I had taken my mom to visit the pigs and how they had been quite wary of her. Care Bear was definitely spooked by this new stranger on the end of her leash. This time, I thought it best to walk one pig at a time and have my friend next to us to avoid the pigs getting as nervous as last time.
So, we set out on our adventure. Almost immediately, I noticed that the atmosphere was different. Jelly Bean, who we walked first, was striding along as per usual. She even stopped occasionally to sniff at my friend or approach her for pets. I was amazed at the change; in just a few days, and with a slight modification, the pigs were so much more comfortable walking with a stranger than they ever had been.
It’s times like these that I think about how much I relate to the piglets’ occasional nerves. As I’ve mentioned before on this page, I have struggled with anxiety my entire life. Anyone with anxiety will know that it is a battle, and it takes time, patience, determination and specific tools to be able to live with anxiety. I hadn’t expected the pigs to be as nervous as they are when I first joined this team, and learning this has allowed me to gain a greater understanding of how to interact with and train the pigs.
I relate to their feelings toward strangers; I wouldn’t want someone I don’t know to have control of my leash either! But, I also understand that it takes time to develop skills to deal with anxiety. I’ve grown more comfortable conversing with strangers and living with anxiety-inducing situations simply because I’ve had to over many years. Though it has only been a couple of months, the pigs have shown more progress in becoming comfortable with the unfamiliar than I could have in the same amount of time. I am so proud of them!
Green Care Blog
Here you can find blog posts from each Green Care Lab intern. We'll be talking about our research process, the benefits of Green Care therapy, and sharing pictures of our work. Follow along with us!