Pig recovers from highway fall

240-pound animal jumped out of trailer traveling 45 mph

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photoJorian Bruslind, 14, shows Snickers, a 6-month-old Berkshire gilt pig, in Lacomb, Ore., on Aug. 9. Snickers survived jumping out of a trailer while it was going down the highway July 22.

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LACOMB, Ore. — Any day now, the Bruslinds expect the words to be woven into a web over Snickers' pen: Some Pig.

But even without a spider's endorsement, they know they have a rather special swine.

"We've been calling her our miracle pig," Linda Bruslind said of the 6-month-old Berkshire gilt, a 4-H project belonging to son Jorian, 14. "If she has piglets, we'll have to name them Hope, Faith, Miracle."

Snickers survived a fall from a trailer going 45 mph down Highway 20 on July 22, just after the closure of the Linn County Fair.

Scott Bruslind and Jorian's twin siblings, Svea and Kelton, 11, were headed home with Snickers, fresh from a champion designation, while Jorian and Linda stayed at the fairgrounds to clean out pens.

The Bruslinds figure Snickers got lonely without her siblings, who'd been sold at market. East of Albany, just before the turnoff to Highway 226, she made a break for it, launching her 240 pounds of pork right through the open windows of the rear of the trailer.

That's a good four-foot leap, and the impact rolled her right down the highway, said Scott, who didn't feel the sudden departure but happened to glance out his rear-view mirror to see the spiraling Snickers.

Fortunately, the driver directly behind the Bruslinds was coming from the fair as well, also pulling a trailer, and was going slow enough to stop in time. The women, whose names the family did not get, were helpful in calming a hysterical Svea and in helping Snickers back into the trailer.

It didn't look good, the family remembers. Snickers had several nasty-looking cuts and scrapes, didn't seem able to move at first, and coughed up blood. Once Snickers was secure, Scott drove straight to the slaughterhouse, figuring she had to be suffering fatal internal injuries.

But the slaughterhouse owner wasn't around, and after waiting for a while, Scott and the children drove home. The family put Snickers away, plugged in a heat lamp to help keep her from going into shock, and checked on her through the night, hoping for the best.

It took a couple days for her to get up and moving again, but now, three weeks later, it's hard to tell anything happened, the Bruslinds said.

"She was sore for quite a bit and is just now losing huge scabs from her road rash, but it looks like she'll make a complete recovery," Linda said.

The other day, she added, "I was out in the pasture and told her it was dinnertime and she came running."

The Bruslinds have had chickens for several years, but didn't branch out into other animals until Jorian began looking for 4-H projects five years ago. At first, all he knew was he didn't want a chicken.

"I get kind of tired of chickens. They're small, they're annoying," he said. "I like bacon. Pig equals bacon, pigs are good."

Jorian and Scott researched pigs and decided to raise a Berkshire as a breeding project, joining just a handful of Berkshire owners in the mid-valley.

Although docile, well-mannered and prized by the Japanese for its rich-tasting meat, the breed isn't well-known locally. It also doesn't usually do well at fairs, where judges tend to put a premium on the pale, leaner porkers, the Bruslinds said.