No one can go through life without the help of others from time to time. Thankfully, when we find ourselves in a sticky situation, we can usually rely on someone being there to lend a hand.
It’s when there’s no one around that a bad situation can become truly dangerous. When one woman was trapped in an impossible situation, she would find out just how helpful a four legged friend could be…
Watch My Pig?
When their daughter asked Jo Ann and Jack Altsman to babysit their pet, they agreed. She was, after all, just a 4-pound little thing and, although she wasn’t a puppy or a kitty, a baby Vietnamese potbelly pig is pretty cute in its own right.
The pig’s name was Lulu and she certainly was a sweet little thing. But pigs don’t have a reputation for being big, voracious eaters for no reason. Lulu ate plenty and, week by week, she was growing noticeably in size…
Growing Up Fast
And as the weeks went by, the Altsman’s daughter, Jackie, kept on putting off the day when she would take Lulu back from her parents. Weeks turned into months, which turned into a full year. In the time that had passed, Lulu went from a cute little 4-pound baby to a hefty “teenager,” weighing over 150 pounds.
Now that may seem like a large animal to you, but the Vietnamese potbelly pig is actually a “miniature” breed. That title doesn’t really make sense until you consider that an adult pig of a non-miniature breed can reach up to 1,000 pounds in weight. If Lulu had been a full sized pig, the Altsman’s probably would have been less than eager to keep her around. But over that year, they grew to love Lulu and decided to keep her…
Lulu and Bear
The Altsman’s also had a dog named Bear. Bear and Lulu got along just fine, since pigs are generally quite social and intelligent animals. In fact, pigs are smarter than dogs, cats, and just about any other domesticated animal out there.
And it’s a good thing for Jo Ann that they are, too. Because one day when her husband Jack was out fishing on Lake Erie, Jo Ann found herself in a dangerous situation that she couldn’t get herself out of. That was when Lulu’s quick thinking shined through…
Jo Ann was alone in the Altsman’s vacation trailer when the 61-year-old suddenly felt a pain in her chest. Before she could act, she fell to the floor and couldn’t get up. She knew what was happening — a heart attack. This was her second in 18 months. Jo Ann knew that if she couldn’t get help, she was done for.
I Can’t Move
Jo Ann tried to get to the phone but, although she could move her arms, she couldn’t find the strength to get off of the floor and get to it, even though it was just a few feet away. She tried crying out for help but no one could hear her weak cries. She even tried throwing her alarm clock through the open window. Still nothing…
Crying For Help
Jo Ann’s pets knew that something was wrong with her. Bear did his best to fix the situation, falling back on the classic go-to move of dogs in a stressful situation — he barked his head off. No one heard him or, if they did, no one thought to investigate.
Time To Act
Lulu was also aware of Jo Ann’s pain and desperation. The pig even cried “big, fat tears,” Jo Ann said. But tears weren’t going to fix the situation so Lulu took action. The first thing she had to do was get out of the trailer…
There was a doggy door for Bear to get in and out of the trailer but it was much too narrow an opening for Lulu to fit through. But desperate times call for desperate measures so Lulu shoved her head through the undersized hole and started pushing.
As the heroic pig shoved her girth through the hole, the door dug into her skin, scraping and cutting her badly. But Lulu didn’t give up and finally managed to force her way out of the trailer. Then, the clever pig somehow managed to open the gate and get out of the yard…
Get Some Help
So she was out but now what? Lulu knew that she needed to get help for Jo Ann so she went with a brave and, one might say, ingenious plan. The big pig walked out to the middle of the road and just lay down right in the path of traffic.
Lulu’s gamble paid off when one man eventually stopped to see what was going on with the injured animal. The man saw the wounds Lulu had suffered squeezing through the doggy door and followed her as she got up and led him back to the trailer…
From outside the trailer, the man could hear Jo Ann inside and cried out “Lady, your pig’s in distress.” “I’m in distress, too!” Jo Ann replied. “Please call me an ambulance!” The man called 911 and Jo Ann was transported by helicopter to the nearby hospital for emergency open-heart surgery.
Just A Few Minutes
Jo Ann’s doctors said that if 15 more minutes had passed, she would have almost certainly died. If it weren’t for Lulu’s quick thinking, selflessness, and her brave gamble as well as the kindness of the good Samaritan who stopped to help the injured animal, it would have been all over…
Thankfully, Lulu’s injuries were also non-fatal. Just like Jo Ann, she made a full recovery and just a year later was full grown at a whopping 335 pounds. Over that next year, the news of Lulu’s heroism got out and for a brief time, she became an international celebrity.
The New York Times ran a front page story about Lulu and she appeared in USA Today and People magazine. News organizations and TV shows in Europe and Australia all picked up her story. A film crew even flew in all the way from Japan to do a piece. But none of that compared to the celebrity attention…
Talk Show Circuit
Lulu met David Letterman, and Oprah, she even met George Clooney, who is a potbelly pig owner himself. Random House published a children’s book about her and for a while, Disney was even considering making a movie about Lulu’s heroics.
Of course, none of that really mattered to Lulu. Though she may have enjoyed appearing on various talk shows, there’s no way she could understand the international impact her bravery had. She was just happy that she was able to save the life of her “mother.” And as far as Jo Ann was concerned “She is a princess.”