For Tom the pig, marshmallows are the best medicine.
In April, Tom – at the time a piglet in the fair’s popular Piglet Palace exhibit – was severely burned in a fire at the Washington State Fairgrounds.
Now his prognosis is positive. But he might not be able to kick his marshmallow habit after fair workers and veterinarians spent about three months administering medicine with the fluffy treats.
“There was an entire marshmallow science,” said Susan Becker, co-superintendent of the Fair Farm.
Tom was one of many animals injured in the blaze, which claimed the life of his piglet companion. Of the nearly 50 animals rescued and moved to the nearby J Barn for treatment, only Tom was treated for serious burns.
He was on antibiotics, painkillers and steroids, and required three shots daily.
Becker said that couldn’t continue.
“To catch him and inject him was traumatic,” she said. “We were looking for a better way.”
That’s when the marshmallows were brought in. Workers experimented with different sizes, but the winning method was to inject about 20 miniature marshmallows with his medicine. Predictably, it worked.
“Who doesn’t like marshmallows, right?” Becker quipped.
Tom the marshmallow-munching swine also bowls — sort of. When Puyallup’s Daffodil Bowl found out the pig needed a way to exercise during his recovery, the business donated a bowling ball for him to roll around and get moving.
Tom is expected to make a full recovery, though he still experiences sensitivity to sunlight. Becker said she won’t consider him fully recovered until he’s back in the field like a normal pig.
He won’t return to the fair this month, because he’s grown too much, but he’s happily living with his owner Ken Young in Edgewood.
And, Becker said, he’s “completely drug free.”