By Audrey Fraizer
If Dorothy could talk, oh the stories she could tell.
Like the times the fearless traveler was nearly blown up on a tarmac, unceremoniously disinfected in Brazil, and motoring through the Pyrenees. Well, maybe she wasn’t sweating out an ordeal at the airport or behind the wheel of a sports car, but at least she was there and living the life very few grunters are able to lead.
Yes, Dorothy is a grunter. A porker. A swine. An even-toed ungulate. And we mean that in a nice way. She was introduced to the typically hoof free world of NAVIGATOR not by her choosing. She was discovered in a pitiful sort of way, promenading along a bar—and not of four-star quality—pushing a paper cup to collect the money for whatever a pig needs to quench her thirst.
That’s only what we can assume, according to Ronald Shiner, who was Dorothy’s official escort at NAVIGATOR 2016. After all, it was Priority Dispatch Corp. Instructor Annette Jordan, of Memphis, Tenn., who brought the piglet without explanation to San Antonio, Texas, and, undoubtedly, with no idea where the chance introductions would take the furry pink farm girl over the next two decades.
“She’s been through the ringer,” said Shiner, Communications Training Coordinator, Sunstar Paramedics Communications Center, Largo, Fla.
Dorothy’s attended every NAVIGATOR since her 1999 debut. Each year, the impetuous pig is passed to another human companion. She has no alternative but to go along for the ride.
Shiner was the sole pig care provider from April 2015 to April 27, 2016, at which time he handed her off to Nancy Lockhart, 911 Operations Manager, St. Joseph Fire Dispatch, South Bend, Ind.
Lockhart was honored, and that goes without even asking her.
Everybody wants a turn at chaperoning the pig; she’s a conversational perk.
Although with the glory comes the responsibility.
Dorothy chills easily, or at least that’s the reason Shiner gave for taking her back inside from the balcony of the Gaylord Hotel and Convention Center during a brief intermission from the Rock the Block NAVIGATOR Party. Her little red party dress was certainly inadequate for the cooler evening temperatures. She’s also sensitive to noise. She wears a set of headphones that are more of the silencing type than the emergency dispatch variety. She proudly bears lots of prized decorative pins from the places she has traveled. Nobody wants the blame if she loses one of those.
Despite the level of task demanded, Lockhart accepted the job quite admirably.
Dorothy’s wardrobe increased with a onesie from the NAVIGATOR store and, thus, suggesting Dorothy may soon be shopping for her own set of carry-on luggage. Lockhart is also mindful of Dorothy’s aspirations. The pig has a future, and Lockhart plans to build the resume. Gone are the days her lithium battery will force the life of a barfly.
“I’m thinking an honorary degree from the University of Notre Dame,” Lockhart said.
If that fails, there’s always the first sow distinction in the Fighting Irish locker room.
“We’ll see what the year brings,” Lockhart said.
And you can bet, it will be a pig zinger.