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Chris Smith: A family of Glass fire survivors searches for missing pig

I’ve got a phone number you can call should there appear at your door a sooty pig that you come to realize is hungry and desperate for a belly rub.

Piggy Smalls, a house pet, was at his human family’s cabin in the hills off St. Helena Road when the Glass fire approached the night of Sept. 27. Moving fast at about 9 p.m. to enact their detailed emergency evacuation plan, Sarah Drlik and Darren Treinan got their two sons, ages 12 and 9, into the two cars and also the two dogs, two cats and four of their five chickens.

The couple intended to lead their personable, 3-year-old pot-belly pig into a large dog kennel and carry it to the car. But Piggy Smalls awoke to the commotion and stepped outside the house.

Sarah and Darren went to scoop him up with a blanket, but he was frightened and bolted from them. “Then we could not get anywhere close to him,” Sarah said, “and every time we tried he became more spooked.”

The fire was coming. The family had to leave. Nobody wanted to go without the pig, but he was too scared to come to them.

“The sky was glowing red at that point,” Sarah said. Her fearful, heartsick clan headed down Erland Road toward St. Helena Road.

That was, of course, coming on four weeks ago.

The boys wanted to come along when, two days after the horrible night, Darren and Sarah ventured back to the Alpine Valley cabin that had been their home since 2007. As they expected, it was incinerated.

They called for Piggy Smalls, but nothing. Even so, a hopeful sign appeared with the coming into view of chicken No. 5. It was unharmed.

The Drlik/Treinan clan believes the pig could have weathered the inferno, too. A good friend of Sarah, Katie Moore, has stepped up to print and post Lost Pig signs and to help look for him.

“We have searched and searched,” Sarah said.

PG&E workers busy in the area have told of seeing burned deer, but no pig.

If you find one, or it finds you, chances are pretty good it’s Piggy Smalls. But to make sure: He’s mostly blond and pink, with black patches on his snout and around and above his eyes. He weighs about 100 pounds.

“He’s pretty people-friendly, but understandably he would be pretty freaked out,” Sarah said.

The pig was just a youngster when it came to her family from a Santa Rosa man who loved him but ran into trouble keeping him. Incredibly, a disgruntled neighbor of the man at one point kidnapped the pig and a couple of dogs, then drove into the countryside and dumped them.

The pig showed up at the Drlik/Treinan cabin. The family returned him to the man, who a short time later decided it was best for the pig to live permanently with the family off St. Helena Road.

Soon, Piggy Smalls, his named inspired by the late rapper Biggie Smalls, or The Notorious B.I.G., blended right in with Sarah and Darren’s kids, the dogs and the chickens.

“He slept in the house for a year,” Sarah said, “until he discovered where the pantry is.”

Nocturnal snack raids led to his dog bed being moved out to the foyer.

Piggie Smalls enjoyed going along on family walks and, said Sarah, “He loves a good belly rub.”

Though her family hurts and grieves along with all others whose homes were destroyed and damaged by this latest disaster, Sarah said their hearts have been touched. So much kindness has come their way since the fire.

One day, two checkers at the Rincon Valley Oliver’s Market who’d heard about their loss came out to Sarah’s car to say how sorry they are. The plentiful caring from the community includes all that friend Katie Moore and others have done in an attempt to find and bring home Piggy Smalls.

“People have just been amazing,” Sarah said. “Everybody has been so kind; it has kind of restored our faith in humanity.”

Sarah and her family would appreciate it if you’d keep an eye out for the pig and call 707-396-7924 if you spot him or better yet, find him at your door.

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OUR WINES are about to help make college a reality for motivated young people working to free themselves from the cycle of poverty.

More than 30 Sonoma County wineries are stepping up to contribute bottles to a virtual wine auction that will raise dollars for Boys Hope Girls Hope of San Francisco. The nonprofit has a strengthened link to Sonoma County through its new executive director, Anjana Utarid, who grew up in Sebastopol and previously led both the Children’s Village and the Sebastopol Center for the Arts.

The pandemic wasn’t kind to Anjana’s plans earlier this year for a grand Boys Hope Girls Hope gala at the top of the Sales Force building. But she’s all excited about Plan B, the charitable agency’s first-ever silent Sonoma County Wine Auction.

For a sneak peak at the local wines that will be sold at auction from Oct. 26 to 30, go to the nonprofit’s New & Events Page: bhghsf.org/news-events-2/

Some big names are part: Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Korbel, Balletto, Lynmar Estate, Moshin Vineyards, Christopher Creek, Hanna, Gary Farrell, Sunce and on and on.

You can contact Chris Smith at 707 521-5211 and chris.smith@pressdemocrat.com.

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