PLYMOUTH - More than a decade of munching Table Talk cherry pies and leftover pumpkins has come to an end. Ethel the pig has died, ending the long saga of two lucky pigs saved from the slaughterhouse.

More than a decade of munching Table Talk cherry pies and leftover pumpkins has come to an end: Ethel the pig has died, ending the long saga of two lucky pigs saved from the slaughterhouse.

Fred, Ethel’s 1000-pound companion, died in 2001.

Owner Gayle Fitzpatrick is heartbroken, but has happy memories to help her handle the loss.

 “Tom (Fitzpatrick’s husband) and I will be sitting around at night and just start to laugh thinking of Ethel and the things she used to do,” Fitzpatrick said. “Pigs get no respect, but once you have lived with a pig you realize how much they communicate. Ethel could tell us what she wanted. She was very special. We will miss her terribly.”

Ethel supped on a fine dinner of pasta and pills for her arthritis July 18 and lay down for the night.

When Fitzpatrick went out the next morning with Ethel’s breakfast, the pig was dead.


“She died in her sleep. We were grateful for that,” Fitzpatrick said.

Friends and neighbors plastered the Fitzpatricks’ door with flowers and cards when they heard the news. Ethel was special to the entire neighborhood and anyone who knew her, her owner said

“She was an icon to all the kids in the neighborhood. They all loved her,” Fitzpatrick said.

Fitzpatrick and her organization, Friends of the Plymouth Pound, won the two pigs at auction. The animals  had been seized from a Carver farmer accused of abusing them. Their original destination was the slaughter house. After being rescued by the Plymouth Pound, they were supposed to go to a petting zoo.

But Fitzpatrick fell in love with the one-year old pigs and couldn’t leave them.

Ethel, who was pregnant at the time, delivered 10 piglets before Fitzpatrick could bring her home.

Fitzpatrick and Friends volunteers found homes for the piglets after getting promises from the new owners not to eat their new pets.

Fred was neutered immediately and Ethel was the first pig to be spayed at Tufts Veterinary School.

Fred and Ethel, named for the warring Mertzes of “I Love Lucy” fame, then moved to South Plymouth living out their lives in the comfort and ease of their  pen in Fitzpatrick’s yard on Colony Beach Boulevard.

They became instant hits with most of the neighbors, although one person moved away after filing numerous complaints about the pigs.

Fred, who outweighed Ethel by about 200 pounds, died in 2001 after battling arthritis and other orthopedic ailments.

Ethel succumbed to the same problems, albeit six years later.

 “She was a hospice pig at the end,” Fitzpatrick said. “I was always looking out the window to see if she needed me. I still look out forgetting that she’s not there.”

Tamara Race of The Patriot Ledger (Quincy, Mass.) may be reached at trace@ledger.com.