Faces of Fillmore

Written by Carina Monica Montoya
Of all the things we’ve seen around Fillmore from giant dogs carrying a Chihuahua in a saddle bag to a Jack Russell surfing on the back of a convertible Mercedes, you’d think that we’ve seen it all, then comes Gabriel “Gabe” Arroyo walking his pet pig around town. This is one animal that lives high on the hog. His name is Azulito de los Cielos, but is also called “Little blue”, affectionately called “Azulito”, and fondly called “Buddy”. Buddy is a 3 ½ year old pot belly mix, weighs 265 pounds and as one would correctly guess, loves to eat.

Gabe is a native of Fillmore and has long generation family roots in Fillmore. A semi-retired mechanical engineer in the aerospace industry, Gabe spends most of his days tending to Buddy – daily walks, play, feeding, mud baths, and grooming. Gabe acquired Buddy from a breeder in Florida and personally transported Buddy across country to Fillmore by car. The two are inseparable, which leaves Gabe a bit anxious to return home when work takes him away for more than a few days. We all know the special bonding between man and dog, but few of us know that the bonding of man and pig can be just as special. Pigs communicate both with sounds and body language. They make at least 20 different calls, including barks, squeals, grunts, and screams. They like to use trees or fences for rubbing, relax to music, are very curious animals and like different enrichment toys, all of which Gabe makes available to Buddy.

Most people around town are happy to see Buddy and children are fascinated to see and pet him. He is well behaved and is very social. There’s a lot about pigs that most people don’t know. Although they generally have poor eyesight, they have a great sense of smell. With 1,113 olfactory receptor genes, they can sniff and snort out odors. Pigs are also very clean animals and do their business away from where they sleep and eat. They also learn their names by the time they reach two to three weeks of age whereas it may take a human up to a year to make the connection. Pigs also have long memories and can remember things years later whereas humans often forget the name of someone they just met.

Next time you see Gabe and Buddy on an early morning or evening walk, say “hello” and marvel at how well-behaved Buddy follows without a leash.