An Airman's Piglet on the Run

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Victoria Nelson
  • 157th Air Refueling Wing

On March 19, in the small town of Goffstown, New Hampshire an Airman was getting his kids ready for the day. At his side was Simon, the family’s new pet piglet.

“Simon stays out in the kennel when we’re all outside,” explained Tech. Sgt. Shawn Sullivan, a ground radar technician with the 260th Air Traffic Control Squadron and the piglet’s owner.

“I was trying to find the dog to lure the pig back inside,” he said. “Simon follows our golden doodle, Bogey, everywhere. When I got to the door without the dog, I saw it open a crack. I looked at him and he saw it open a crack and there was a second we both just knew.”

Simon bolted. He ran down their driveway and across a busy road. Sullivan followed in chase and tried to coral the piglet back to safety.

“There were a couple people who got out and tried to help me and we just couldn’t get him,” Sullivan said. “I finally was so out of breath. We lost track of him. At the end of the day trying to look for him I ran over 7 miles trying to catch him.”

The family followed the piglet’s tracks through drainage pipes and around town. They went down to Glen Lake across the street from their home and followed his hoof prints down to the water.

“We followed his tracks along the shoreline and they just stopped,” said Sullivan. “We couldn’t find him.”

“Then my wife suggested that he may be across the lake at the bus depot, where all the school buses park,” he recalled. “I was like there’s no way he got over there. It’s a big lake and he’s too short and too small to get all the way across. He can’t swim.”

Sure enough, Wednesday morning, four days after Simon took off, the family received a text from a friend across the lake asking if they had gotten a new pig.

“My wife’s friend said the people from the bus company had been trying to catch him all day and couldn’t get him,” Sullivan laughed. “We googled it after but turns out pigs are really good swimmers.”

Tori Gamache, a Goffstown resident, and Sullivan caught the runaway piglet after two hours coaxing him out from under the buses.

“He is so fast,” Sullivan laughed. “And he’s only eight weeks old. We were really worried he wasn't going to be able to find his way back.”

After Simon’s safe return, he received lots of hugs, a warm bath and some of his favorite food.

“I actually had no idea Shawn had a pig,” said Lt. Col. Gregg Van Splunder, the commander of the 260th Air Traffic Control Squadron. “He showed me the video of the capture on a local news site and told the story; the whole office was laughing and happy Simon got back safe.”

This was not the first time Simon has gotten out before, but in the past he stayed close to the family’s dog.

“They go outside together and come back in together,” Sullivan said. “It’s like Bogey is teaching the pig how to operate within the household. The two have really bonded, it’s pretty cute.”

The Sullivan family has a history of loving many animals and was excited to have Simon home.

“We’ve had ducks, chickens, turkeys, dogs and another pig,” said Sullivan.

“We haven’t had Simon long at all,” he added. “But the kids love him. He is part of the family.”