Everyone knows what happens when you give a pig a pancake, but one local photographer is on a mission to see what happens when you give a pig a photoshoot.
Mary Schwalm, a 37-year-old freelance photojournalist from North Andover, was leaving Massachusetts General Hospital on Aug. 4 after her wife’s cancer treatment when she found a stuffed animal pig on the ground of the near-empty parking garage. She named the pig Yawkey, for the Yawkey Center parking garage where she found him.
In the two weeks since finding the pig, Schwalm has taken Yawkey on a variety of adventures, from driving a tractor to tanning at the beach and even — you guessed it — eating pancakes.
Each step of the way, Schwalm has captured the fanciful adventure with her camera, creating a portfolio of Yawkey photos on her Instagram account. She hopes someone will recognize the pig in her photos and bring Yawkey back to his owner.
“My heart just broke for this pig,” she said. “Mass General is a very hopeful place, but it’s not always very happy, so I feel for somebody that maybe had this pig and then no longer does.”
Yawkey is “like a child but a lot easier,” Schwalm said, and has become a part of her family over the past two weeks. She takes Yawkey everywhere she goes.
Schwalm has also done research on the pig’s origin, eventually finding it at Kohl’s for just about $5. In fact, she bought a second pig from Kohl’s, which she plans to name Yawkey II, just in case something happens to the original Yawkey.
“I’m becoming a little attached,” Schwalm admitted, though she said she’s still hoping for a reunion between Yawkey and his owner.
If no one comes forward within the next few days, Schwalm plans to make Yawkey a fixture in her home, putting him in a prominent place with the personalized cape she created for him.
Until then, she’s brainstorming ideas for the last photo she’ll take of Yawkey before giving him back to his owner. Her vision, she said, is a photo of a child walking away from the camera, lightly dragging Yawkey’s feet on the ground.
“Of course, if someone comes forward and says it’s their pig, I will happily reunite it,” she said. “But not without a tear or a closing photograph.”Felicia Gans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @FeliciaGans.