Daisy Dickenson spent her earliest years in foster care in China helping to raise pigs.
But five years after she was adopted by a Pasco couple, Daisy, 10, hasn’t forgotten her roots.
Last spring, she decided she wanted to raise pigs for her 4-H group, Simply Country.
Her dad, Jim Dickenson, jumped at the chance for a father-daughter project.
Never miss a local story.
The Dickensons built a pig pen at their Franklin County home and bought two pigs. And this week, Daisy, showed Jimmy at the Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo, which ends Saturday in Kennewick.
In a few weeks, Daisy will show her other pig, named for herself, in Connell.
Her appearance in the ring was the latest in a series of accomplishments for the Franklin STEM Elementary student who was abandoned as a toddler after she was born without a foot and a undersized hand.
Those challenges didn’t stop her from walking way with several ribbons for her handling of the 244-pound animal.
“The pig wasn’t really cooperating. It kept going into the fence,” she said, matter-of-factly describing how it dragged her off course.
After her initial nerves, Daisy said she had a good time and will keep raising animals.
Jim Dickenson, a Franklin County Sheriff’s deputy, said he’s learned that raising a pig is more difficult than he thought.
“I thought you got a pig and raised it and sold it,” he said.
But keeping Jimmy and Daisy-the-pig on track to hit the proper weight was challenging. Jimmy in particular was at the low end of the weight range, threatening his eligibility for the fair.
When they tried to fatten him up with cake batter and bread — recommended strategies — the plan backfired. The treats put him off his regular diet and his weight suffered.
“It’s complicated,” Jim Dickenson said.
Daisy took a final turn with Jimmy on Friday morning during the Market Stock Auction, when market animals are sold and the students who raised them collect their earnings.
Daisy admits she was a bit sad to see Jimmy head off to the slaughterhouse, but she was as matter-of-fact about his fate as she was his appearance in the ring.
Her earnings will go into her college account to help fulfill her dream of becoming a pediatrician so she can help other kids with special needs.
Terri and Jim Dickenson have three biological children and had a long-time dream of adopting when they registered with an adoption agency in Texas that focuses on Chinese children with special needs. Terri Dickenson said she’s dreamed of adopting children from her own youth, growing up seeing the need for families for Vietnamese orphans.
The couple adopted daughter Alyssa, now 13, and then saw Daisy’s smiling face on the adoption site. It was love at first sight, even if it took more than a year to complete the adoption and bring her home.
Daisy thrived, picking up English in six months and adapting to a prosthetic foot that allow her to move naturally. These days she’s involved in baseball and softball and is interested in basketball and volleyball. She tried soccer, but, “I hated it,” she said.