I looked it up and one of the things I read is that the squeal of pigs is a cry for compassion, and coincidentally or not so coincidentally, the word compassion in Sanskrit-- karuna-- is tattooed with an image of a pig on my arm. This is in memory of a pig whom I once saw on top of a jeepney being dragged out by a few people, who was squealing for mercy, unwilling to be dragged to slaughter.
I understand now that I never made the connection that pigs are my spirit animal because of the way pigs are portrayed in our society-- that they are lazy and dirty and gluttonous. Moreover, how can a pig be my spirit animal when the feeling I get when I think of pigs in general was more negative than positive? I felt so much guilt, since my relationship with pigs for much of my life was an abusive one, in that I ate them without a single thought, thinking mistakenly that they were "my food".
When I look up the characteristics of pigs now, I learn that they are actually quite smart and loyal and playful. They are as smart as 3-year-old children and they don't sweat at all, which is why they cool themselves down in the mud. The reason why we perceive them as lazy and gluttonous is because this is how farms treat them. They are forced not to move, in some places they are locked in gestation crates, so they would be overweight, so there would be more flesh to sell for meat, so they could make more money out of these poor creatures. It is no secret that I am so sorry for all the pigs and all the other animals I consumed. I am truly deeply regrettably sorry.
Our animal guides could be those that inspire certain qualities in us, whether it is friendliness or loyalty, compassion or virtuousness, resilience or courage etc. It could be that these characteristics are not the immediate ones we would use to describe ourselves, because it is through them that we get in touch with these parts of ourselves that were once hidden. Our animal guides could awaken us to our potential; and if we heed their call, the transformation we make could be life-changing. We could turn apathy to compassion, fear to love, anger to vulnerability, helplessness to empowerment. Our animal guides may have been with us all along; we merely have to recognize them by truly connecting to how they have affected us in every encounter we had with them, in every stage of our lives, in every unraveling of our potential to protect them and take care of them.