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Meet Peony.

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Thank you, to everyone, who has allowed me to feature their pig over the last year. Thank you, also, to everyone who has submitted an interview and hasn’t been featured yet. I promise, I will get to you. As a tribute to the one year anniversary of our blog, I am going to do a special feature this week and tell you all about Miss Peony, the notable Queen Piggy.

We come to you from the Southwest. The painted desert. The valley. The reputable and beautiful – Scottsdale, Arizona. We are known for our sunsets, resorts, hiking, golf tournament, attractive demographic and extremely hot climate (although our winters quite possibly could be the best in the universe). My name is Lauren. I am first and foremost a mother to my beloved and amazing son, Winston (9 years old). Our animal kingdom houses Peony (2 year old pig), Asia (12 year old pug) and Crash (6 year old Sulcata tortoise).

Have I always wanted a pig? Oh, absolutely. Since I could remember. My siblings and I spent a lot of time with my grandparents growing up while our parents were working. They lived just down the road from us (in New Jersey) and had a few acres of land. We called it the “farm.” They didn’t have any farm animals, though, not really sure why we called it the “farm”.. but we still do. They had some chickens. My grandparents spoiled us kids. Out of all three siblings, I spent the most time with them. I would ask my grandpa, every single weekend, if we could go and look at pigs, and I don’t mean the “mini” pigs we have now-a-days (I didn’t even know these guys existed back then). I’m talking straight up farm hog. Like Esther. So, he would take me, and we would stand and watch the pigs in their pens. I know if I begged hard enough, he would have said yes, because he never had the heart to say no to me, but I couldn’t. I know he didn’t want one, and I already had all my dogs there, and rabbits, and guinea pigs.. and.. and.. and… (I’ve always been obsessed with animals). To make a long story longer, I’ve been obsessed with pigs for virtually my whole life. I knew I would get one, one day. There wasn’t anyone that knew me that wasn’t aware of my love for them. 

How did getting Peony even come about? It was a rainy day in 2014. I was sitting at breakfast with a very special friend. He is retired, and it just so happened my morning clients had cancelled that day . The world/morning was our oyster. I was asked what I wanted to do. My reply, “I want to try on vintage dresses at the dress store next door and than go and look at mini pigs.” Not your typical answer. We couldn’t find any pig farms to visit, but I did try on dresses. A few hours later we found ourself at lunch (yeah, I know, super productive day). The pig conversation continued. My special friend knew I had a breeder (in Oregon) that I have personally followed for 13 years.  He told me to call her and see if she had any piglets available. I was very specific with what I wanted (a girl, and she had to be white with black spots). So, I called, and as it turned out, she had 2 females and 1 male – white with black spots. At that point, my friend said, “Get the pig. I want to buy you a pig. I was designing you jewelry as a thank you for standing by my side while my father died, and caring for him every day, but I want to buy you a pig now instead.” I almost fell over. With tears in my eyes, I said, “OK.” I was not ready for a pig. I had NO idea what I was getting myself into (the costs, the care, the education, relocating my home to a pig friendly space). BUT – I was told one time, you only live once. I knew I could make this work. 

Where did she come from? Peony came from a farm in Dallas, Oregon. Her breeder is now retired, but bred pigs for 30 years. When I started “looking” for pigs 15 years ago online, my breeder was one of the only ones, so by default, I didn’t look elsewhere. I thought she was “cool,” too, because Paris Hilton (and other A-listers) had a pig from her. I found this breeder and stuck with her. I had no idea (until after the fact) that there were/are hundreds of other breeders in the country. I didn’t look, didn’t research, nada – nothing – no clue. Peony cost close to $6,000. I thought that was the norm. Now, with all this being said, I love my pig more anything, and her temperament is amazing and she is beautiful, but I will adopt my next pig. There are so many babies that need loving homes. I had no idea of this while I was buying Peony. So, I have no regrets, because I wouldn’t have my baby, but – so many pigs need homes. I just did not know. I wish I knew what I know now. 

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How old was Peony when she came home? I’l never forget the day I picked up P. Tax day. Haha. She was four months old – to the day. My breeder would not send her home to me, un-spayed. Her spay was contingent on her health and how she was growing. She also was very adamant about not pulling her from her mother too soon. Peony was ready to come home at 12 weeks, but I was traveling for a week, than home for a week, than traveling again. She wouldn’t send her to me until I could commit to being home for a designated period of time – as a pigs initial welcoming to their family/trust earning – is SUPER critical – and she did’t want me to have an unconfident, untrusting pig. I trusted my breeder, and went with the flow. 

How were my first few weeks with a piglet? Honestly, I cried everyday. I also called my breeder 15 times a day for a month, and a local girlfriend that has a pig. I remember picking Peony up from the airport. I was instructed to not take her out right away, but to bring her home, and place her kennel right into the space/pen I created indoors for her. So, for all of you that think that you get this fluffy, loving, sweet and trusting piglet (like a puppy) – no… that is not the case. Let me be very clear. They are borderline scared to death of you. Once I lured Peony out of her kennel (at home and in her pen) I tried to pick her up. She screamed unlike anything I had every heard before and pooped all over me. I put her down and burst into tears. It was late. Everyone was asleep. I decided I wasn’t going to let this defeat me, and her and I would make this work. My breeder taught me tons of critical, daily trust exercises to do with Peony. I trained her with her special harness that she still uses and loves today (at almost 2 years old!) I did everything she said. She never told me to sleep in the pen with Peony, but Winston, Asia and I – did. For a week. I would be damned if this piggy wouldn’t trust me. All of that put aside, I have a very TRUSTING and confident pig. I remember the day it clicked for her. There was a shift, and I saw it. It was beautiful and special. Until you have a pig, it’s almost hard to explain.

Peony is always in the car with me. If you’re curios how I made her comfortable… I decided a few days after I had Peony that I wanted her to go everywhere with me. We had a long commute to school (almost 35 minutes each way), and then tons of driving after school for soccer. I almost felt like I didn’t have a choice. So, on day 3 or 4 after getting her, I picked her up and tried to put her in the kennel she arrived at the airport in (I cleaned it, thoroughly). I could not get her in it. She screamed and rejected that thing – it was so bad, I picked up the kennel and threw it out, and promised her I would never try to put her in that again. Peony was really tiny at the time (7 pounds) and loved this little donut bed I had gotten for her. So, I put her in that, and carried it/them to the car. Yes, she pooped (as pigs do that in new situations when they’re nervous/unsure). I had a pee-pee pad down, and so that made the clean up super easy. She pooped maybe the first 4 times, maybe 5, and never, ever again. Now, she loves the car. She rolls around with her head out the window, oinking and smiling at the passer-byes. Yes, we have lots of car/driving paparazzi moments. 

What are her favorite things to do? Peony loves to EAT. Haha. She also loves to root around in the rocks outside (keeps her hooves almost next to perfect) and graze on the grass (I am beyond blessed she doesn’t “deep root” the lawn). She Loves To Learn. Pigs are like 2 year olds, eternally – and need to learn/be stimulated. We do tricks, puzzles, etc. The key to that – is to do it at the same time every single day. She also loves to do her therapy work. When she is “helping” others, I see sides of her that only emerge when she is at the hospital, working with special friends that really need her love. 

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Where does she sleep? Oh, I was warned – by my breeder and friend with pigs – that if I start this – I’m stuck for life. Peony sleeps in my bed. She actually puts herself to sleep after she eats dinner and roots around in the grass for a little. She comes in, drinks a little water, and stands at the baby gate to the bedroom hallway and “honks” until I open it. She swaggers down the hallway, jumps onto my bed and makes herself comfy. Note to anyone who may want to sleep with their pig – sometimes she wants to “prep” the bed. She unintentionally does it with her teeth. When you have all down pillows and comforters, that can get interesting. Enough said. We are on the replacement program, regularly. I wake up covered in feathers, a lot. I laugh, though. Life can be worse, right?

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Does she have silly habits? She barks. If she hasn’t seen me in a while (like more than 2 hours), and I open the back door to call her in, the minute she lays eyes on me – she runs to me (or walks fast, lol) and barks. It’s this deep sound, and is designated for this time only. So, sweet moment -when our dog was in the hospital recently for a few days, Peony obviously missed her. When Asia, our pug, came home, Peony barked at her, too. I melted.

What do I feed her? Peony gets pellets at 5:30 AM and 4:00 PM. She usually gets a salad, mid-day. She also grazes for short periods of the cooler times of day. I don’t give her Cheerios anymore. I used to. Once I became more equipped as a pig-mom, and educated, I realized how bad they are for them. Pigs+Salt+Sugar are bad news. Now, I keep it green. Her absolute favorite snack, ever, is green juice. Second to that is strawberries. Her salads consist of greens, and veggies. I try to limit her fruit intake. Her sugar is limited. I also have 3 water dishes inside the house, and one outside. I change all of them 1-2 times a day. Pigs always have dirty snouts, and that accumulates in the water dish. Their mouths also house A LOT of bacteria, and so – I like to keep things fresh and clean for her. Other animals drink out of those dishes, also.

What does Peony do all day if I am not at home? Peony has a pretty strict routine. It’s just like a little baby –  you keep them on a routine and they’re happy as a clam. Peony stopped using her litter box around 8 months old. She can hold her bladder, but since she drinks so much water, I try to not have her do that for more than 3 hours at a time. I don’t have her on a doggie door program – as we have animal predators in Arizona, and I couldn’t live with myself if she got eaten by a coyote. I can facilitate her schedule as of now. If/when/as that changes, I will hire a “dog” walker to come and check on her every few hours, and play/entertain – help maintain her schedule. 

What is the best part of having a pig? Honestly, the joy. The joy in more ways than one. The joy she brings me personally, my family and friends, and all the people we meet and educate when we are out and about. 

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What is the biggest challenge? I think the biggest challenge I face with Peony is both a blessing and a curse. The rigid-ness of her schedule. Her schedule works great M-F (well, maybe I would like to have her sleep a little bit later), but it can be slightly cumbersome on the weekends and when I travel. Pigs have an internal clock unlike anything I’ve ever come across. Girl wakes up at 5:30 AM. Not 5:28, not 5:34. It’s unreal. Every single day. Her feeding times, same thing. Grazing times. Playing times. She wants her schedule the same exact way, every single day. 

What is something most don’t know about pigs? Well, I think one thing would be the internal clock I spoke of in the last question. Secondly, PIGS DO NOT SWEAT, THEY GET SUNBURN and they DO NOT SMELL. Ok, so that was four things -but I can’t help it. They’re awesome pets, if you are committed to them. They are not for lazy pet people. They will suffer, and you will have an unpleasant pet experience. Peony needs constant water (to offset the no-sweating), daily sunscreen and regular attention to her skin and coat. 

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Any advice for those wanting a pig? I think I can say as most do – REALLY REALLY do your research – as far a caring for a pig goes. They are a HUGE responsibility and like a two year old – for the next 18-20 years. Their little hearts get shattered when they have to leave their home and it happens so often because people don’t do their research prior. They’re not necessarily outwardly affectionate, but their hearts get attached and they get used to you, love you, trust you and depend on you. Like I said earlier, I will adopt my next pig. There are too many babies that need homes. I have zero judgement from you if you buy from a breeder or adopt –  just do your research there too. Commit to your pig. They are special if you take the opportunity to notice.

Peony has been on the news? Queen Piggy, as dubbed online by her 26,000 instagram fans – has definitely made some TV appearances. Locally, she has been on Fox news, and Channel 3. She is one of the spokesmodel pets for Waggle – an amazing app created by the production team of Saturday Night Live and Jimmy Fallon. She has been featured on The Dodo. She recently had an Instagram video go “viral,” and we signed a licensing contract for that (things are moving along there).  She is working with a production team out of San Francisco – on a rap song. She is head to head for, “Best Pet Instagram” for an amazing local magazine, Arizona Foothils – Best of Our Valley (vote here if you’d like). As her mama, I have partnered with the engineers of KONG (dog brand) -creating an amazing brand for pigs – hoof polish, snout gloss, organic healthy snacks, bows, harnesses, vitamin supplement, hair/coat supplements. etc. Check out Oink Company if you haven’t already. 

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Thank you, friends, for your love and support. Thank you for reading about all 62 pounds of Peony. If you have had the pleasure to meet her, or do one day, you’ll see what a gentle, sweet pig she is. I poured my heart and soul into raising her – to be a kind pig, with manners – that can bring JOY to everyone she meets. Pigs are so special. I feel honored that she chose Winston and I to be her family. If you would like me to feature your pig on this blog, please email me at: peonythepig@gmail.com. For those who don’t know, my plan with this blog doesn’t stop here. We will publish this into an amazing coffee table book for pigs. The process has already commenced. Love to all of you – and – hug a pig today if you can.  XO Lauren and Peony

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Meet Paddington Baird.

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Not too far outside Chicago, in Northwest Indiana, lives a small town pig that goes by the name of Paddington Baird (pronounced Bear-d). Paddy (one of her many nicknames) has a pretty intense inner monologue which mainly consists of her justifying why she should get more snacks, that no one fed her (she is always lying) and how much she loves her mom. Paddy lives with her human mom, dad, and brother and their newest piggy addition, Fozzie.

PE🐽NY: Have you always wanted a pig? I was in 4-H growing up and was around a lot of farm animals. That is when I fell in love with pigs. In sixth grade I got a pot belly pig. While I love those sweet smooth noses of a pot belly, I also really like the “traditional” pig look so we decided on a Juliana pig. The longer snout and leaner frame reminded me so much of the pigs I had on the farm. 

PE🐽NY: How did getting Paddington develop? I have very severe allergies and therefore a more traditional pet was not an option for me.  We actually started following Prissy and Pop on Instagram and I would give my husband updates on what they were doing.  I was content to just follow pigs online, but he decided we needed a pet. Jeff and I spent about two years looking for a reputable breeder, but I was still very hesitant. I love to travel and didn’t want to be tied down to a pet and we had just built a new house that I didn’t want torn up.  

PE🐽NY: Where did Paddington come from? We searched for almost two years, checking reviews, JPAR, etc. but ultimately relied on our instincts to pick our breeder. Paddington (and Fozzie) both came from Terrific Tea Cups in Columbus, Indiana. (Paddington is a pure bred Juliana and Fozzie is not, but they do have the same dad.) Our breeder was and still is very helpful. Paddington’s mom passed away delivering her 9th litter so we got her when she was only four weeks old. We ended up getting her the week before school got out for me so we had the whole summer together to bond. 

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PE🐽NY: How old is Paddington now? Paddy turned one on April 28th. She weighs around 30 pounds. 

PE🐽NY: What are some of her silly habits, sounds, tricks? Paddington’s best trick is that she is really good at spinning. Regardless of what command she is given, she spins! We are working on other tricks, but they are not going as well as spin.  Paddington also barks at people when they come to the door or when she gets scared. It is this very throaty sound that can only be described as a bark! Although we read that we shouldn’t do this, we resorted to giving Paddington treats when she came in from going potty. So now she is always trying to trick us to get more treats by stepping out and coming right back inside. 

PE🐽NY: What does Paddington eat? Favorite snacks? We feed Paddington a mixture of feed from her breeder and Mazuri pig feed each morning and night. For lunch her usual meal is cucumbers, tomatoes and coconut oil. Just like a Hobbit she usually gets a second breakfast as well, which consists of a fruit or canned pumpkin. As for snacks, we have a local pet baker in town – Rescue Pup Bakery – and she LOVES their treats.  They are usually a pumpkin peanut butter treat in holiday shapes. Cheerios and Gerber Puffs make their way into her treat balls and puzzles pretty frequently as well. 

PE🐽NY: Where does she sleep? Paddington sleeps with us in our bed. She usually is sandwiched between my husband and I. She acts as our alarm clock, standing on my back and yelling in my ear each morning at 5:30 A.M. Luckily, no one has told Paddy about the time change so she’s been sleeping in until 6:30 A.M.

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PE🐽NY: Do you work? If so, and if out of the house, what do you do with Paddy during the day? My husband and I both work. I am a special needs teacher and hope that Paddington will be able to become registered as a therapy pet and visit my classroom. Until then, we have a nanny cam on her and a pig sitter who comes and sees her each day. The pig sitters are a combination of our parents and a neighbor. We are fairly certain she is trading stocks, ordering clothes off of the internet and catching up on her soaps. In reality, she is probably just looking for new things to tear up with the occasional nap here and there. Every time we think we’ve piggy-proofed the house, Paddington finds something else to pull out and tear up! 

PE🐽NY: Have you started to train Paddington for therapy work yet? Paddington does therapy work and visits nursing homes, but in order for her to come into my classroom, they typically want an assurance that she will be well-behaved. We registered her and I as a team with Pet Partners, and they are a national organization. Paddington has been in training since she was seven months old, but beginning around eleven months she started more intense training to get her ready for an official evaluation. There is a lot they evaluate on, but basics are sit, stay, taking a treat nicely, etc. She does all of that well already at the nursing homes and they love her, but I would love for her to be able to come to my classroom. The few times I did bring her to my life skills classroom the kids LOVED her! I’ve read about some schools working animals into behavior plans even! For a lot of kids struggling with behavioral issues, animals can be a huge incentive for them. 

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PE🐽NY: What is the best part of having a pig? The best part of having a pig is their personality. I mentioned that we have this inner monologue for her, but the more we see other pig parents through Instagram, Facebook, etc. the more I think our dialogue for Paddy is right! I love looking at the cute photos of other pigs, but I LOVE seeing those photos or videos of piggies throwing fits, sneaking snacks and being naughty. It goes to show how intricate and intelligent they are. 

PE🐽NY: What has been the biggest challenge? Right now, Paddington attacks anyone that comes into the house. Nothing severe, but it is enough to cause me anxiety! I mean, I have this sweet-little-pig-angel that I talk about nonstop who is mean to everyone else! She is nice to kids though . . it’s probably because they’re usually messy and she knows they’re going to drop snacks. When this behavior started, I scaled back on her nursing home visits worried that she may snap at a resident. Through research, I realized that this was most likely just a behavior she exhibits at home and started taking her back to visit the residents and she has been fine. We are still working diligently for her manners at home! What a horrible hostess! 

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PE🐽NY: What inspired you to get another pig? How did Paddington do with it? I heard it can be rough. Well, there are probably two versions of why we got another pig. I just asked Jeff, my husband, that question and his response was, “because I wanted another pig!” But I think he was jealous that Paddington is such a mommy’s girl and he wanted a piglet for himself. Im not sure it has worked out like he wanted, but it has helped tremendously with her behavior when we are gone. She used to tear up the house when we were gone at night, like eat crayons, coloring books, recycling, etc. but now that she has a brother to play with she does much better. We got Fozzie when Paddy was one year old. At first it was brought with the two of them adjusting to one another. At three pounds, Fozzie came right in and bullied Paddington. It broke my heart that they didn’t get along, but after about two weeks they were cuddling up together. They still do well together and when the other one is upset, i.e. getting a bath, the other one will come running, yelling and nipping at our toes. 

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PE🐽NY: What is one pig fact that pig owners, and non-owners, may be surprised to hear? Having pigs on a farm, it seemed like they ate just about anything. Now that I have one as a pet, I didn’t realize how delicate their systems could be if they even got a taste of the wrong thing. 

PE🐽NY: Any advice for those wanting a pig? People have contacted me often about getting a pig, and the biggest advice I can give is to make sure you have the time for them. As you know, they are incredibly smart animals and need to be stimulated. If you don’t, they will find ways to stimulate themselves and that may be by tearing up your new rug or a book you happened to leave out. 

PE🐽NY: Does Paddington have her own social media? Yess, you can be her friend on Instagram!! Follow her at @paddingtonbairdthepig. She does not have her own Facebook account (yet). Jeff claim  she is too young. Paddington has been in the local paper a few times. Here is the link to our favorite article: Pigging Out: Winfield Pet Pig Brings Joy to M’Ville Seniors

Oh Paddington! How I loved getting to know you and your family! You are definitely a spunky little girl with a heart as big as the ocean. I’m so proud of you for being a certified therapy pig in training and an awesome big sissy to Fozzie! Keep on being the shining star that you are! Friends forever! The picture below is one of my favorites of you, all dressed up just like Paddington the Bear!! Thank you for being my Outstanding Pig of the Week. Love, PE🐽NY

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Meet Smudge.

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Double-Double. Pop. Zed. Eh.?  . . . and S M U D G E the pig!!! This sweet family and their pig(s) come to us from DeWinton, Alberta Canada, a small hamlet south of Calgary, home of the Calgary Stampede. Four acres of prime grazing real estate, a house full of pups, kitties, mom/dad, a bearded dragon and another (new) pig – sounds like a dream to me!

PE🐽NY: How old is Smudge? Smudge is a year old. He just celebrated his first birthday on May 11th. He is currently about 45 pounds and about 15 inches tall. Smudge joined our family at six weeks old and has been a challenging pig right from the beginning, but we wouldn’t trade him for the world.

PE🐽NY: Have you always wanted a pet pig? Our family loves all animals and decided to research what having a mini potbelly pig would be like. Smudge is our first pig and it’s been an adventure! We researched before getting him, but it doesn’t matter how much you read – nothing prepares you for a pet pig! 

PE🐽NY: Where did you get Smudge? Once we decided we wanted a pig we were very impatient and researching breeders was not something I spent enough time on. Our options were limited (or so we thought at the time because there was only one breeder in Alberta). We didn’t have to wait long for Smudge. The one disappointing thing with the breeder we chose was not being able to pick out a piglet in person. That was something I just didn’t understand. I’ve never had to pick a puppy from a picture, it was always about temperament, but it seems that everyone picks piglets based on colors and looks. That was really hard for me to accept but I didn’t have a choice since I had already paid my deposit before the piglets were born.

PE🐽NY: So, how was baby Smudge? Smudge was a very dominant boy right from the start and I spent a lot of time training him and making him an awesome pet. I knew that I needed to be the boss right from the beginning and the one thing I remember reading was that if you don’t want your pig doing something at 100 pounds don’t let them do it at 10 pounds. I was also very aware of having a spoiled piggy and so I made sure to set rules right from the start.

PE🐽NY: What kind of rules? I taught him to sit and wait for food at three months old. We never fed/feed him snacks from the living room so he is a very well mannered pig when there is food involved. We can sit on the couch beside him and he doesn’t bother us for food. I have taught Smudge “leave it” so that he is not a crazy pig around the dog food and everyone can eat in peace. Our whole family is on board with these rules.

PE🐽NY: Smudge can’t eat a lot of fruit? Why? We figured out that fruit was irritating his urinary tract and was making it very difficult to potty train him. He would walk around the house peeing a river that seemed uncontrollable. Once we realized this and started limiting his fruit intake, Smudge is 99% house trained and everyone is happier!

PE🐽NY: Where does Smudge sleep? Smudge, like most pigs (and children), thrives on routine.  We got into a great sleep routine with him and he has been a great pig that has always slept all night in his own bed, beside our bed. Also, the dogs sleep in a kennel at night so that there is no aggressive behavior from any dogs or pigs. (We did start Smudge out in a puppy pen and eventually were able to remove the pen!)  

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PE🐽NY: Does Smudge have any favorite things to do? Smudge has claimed one of my doormats as his own! He roots in that mat for hours at a time and it keeps him so content! We take the mat everywhere we go. 

PE🐽NY: Does Smudge tag along with you guys? YES! Smudge goes everywhere with us. Camping, skiing, ice fishing, shopping!!!! He is also working on his certification as a therapy pig. We have done the course and now he just needs to finish his mentoring sessions. 

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PE🐽NY: What is the therapy pig certification process like? So it’s been a bit of a frustrating process. We started out with Pet Therapy of Northern Alberta and completed the weekend course and passed all the testing. We have been waiting to do our mentorship and they keep rescheduling our mentor sessions and the new board of directors that were elected into position in April are pushing back about having a pig in their program now. Very frustrating but I’m not giving up and I am searching for other programs.

PE🐽NY: Does Smudge do any tricks? YES! We have started “The Oinktastic Mini Pigs – Smudge and Muk.” The pigs are doing birthday parties, fundraising and community events. Smudge performs all of his tricks: sit/spin, weave in a figure 8 around my legs, shake a hoof, bow, walks under my legs as I walk forward, plays the piano and he’s always learning new ones. Smudge has also started his agility obedience training with a group of dogs. 

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PE🐽NY: You mentioned “the pigs?” Since having Smudge and learning so much about breeders, socialization, and weaning at the proper age, I decided that maybe our family should add another pig (but this time not in a hurry). We found an amazing breeder in Saskatchewan. We drove 5 hours to Sask and met our new little addition at 10 days old and knew he was the one. So now it was just waiting the eight weeks until our little boy “Solo” was old enough to come home. We were devastated when we got the call that he unexpectedly passed away three days before we were supposed to bring him home. Our family was so sad, we had everything set up for his arrival. For a month we talked about what life was supposed to be like with a new piglet and a brother for Smudge.

PE🐽NY: How did you eventually find Muk? Seeing pictures of piglets all over Instagram and Facebook just made me want a second piglet sooner rather than later. The breeder in Sask wasn’t expecting another litter until later Spring so I found myself searching for another breeder. I came across a place that had piglets available to go to forever homes immediately. The little guy we decided on was a bit of misfit. He was picked on as a piglet and his litter mates bit off parts of his ears and so he was less desirable to people looking for that perfect piglet. I knew he belonged with us! 

PE🐽NY: How was the transition from one pig to two? Muk was in poor health and full of mites and mange when we got him. Despite his rough start to life, he is the SWEETEST piglet ever and loves to cuddle. Our challenge is Mr. Bossy Pants . .  Smudge! He’s not crazy about having a little brother. Muk has been with us about a month now and Smudge still chases him and Muk still runs away squealing. It is a work in progress but everyday gets a little better and I am optimistic that one day they will be buddies! 

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Smudge!! Happy 1st Birthday! You are sooooooo very blessed to have the loving family that you do, and I know in time, you and Muk will not only be brothers, but best friends too! I look forward to watching you master your piggy skills (Muk and his future skills too!).  I love following you guys on Instagram  and Facebook too!!! Your adventures are so fun and thrilling! Big sunshine kisses headed your way from Arizona! Thank you for being my Outstanding Pig of the Week. Love, PE🐽NY

 

 

Meet Nahla.

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Welcome to Austin, Texas! It is the state capital, home to The University of Texas, an influential center (politics,technology, music, film, great food), and is reputed as the “Live Music Capital of the World.” It is also the home of Nahla, a miniature potbellied piggy. Nahla and her family (mom and dad) live near Lake Austin. It is not a rare sight for neighbors to see this 3-year-old diva pig sunning or playing by the boat dock over looking the lake.

PE🐽NY: Have you always wanted a pig? I come from a ranching family on my mom’s side and a farming family on my dad’s side. (What animal have I not cared for and literally brought into the house while growing up?!) My grandparents sold pot-belly pigs in the 90’s when the pet pig craze first began. I loved going out to my grandparent’s house and catching one of the piglets from the litter. I would bring it inside to bathe and play with for a day before returning it to its mom. We also kept a couple of pigs at the house I grew up in. We had a swimming pool and my mom loved for me to show guests how the pigs could swim. I guess for people who have known me since I was a young girl, owning a pig is really no surprise. 

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PE🐽NY: What made you finally decide to get a pig? I decided I wanted an animal that does not shed and can use a litter box, if needed, due to my work schedule. One of my best friends and I were hanging out in Austin one day and ran across a lady walking a pig on a leash. My answer came to life at that very moment, but convincing my husband was another task. He said the neighbors will think we are “country bumpkins” especially since we live in the city. I begged him to drive to Waco to go and look at piglets with me. The rest is history. There was a three pound, three-week old piglet sleeping between us that very night!

PE🐽NY: How did you find her breeder? It was the breeder of the pig I saw on the leash in Austin. I researched them, but in my opinion, I should have done a lot more. I wouldn’t get another pig from them. I am just far more educated now about the pig industry as a whole. 

PE🐽NY: So, Nahla is three years old now. How much does she weigh? Aaah! The question of the hour. I have never experienced people fixating on weight as much as they do when comes to owning a pig. Honestly, Nahla has a very regimented diet (except for fun celebratory days), so I go by the overall look of her physically rather than constantly putting her on a scale. Pigs are pigs, and all pigs LOVE to eat. However; due to a mini pigs’s small body structure, it is very important not to over feed them, BUT also not withhold food in an unhealthy manner to keep them small. Balance is key. Pigs with extra weight are at risk for leg and knee issues, as well as spinal issues from developing a sway back. As long as we are responsible in doing our part for her health, my theory is let Nahla be Nahla.

PE🐽NY: What does she eat? Favorite snack? Pig feed and cucumbers are her staple food along with various veggies. Fruit and cheerios are treats. One time, I gave her cooked brussels sprouts. That was NOT a hit for Nahla but I will have to giver her credit though. She tried every one of those brussels spouts in her bowl, spitting each one out and trying the next. Ha!

PE🐽NY: Where does Nahla sleep? She sleeps in a nice wooden crate that looks like a piece of furniture with many blankets in it. It is her comfort zone. She naps there too with the door open during the day, but she also has a big dog bed in our TV room. Nahla enjoys a snack at 3-4 AM, so needless to say, her crate door gets locked at night so we don’t get middle of the night wake up calls. 

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 PE🐽NY: What are Nahla’s favorite things to do? Nahla loves to snuggle with us (especially my husband), eat, root outside, get a good belly scratch, perform tricks for treats, go for car rides, and oh yes . . get her way! Have you ever seen an animal literally throw a tantrum when you don’t do exactly what they want? Well, spend some time with a pig. When she doesn’t get her way, she will hit furniture with her head or sometimes turn around and open her mouth wide like a hippo and fuss at us while making the most unique sound. We usually laugh and say she is yelling at us in “Pig Latin!”

PE🐽NY: Does she have any silly habits? Nahla gets these very random spurts of energy and peels out across the hard wood floors to the wool rug and starts bucking like a bronco. It’s something that NEVER gets old. It’s a sight to see that she tends not to show many others.   

PE🐽NY: Do you work? If out of the house, what does Nahla do during the day? Our work schedules vary from week to week but typically she just roams the house while we are gone. She sleeps the majority of the time. We have a piggy cam! One of us pops in and gives her a lunch snack. We have been late coming home before, which in return, resulted in being late for Nahla’s dinner. I must say it was not well received. We have come home to our living room chairs flipped over, her big dog bed dragged across he floor and books pushed over the lower shelf of the entertainment center. We can only imagine how hard she is ringing that dinner bell!

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PE🐽NY: What is the best part of having a pig? Her dynamic, little personality or shall I say, BIG personality. Sometimes it feels like I am dealing with a mini human. Pigs don’t just abruptly engage in other people’s space like dogs. I find that they question people more in their own minds, similar to cats. TRUST is a big factor. We are blessed to be in Nahla’s trust circle. 

PE🐽NY: What is the biggest challenge? Her BIG personality has demands and boy, she wants them met. It’s Nahla’s world and we are just living in it. 

PE🐽NY: What is one pig fact that others may be surprised to hear? All mini pigs grow until they are 4 years old. With that being said, most do finish 75% of their height growth within their first year. After their first birthday, their growth rate slows down. Pigs are built quite differently than a dog. Most canine breeds put on their weight throughout their torso, leaving their legs without much weight on them. A mini pig will put on weight on all parts of its body. They are very compact and dense animals. A 55 lb. mini pig will be roughly the height and length of a Cocker Spaniel (a 25 lb. dog). 

PE🐽NY: Any advice for those wanting a pig? PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do your homework and be familiar with your breeder. There are a lot of pig scammers and falsified marketing when it comes to teacup/mini/micro pigs. People are misinformed, lied to and not educated about pigs which can lead to orphaned or furthermore, abandoned pigs. Do your pig homework! Knowledge is power and the power of pig knowledge is essential for these extremely intellectual beings. They are also a 15-20 year commitment. It’s a long investment, but well worth it. 

Nahla. Love is SO evident in your life. My heart soars with happiness that you and your family have found your precious way, and can share your beautiful life with all of us. Pigs are SO incredibly special. If our caretakers find the time to see and know that, it is a forever bond that can never be broken. Thank you for being fabulous, and thank you for being my Outstanding Pig of the Week. Love, PE🐽NY

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Meet Oscar.

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Happy 1st Birthday to you, Oscar. We decided to feature this country-living, snout-alicious piggy on his very special day!!!! Twelve months old to the day and 27 pounds of love, this little guy comes to us from the midwest. Oscar happily resides in Kansas with his Mommy, Daddy and their 10-year old Boston Terrier, Rylee.

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PE🐽NY: When did you get Oscar? We got him in May, 2015. We planned on moving to the country someday and wanted to wait until then before adding a pig to our family. We finally got the chance to move into our country house in April of that year. Although we planned on waiting at least several months to settle in before getting a mini pig, Oscar became available on a breeder site I had been watching for a long time and my husband and I decided Oscar was the one for us. It was a little stressful getting settled into a new house with a piglet, but we are so glad we picked him. Oscar was five weeks old when we picked him up. 

PE🐽NY: Did you always want a mini pig? No, I have not, mainly because it just never occurred to me that I could have a pig as a pet. Growing up, I only thought of cats and dogs as pets. Surprisingly, my husband is the one who always wanted a pet pig. He grew up in rural Kansas and had more exposure to farm animals, and he decided when he was young that he wanted a pig someday. Being an animal lover, I was completely on board, especially having researching them as pets!

PE🐽NY: Where did you get Oscar? I researched and “watched” breeders online for a few years before we decided on Oscar, and choosing a breeder was a difficult decision. I narrowed down a few, with preference to those in close proximity to us, and then kept my eye out for the right piglet and a breeder I was really comfortable with. I’ve chosen to not mention his breeder, as he had mange when we got him. Aside from Oscar’s mange, we have been really happy with our choice. 

PE🐽NY: What is mange? How did you have to treat Oscar? Did you have to treat your dog? Sarcoptic mange is caused by mange mites and is spread from one pig to another, either from direct contact or from surfaces recently contaminated by the mites. Since Oscar came home with mites, I assume it was spread from the other pigs while he was with the breeder. We noticed during his first few days with us that he was extremely itchy and wanted to scratch on everything. Pigs are itchy animals in general, but Oscar was obsessively itchy. We took him to the vet, and he had a skin scrape done which basically checks his skin for mites. The vet confirmed that he had mites on him, so she gave us three doses of oral Ivomec and instructed us to give each dose 14 days apart since that timing coincides with the life cycle of the mites. We were also instructed to wash his bedding and vacuum after each dose. Oscar started to show improvement after the second dose and the mange appeared to be gone after the third dose since Oscar was no longer as itchy. Unfortunately, Oscar was somehow reinfected and the mange came back. This time it was worse; he had sarcoptic mange and a secondary staph infection. Our original vet was out of town this time, so we took him to a different one. This vet took a very different, much more thorough approach to the mange. This time Oscar received three Ivermectin injections, each 14 days apart, for the mange, an antibiotic every 12 hours for two weeks for the staph infection, we kept him isolated in one room of the house away from the dogs and us for the entire treatment period, and used a perimeter spray around the house at least once a week to kill any mites remaining in the house. We also washed his bedding every day and treated our dog for mites using Revolution. We were given the option to treat our dog for mites even though it was highly unlikely that she also had mange. Since mites are typically host specific and also since Oscar and Rylee weren’t sharing bedding or blankets at that point, we didn’t have to treat Rylee but did proactively just to make sure the mites were completely gone. After a very long six weeks of cleaning, disinfecting, and having poor Oscar in isolation, we finally got rid of his mange!

PE🐽NY: What does Oscar like to do? Oscar is a very simple pig. He likes to eat, eat grass, root and cuddle. If he could do those things all day long, that would be perfect for him. 

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PE🐽NY: Where does Oscar sleep? We have a large crate for him with a bed and blanket that we warm up in the dryer for him before bedtime. We plan on letting him move from his crate to his own bed soon. He has slept in our bed a few times, but he likes to snuggle in really tight and then kick me with his hooves every few hours, so I don’t get much sleep.

PE🐽NY: Can Oscar do any tricks? I started clicker training Oscar when he was really young, so he knows how to circle, sit, shake, jump and wave. Wave is my favorite so far because it’s so adorable. He LOVES training time. It’s a chance for him to earn treats, and I love it because it is a nice bonding activity for us. 

PE🐽NY: What does Oscar eat? Favorite snacks? Oscar loves Cheerios, apples and peanut butter. He eats Mazuri mini pig pellets for his main meals in the morning and evening, and gets a salad for lunch. His salad mostly consists of kale and any veggies I have around, like carrots and celery, and I also add some coconut oil treats (which he learned from you, Peony!!!) and a small amount of fruit, typically blueberries. Oscar gets really excited about salads; however, he’s not picky about food. We still haven’t found a food he doesn’t like.

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PE🐽NY: Do you work? If out of the house, what does Oscar do during the day? I am fortunate enough to be at home with Oscar all day. He has developed a surprisingly structured routine to his day, and he very much dislikes when it changes. 

PE🐽NY: What is you favorite part of having a pig? Oscars’s cuddles. When he cuddles, he snuggles in really tight and stays there as long as he can (or until he hears the fridge open). There’s just something special about the way a pig cuddles. 

PE🐽NY: What has been the biggest challenge? The emotional roller coaster of owning a pig. Oscar is SO loving and sweet, but we have also struggled with his aggression. I have talked openly about his aggression on my blog because I want people to understand the challenges that can come with mini pig ownership. We have been using “Move the Pig” with Oscar over the past few months, and we have seen significant improvement in his behavior. Understanding that pigs are hierarchical by nature and need to know their place in the household has really helped me to understand why Oscar is being aggressive at times and also why “Move the Pig” is effective. Despite that, I put so much time, energy and love into Oscar that it’s really difficult when he tries to bite or snap at me. A minute later he can cuddle up next to me and completely melt my heart again. I have never experienced so many highs and lows with a pet before!

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PE🐽NY: Any surprising pig facts? While many pigs love water, others hate it. Oscar is a pig who hates water. We bought him a little plastic pool last summer and put some water in it expecting him to love it, and he got scared and jumped out. If there is ever any water on a sidewalk or concrete, he will walk all the way around it to get where he is going.

PE🐽NY: Any advice for those wanting a pig? Do Your Research! Pigs are adorable, but a lot of work. We have had an overall positive experience with Oscar and wouldn’t trade him for the world, but we also researched for several years before deciding to finally get a pet pig. The biggest piece of advice I can give to anyone who wants a pig is to make sure everyone in your home is 100% on board. Pigs can be very noisy and disruptive to an environment. People give up pigs (all the time) for reasons that could have been avoided with some simple research. Giving up a pig, or any pet really, can really affect them, and it breaks my heart. 

PE🐽NY: Your blog is awesome! What inspired you to start it? When I was researching mini pigs before we decided to get Oscar, I wanted to know what daily life was like with a mini pig. After years of researching, I knew what they ate, how to care for them, and other facts like their life span, but I still didn’t really know what to expect on a daily basis. So, I started LifeWithaMiniPig.com as a place to discuss what my life was like now that I had a mini pig. My goal was to be honest and share both the good and bad of having a pet mini pig. I have found SO many amazing pig parents who have helped me along the way and have reached out to me when I was struggling with Oscar’s mange and his aggression. The blog has helped me connect with an amazing group of pig owners, and I’m extremely grateful for the wonderful people I have met along the way. 

Happy 1st year of many, sweet Oscar! We adore you!!! Every single time we see pictures of you (by the way, your Mama is an oink-mazing photographer) our hearts seriously SMILE. Thank you for being a wonderful pig and for choosing such an amazing family – and thank you to your family for choosing you! All of the education you and your Mama provide for us is priceless, helpful and inspiring. Thank you, most of all, for being my Outstanding Pig of the Week. Love, PE🐽NY

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Meet Blue.

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Take yourself to the beautiful beaches of Palm Beach County, Florida. Home of PGA Golf, Vanilla Ice and a beautiful little pig that dons the name Blue Sweetness Duran. As if the town of Wellington didn’t have enough sunshine, Blue adds 45 pounds more. You can find this little princess at home with her Mommy and Daddy and their red-footed tortoise, ball python snake, two sugar gliders and two aquariums.

PE🐽NY: When did you get Blue? We picked her up in October, 2014. She was born August 25, 2014. 

PE🐽NY: Have you always wanted a pig? I have ALWAYS loved pigs but I never thought it was a possibility for me to have one since I didn’t live on a farm. When I moved in with my fiancĂŠ I knew we had to have a pet. Naturally, we were looking to rescue a dog. However, I began to research pet pigs and learned they made amazing house pets, and it quickly became clear to us that we had to have one!

PE🐽NY: Where did Blue come from? It just so happened that a friend of ours had a litter of pigs available and it was perfect timing! We ran over to meet the piggies and we instantly fell in love with our sweet Blue. 

PE🐽NY: Did you have to wait long for Blue? Six weeks. I saw a picture of Blue the day she was born on Facebook and that is when I decided I had to have her. It was six weeks from there for her to be healthy and eating on her own so we could take her home.

PE🐽NY: What are Blue’s favorite things to do? Eat, cuddle, root outside, practice tricks and eat some more.

PE🐽NY: Where does she sleep? Most nights she sleeps on the bed with us. Sometimes she will lay in her own bed but finds herself on ours by 5 AM. 

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PE🐽NY: Does she have any silly habits? Sounds? Blue makes the funniest sounds when she is laying in our bed and we try to move her. She sounds just like a tiger. As far as silly habits go, ever since she learned how to shut doors she will occasionally slam the door in my face when I’m trying to talk to her. She shuts it really hard so it is hilarious!  

PE🐽NY: What are some of Blue’s favorite snacks? What does she eat? Blue loves Cheerios, blueberries and anything sweet! Surprisingly, she is not the biggest fan of vegetables. As far as her daily feeding goes, she gets piggy pellets four times a day, one large salad and small amounts of fruit and snacks.

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PE🐽NY: What does she do during the day? Do you work out of the house? I work in the afternoons and her dad works in the mornings, so Blue spends about five hours alone during the day. I usually wear her out before I leave for work so she naps for most of that time. She does have a doggy door so she is welcome to go outside whenever she wants. We have cameras in the house to check up on her when we are not home. She spends most of her time rooting and napping. 

PE🐽NY: What is the best part of having a pig? Cuddling with her and looking into her beautiful eyes and knowing that we made a difference in a little piggy’s life. I hear and read so many stories of pigs being abandoned or mistreated and it breaks my heart. Blue will never know what that feels like. She also makes a lot of people smile and that’s amazing!

PE🐽NY: What has been the biggest challenge? The biggest challenge is keeping her from getting grass and dirt all over our bed! Since she has the freedom to go outside whenever she wants, I can’t always clean her snout before she jumps on the bed. This means our sheets have to be washed, constantly. LOL.

PE🐽NY: What is one pig fact that others may be surprised to hear? If you have never owned a pig than you would be very surprised to learn how much they understand and how smart they actually are! They are very observant and learn very quickly. Pigs are so smart they learn how to manipulate and get their way so you have to be strict. They also need a lot of mental stimulation. Teaching them tricks and practicing them daily are great ways to do that. You do NOT want a bored piggy in your home. 

PE🐽NY: Any advice for those wanting a pig? Please do your research and do not buy a pig on impulse just because they are cute. Pigs require a lot of time and patience. They can get sick and require expensive vet bills. (For example, entropian is a common eye problem that pigs encounter. Blue had to have surgery for this. It not only required several trips to the vet, but also time off of work to take care of her during the healing process). If you are unable to take care of a pig like you would your own child, I do not recommend getting one. However, if you have the time, patience and are serious about spending the next 20 years with your new companion, a pig will make an EXCELLENT pet. I could not imagine my life without Blue. (READ MORE ABOUT ENTROPIAN IN PIGS HERE)

Beautiful Blue! We loved learning all about you! Your special name represents one of the colors in a rainbow. At its most basic form, rainbows happen when sunlight and raindrops combine in a very specific way. Just like you finding your family, and them you – what a harmonious and beautiful combination. We love seeing your cute little face on Instagram daily. Thank you for being my Outstanding Pig of the Week, Blue. You are sure a special one. Love, PE🐽NY

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Meet Abby.

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Connecticut is known for its beautiful 250-mile shoreline and housing the prestigious Yale University. This state is also the home of John Mayer, Mark Twain and the ever-so-perfect and smile-inducing Abby. A year and a half of precious life and 60 pounds of pure love, I introduce to you, Abby, the pink piggy.

PE🐽NY: Can you please describe Abby’s family? Abby lives with her human Mom, Dad, 3 adult children (2 girls, 1 boy), 4 dogs, a cat, and Pablo (our other pig).

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PE🐽NY: When did you get Abby? We got her November 30, 2014. She was born October 13, so she was about six weeks old when we got her. 

PE🐽NY: What was the inspiration in getting her? We had a potbelly pig for 15 years. Once he passed away (at 18), it just felt weird not having a pig around. Everyone LOVED our pig, Arnold. Friends, family and even our UPS/FedEx delivery guys would always ask about him. 

PE🐽NY: Where did Abby come from? We had rescued a pig who came from Miami, Florida. Frankie. Sadly, we were his 8th home and he was sick needing to have emergency surgery because his abdomen was full with gas. It was a 50/50 chance going into surgery and unfortunately he did not make it. The vet knew how sad we were and put us in touch with Abby’s breeder in the event we were interested in getting another pig. They had one female left, but when we called they advised she was already spoken for. Two weeks later they called and told us Abby was available and ready to go! We picked her up the next day. 

PE🐽NY: Have you always wanted a pig? Always, since I was a little girl. When we moved to the house we live in now, and we had enough land, I asked my parents if we could get a pet pig. They didn’t object, and we found Arnold through a friend.

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PE🐽NY: What are Abby’s favorite things to do? Favorite snacks? Silly habits? Eat everything! She especially loves acorns, Cheerios, carrots, strawberries and coconut oil. She loves to snuggle, get her belly rubbed and go to the neighbors house. When Abby is happy she grinds her teeth and loves to scratch her tooshie on the porch steps!

PE🐽NY: Where does she sleep? Abby has a bed in the laundry room where she sleeps every night. When she’s really tired she’ll go to bed by herself and even cover herself right up. She also has a bed in the living room where she takes naps during the day. 

PE🐽NY: What does Abby eat? 1/4 cup of pig food in the morning and 1/4 cup at night. During the day she’s usually outside grazing and we also give her snacks.

PE🐽NY: Is Abby home alone during the day? Everyone has different schedules, so for the most part there is always someone home. If everyone is going to be gone (for more than a short while) we will lock Abby in the laundry room with a baby gate. If not, she has been caught terrorizing the house a time or two!

PE🐽NY: What is the best part of having a pig? Abby is part of the family. She loves to snuggle, she’s very smart, and we can count on her to clean up any food accidentally dropped on the floor!

PE🐽NY: What is the biggest challenge? Potty training was a challenge. We litter box trained her when she was younger, but now that she goes outside she will go to the door when she has to go out. It’s the most difficult to get her outside when it’s cold, snowy or rainy. We often times have to bribe her with treats. Also, keeping her in our yard is a challenge. She likes to venture off to the neighbors to eat their acorns. 

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PE🐽NY: What is one pig fact that non-pig owners (and maybe pig owners) would be surprised to hear? Pigs have three sets of teeth. Their adult teeth finally come in once a pig is about 18-22 months old. 

PE🐽NY: Any advice for those wanting a pig? Do Your Research! Make sure you have a lot of time, patience and room for them. Know they are a long commitment. Pigs can live up to 18-20 years. 

PE🐽NY: Abby has quite the following on social media? 94,800 followers. How did this come about? Last year, on National Pig Day (March 1, 2015), Instagram featured Abby in their #WeeklyFluff post they do every week with a new animal. I had just made Abby’s account a few months prior, and one night my phone started going crazy with Instagram notifications. I had no idea what was going on! Abby was getting tagged in a bunch of pictures and friends started texting me telling me she got featured by Instagram. It was VERY exciting to see that. Since then, she’s gained thousands of followers from all over the world. 

PE🐽NY: She is an NBC star too? Last winter during one of the snowstorms, the weatherman told viewers to send in pictures of their dogs playing in the snow. We decided to send a picture of Abby. The news crew LOVED it! They put her on the news and said they’ve never seen a pet pig playing in the snow before. Ryan Hanrahan, one of the weathermen at NBC Connecticut, loves Abby. He follows her on Instagram and if I post anything of her on Facebook or we tweet about her he always retweets it or shares the post. Just a few weeks ago we sent him a picture of Abby playing in the snow and he put it on the news again! 

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PE🐽NY: It must be nice to share the joy she brings to you and your family? I play on an adult kickball league in the summer. Last summer, when we brought Abby to one of the games, people recognized her and couldn’t believe she was there! It’s pretty cool to see that people know who she is and how many people from all over the world follow her and love her as much as we do! 

Amazing Abby! If only you knew the joy and smiles that you bring to others . . to be the cause of such love and light is a gift. Thank you. Pig by pig, the world will begin to see how special we are. Grateful to be on the same team as you. Thank you, Abby, for shining so bright and for being my Outstanding Pig of the Week. Love, PE🐽NY

💜 IN LOVING MEMORY OF ARNOLD AND FRANKIE 💜

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Arnold

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Frankie

 

Meet Isabella Boo Boo.

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Somewhere in the midst of Arizona’s painted desert, blooming cacti and blue skies – a little, teeny, tiny 7.2 pound pig plays the day away – and her name is Isabella Boo Boo. This little girl is almost a year-and-a-half. She lives with her mommy and daddy, their kitty, Meeee, and their boxer puppy, Skylar.

PE🐽NY: Have you always wanted a pig? I did want a potbelly pig in high school and my mother said ABSOLUTELY NOT! Other than that, I mostly always wanted a monkey. Haha.

PE🐽NY: What inspired you to get Isabella Boo Boo? We decided on a pig due to animal allergies that I have, and my stepson suffers from asthma and other allergies (he is even allergic to the saliva of Golden Doodles). We researched and learned that a pig was the most hypoallergenic of all animals having hair, not fur.  A pig just seemed right for us. 

PE🐽NY: Where did Isabella Boo Boo come from? All things happen for a reason. I was almost scammed by a breeder in Texas and was very close to impulse buying one of their pigs, until a stranger reached out to me and told me about a lawsuit she was currently involved in. At that point, I really started to do my research. I decided I wanted someone local, so that I could go and see their pigs and build a close relationship. I THANKFULLY found Suzette’s page, AZ Micro Mini Pigs, and started talking with her. My husband and I went and did a farm visit and immediately got on her waiting list.  We were okay with an almost 10-month wait, as we had 2 older boxer dogs at home, both ill with cancer. The long wait allowed us some final time with our dogs. 

PE🐽NY: How did you come up with her name? I really wanted something creative for her name and nothing was sticking except for Isabella. My husband proposed to me on the gondola at the Hyatt in Gainey Ranch, and the name of the boat was Isabella. My 1st Cabbage Patch Kid doll I bought looked like my hubby, but was a girl (lol), and I had named her Isabella… the name kept popping up to me. Boo Boo came from my boxer Bailey who passed away in August ’13. Her full name was Bailey Boo Boo, so I kept her memory alive with Isabella Boo Boo. I call her Boo Boo for short.

PE🐽NY: What are some of her favorite things to do? Isabella loves to sunbathe. Any patch of sun that she can find, she lays. She is now starting to be very playful with our six-month old boxer puppy, Skylar. Boo Boo runs around the house barking and chasing her. Very, very fun to watch. She used to play with our 13-year old cat, Meeee, but he sleeps the days away now. They don’t play much anymore.

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PE🐽NY: Where does Isabella Boo Boo sleep? Isabella has her own castle. She has a great pen with a TV, toys, bed, food and litter box. She does NOT sleep with us. I love my sleep and I learned with my old, snoring dogs that this was the time to break the habit of animals in the bedroom. Isabella is very good at sleeping. She stays quiet in the morning until I get up around 8-9 AM.

PE🐽NY: Does she have any silly habits? Her silly habits are her routines with her feeding/bedtime rituals. I feed her a bowl with pellets as she spins for me. Then I turn on her heating pad and heat lamp, and throw some pellets in her toys so she can treasure hunt for them.  Next, I heat up her corn bag in the microwave. If she gets done with her treasure hunt before I get back, she stands on her bed and quacks at me until I give her the corn bag. Finally, she burrows up with it for the night. 

PE🐽NY: Do you work? What does Isabella do during the day? I work from home as a real estate agent, and she usually just goes about her day with some pauses for belly rubs and cuddles. I’ve learned to type well with one hand so she can cuddle on me while I work. 

PE🐽NY: What is the best part of having a pig? The best part of having a pig is all of the attention and smiles that she gets. Isabella Boo Boo makes people happy. One lady almost ran into me storming into a cell phone store as I was coming out. I had Isabella with me. She stopped, looked up  and said, “I was having the worst day and you just made it better!” Things like that make me happy. We get stopped everywhere we go for pictures, and lots of hugs and kisses. 

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PE🐽NY: What is the biggest challenge? Having a pig is not like having a dog or a cat, which most people are used to, or expect. It took me a couple of weeks to hold her and it was very frustrating. I thought I would just pick her up like a dog and take her everywhere. The biggest challenge overall is watching for toxic food/plants. I do a sweep of the floor every morning just to make sure my husband didn’t drop any chips or popcorn the night before.  It definitely feels like I’m chasing around a toddler . . ha ha . .”don’t touch this! don’t eat that! put that down!!!”  

PE🐽NY: What is one pig fact that non pig owners (and maybe pig owners) would be surprised to hear? People always ask if she is going to get any bigger. Our breeder truly breeds small pigs and everyone is shocked how little she has stayed. People always ask us if she smells! No she doesn’t. Everyone assumes that because she is a barn/farm animal, that is the case. 

PE🐽NY: Any advice for those wanting a pig? Do your research on a reputable breeder. Make sure to see their SOLD adult pigs, as that is the best way to judge sizing. ALL piglets are small when they are born. Also, talk to previous owners from a breeder you are considering. ONLY get a pig if you truly have the time and patience. I really feel like I have a child. They require a lot of special time and care (as do most animals) but Isabella Boo Boo definitely gets more undivided attention (she coo’s like a baby in my arms and it melts me every time). 

Every single shape and size and kind of pig brings me joy, especially the mini-mini-mini ones. Isabella Boo Boo, YOU ARE AWESOME. You were brought into this world with love, and picked the perfect family to help you continue on your path of love and awesome-ness. We are a huge fan of yours on Instagram and it was amazing to watch you and your brother and sister piggies on ABC’s Sonoran Living. MINI-PIGS DO EXIST!!!! Thank you, Isabella Boo Boo, for being my Outstanding Pig of the Week. Piggy friends for life!!!!!!! Love, PE🐽NY

 

 

Meet Daisy.

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Welcome to quaint Willintgton, Connecticut. 41 acres of undisturbed pastureland and forest is the serenity that sweet ‘almost’ 3 year-old Daisy gets to call home. Daisy is an 80-pound princess/farm-foreman/house pig – living the dream.  She’s a lucky pig and here is her story.

PE🐽NY: When and where did you get Daisy? We picked Daisy up when she was about nine weeks old. We bought her from a breeder (newenglandteacuppiggies.com) in Buzzards Bay, MA. She is a veterinarian who raises piglets and spays/neuters them before they go to their forever homes. We were lucky and only had to wait a few months for Daisy. She was expecting a litter and because of our recent loss of a piglet, she let us have pick of the litter.

PE🐽NY: Recent loss of a piglet? I’m so sorry. Please share. Daisy is our second piglet. We had Ruby, she was a miniature potbelly. Ruby was eight weeks old when we got her. We decided to get Ruby because my daughter suffers from allergies and we researched that a pig would be a good fit. Ruby was so nice and loving, but she was not spayed. A piglet in heat is not fun for anyone, so I looked for a vet who was familiar with exotic pets. I even asked if he had performed this procedure before and he said yes. Poor Ruby suffered for two months after the spay. After many, many vet visits and beyond comprehendible tears and lots of money, I returned to the vet (who spayed her) and asked him to please put her down so the suffering would stop. I requested that an autopsy be performed once she was at peace, so that families in the future could avoid experiencing grief like this. The vet asked me to PLEASE LET HIM PERFORM SURGERY to attempt to save her life, and give her a chance. Of course we obliged.  

PE🐽NY: How did the surgery go? Ruby had a strangulated intestine. The vet said he was able to remove the bad spot, reconnect it and that it all looked great. We were so happy! Unfortunately, when Ruby came to, she took one big breath and passed away. She was too weak. So, so, so sad. To make a bad situation even worse, he admitted to never spaying a pig! Horrible. 

PE🐽NY: So, you found Daisy? We did, and we searched for a long time. After losing Ruby, we didn’t know if we could love another piglet like we loved Ruby and we committed to finding a reputable breeder who would spay/neuter before finding their forever home. Daisy is not Ruby, but she is her own wonderful and beautiful personality.   

PE🐽NY: 41 acres. Wow. What happens there? We have a 41 acre farm in Willington, CT. Our farm is named Bluebird Farm. We pasture raise chicken, duck, lamb, turkey and guinea hens. In addition, we started a jam company a few years ago, and it was only natural to incorporate Daisy as a part of it. She is on all of our jars with labels saying, “Daisy Approved.”  We also thought it would be cute to sell toy stuffed piglets. They’re known as, “Daisy’s Piglets,” with unique names and different personalities. We have a website, newenglandspreads.com, where we sell our made-with-love treats.  We are in five stores and two ‘bed & breakfasts.’  So very blessed. 

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PE🐽NY: Where does Daisy sleep? She has a real wooden baby crib that we cut down so she can walk in it and be cozy with her blankets.

PE🐽NY: What are Daisy’s habits? Every morning I sit on the floor with my coffee and she lays by me while we watch the morning news. At 7:15 AM, she asks to go outside. I always ask her if she wants to go and see her “friends” (farm animals), so she goes out with me to take care of them. We have baby doll sheep, Nigerian goats, chicken, ducks, rabbits and guinea hens. She likes to root around and graze for about an hour than asks to come back in (we always say she doesn’t feel like she belongs out there). She repeats this cycle at noon and at 4PM.  After this, she is in for the night.

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PE🐽NY: What does she eat? Daisy eats a handful of mini pig grain in the morning and at night (plus the grazing she does outside). Throughout the day she gets a few treats of carrots, grapes and apples. She will do tricks like sit and dance for cherries. 

PE🐽NY: Do you work out of the home? I used to, but almost six years ago my father was diagnosed with Dementia (Alzheimer’s) and he needs round-the-clock care. I quit my job to do this. This has been a journey that is tough but very rewarding.

PE🐽NY: What is the best part of having a pig? Having Daisy has been a Godsend. Truly. She is my angel sent from above.  Daisy knows when I need a little support. She will come up to me and give me a nuzzle or simply nudge me with her snout. SHE IS THE ABSOLUTE BEST. I cannot imagine my life without her in it.

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PE🐽NY: What is one pig fact that non-pig owners (and maybe pig owners) would be surprised to hear? Pigs are really sensitive and they do NOT have any defense against enemies. They need interaction with people everyday and can get depressed if left alone.  

PE🐽NY: Any advice for those wanting a pig? Make sure you can make the long commitment if you are thinking about bringing a piglet into your family. Please find a reputable breeder who will spay or neuter your piglet before you bring them home. Mini pigs are not cheap pets. Also, make sure you never feed your piglet from your refrigerator or they will know real fast where food comes from and than you will need to put a lock on the door or their powerful snout will learn quickly how to open it. I speak from experience, LOL.  

Daisy! Wow! What a blessing you are to your family, and them to you! What a beautiful and precious piggy life you are blessed live. I’m so sorry about your sister Ruby, and the pain your family had to endure losing her. Rainbows come from rain, they really do, and you are exactly that. A rainbow. As soon as I publish this post, I am logging on to newenglandspreads.com and ordering a stuffed piggy and some jam. I can’t wait! Thank you for being my Outstanding Pig of the Week and I look forward to beautiful stories from your amazing journey. Love, PE🐽NY

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Meet Ziggy.

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We all know the saying, “Good things come in small packages.” When it comes to this itty-bitty bundle of love, I need to modify those words to say, “really, really, realllllly good things!” Ziggy was born last month. He is almost almost 8 weeks old and weighs in at a whopping 1.5 pounds. Ziggy is blind.

PE🐽NY: Can you please describe your family? We live in Fallbrook, California. Our human family consists of mom, dad and three children: Ashley (13), Ethan (11) and Lucas (8). Our wild kingdom consists of: 4 goats, 3 ponies, 7 chickens, 1 giant sulcata tortoise, 3 dogs, 4 leopard geckos and 3 beta fish. Ziggy has ONLY played with our smallest dog, Zoey. She is a maltese-yorkie mix. 

PE🐽NY: Have you always wanted a pig? Our small farm here in Fallbrook is always growing. My husband and youngest son were wanting a pig for quite some time. I was a little slower to warm to the idea because of how smart they are and I wasn’t sure I was ready to own one. One day I decided. We decided. We were ready and finally had the time to dedicate to such a brilliant animal. We had no idea how smart he would be. Ziggy was litter box trained at three weeks.

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PE🐽NY: How old was Ziggy when you got him? We got Ziggy on Christmas Eve, 2015. We wrapped his carrier (of course with him not in it) and put it under the Christmas tree for the kids! All of the children were so surprised and happy! He was only three weeks old. We were told he was the runt of the litter and was not nursing with his mom anymore. He came from a breeder in Temecula, CA. 

PE🐽NY: Did you know Ziggy was blind before you brought him home? No, we did not know he was blind. When we brought him home he seemed normal to us since we had never had a pig. My daughter was the first to suspect there was something wrong. We began to notice peculiar behavior in response to our presence. Ziggy would run in circles looking in the direction from where the sound was coming. As he began to have more freedom in small rooms, he would use his nose to bump into all of the walls and chairs to navigate. It started to become pretty obvious he could not see. His eyes also reflected white in photos. 

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PE🐽NY: What was the next step? Around five weeks, Ziggy had labored breathing and didn’t want to play. I knew something was wrong so we headed to the vet. They observed Ziggy bumping into the office walls while he was exploring. The vet sedated him so that he could run some tests and do a chest x-ray. Results lead the vet to presume that Ziggy may have had a fever when he was younger that dissolved part of his hip socket and could have also caused his blindness. He also had a partially collapsed lung. Ten days of a strong antibiotic had Ziggy feeling like himself again. As far as his dissolved hip socket goes, we have to make sure to manage his weight well and try not to let him on slippery surfaces where he does the “splits.”

PE🐽NY: Could the blindness be a genetic defect? There is no real way to know why Ziggy is blind. It could have been a birth defect or caused by an illness. I spoke with his breeder to let her know in case it was genetics. She said none of her other pigs have ever had this. 

PE🐽NY: Ziggy came home with you at a very young age. Did you have to bottle feed him? Yes. I had to bottle feed Ziggy goat’s milk every four hours for the first few weeks until I was able to get him to drink out of a bowl. Goat’s milk is still a favorite of his today. He has now transitioned to youth mini pig pellets only. Since he is still so young, we really haven’t offered him anything else as far as snacks go. He eats four times a day now. 

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PE🐽NY: Where does Ziggy sleep? Ziggy has a large 6-sided baby pen that he can run around in. Inside of his pen there is crate that has become his little private spot. We also have a heat lamp in there for him.

PE🐽NY: Does Ziggy have any silly habits? He makes a silly sound when he is really happy! It sounds like a blend of laughing and panting.

PE🐽NY: What does he do during the day? I am a stay-at-home mom which allows me to be home with Ziggy almost all day, everyday. Ziggy’s pen is in our home office, which we are in and out of all day. Our children are home schooled so we are around the house for the most part.  Ziggy loves to play with balls, toys and our smaller dog, Zoey. 

PE🐽NY: What is the best part of having a pig? Ziggy is really fun to watch grow up, he makes cute sounds and loves to root on everyone. We love to watch his tail spin with happiness as we talk to him. 

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PE🐽NY: What has been the biggest challenge? His blindness. Considering we have never had a pig before, we are unaware of typical pig behaviors. We don’t have a baseline.

PE🐽NY: What is one pig fact that pig owners (and non-pig owners) would be surprised to hear? They can be REALLY noisy and when picked up their squealing is louder than a jet engine taking off. 

PE🐽NY: Any advice for those wanting a pig? Do your research. Understand that every pig has the potential to be 200 pounds!

Sweet Ziggy. What a strong, brave and smart piglet you are.  YOU ARE A PIG! PIGS ARE AMAZING AND SO SMART! Blind, schmind. Don’t ever let that stand in your way. We love watching you grow and navigate through this life and just adore your Instagram (@ziggypig) account. Tremendous blessings came your way when you found your family, and they found you. I started your story with a quote, and I will end with one. “Do small things with great love.” Thank you for being my Outstanding Pig of the Week. Love, PE🐽NY

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