This blue-eyed, 50-pound, 10-month old baby girl comes to us from New York and is something special. Her mama, Ariel, is an angel and loves to rescue exotic animals. Her piglet, sweet Harper is just like all of our amazing and extraordinary pigs, except for one thing – Harper cannot hear.
PE🐽NY: Tell us a little about your household. Who does Harper live with? Harper lives with my boyfriend and I – and . . . . I have a 46-year old Blue & Gold Macaw that was surrendered over to my care two and a half years ago because she wasn’t cared for properly and had plucked out most of her feathers (still naked to this day). She is jealous of Harper, so she is not the nicest to her, but has never hurt her. I have an albino hedgehog, age unknown, also wasn’t being cared for properly and I have had her for one year now. She is Harper’s “ouch-y” sister, and Harper knows it. She will no longer go touch her, LOL. She flinches every time she smells her. I also have 3 rescued crested geckos that have all decided to lay eggs and have babies hatching everywhere (currently we have 5). Lastly, my newest neglect case is a Moluccan Cockatoo. She is estimated to be ten years old, very under weight, and has a tumor in between her legs the size of a small apple (I have been raising money for her surgery on 12/10/15). She has been home with me for almost two weeks now, she doesn’t quite know what to think of the pig.
PE🐽NY: When did you get Harper? I got Harper on March 15, 2015. She was 7 1/2 weeks old and roughly 8 pounds.
PE🐽NY: Where did you get her from? I got Harper from Fingerlakes Mini Pigs in Canandaigua, NY. A friend posted a picture online holding her. I came to find out that Harper couldn’t go home with that friend.. their stars weren’t aligning, so I went to take a look. I had ALWAYS wanted a pig. It took me a few hours playing with the piglets to decide if I was finally ready for one, and I decided I was. It was time. As you know now, I’m a sucker for exotics and around that time I was also having baby fever. Harper was the perfect fix.
PE🐽NY: How did you discover she was deaf? Just things – like, scaring her walking around a corner, or not coming to us when we called her. She never would hear her food hit the bowl (which I heard was a pretty big deal for pigs). She’d go nuts when she finally smelled it, but never heard it. It took us about a month to finally come to the conclusion that she couldn’t hear. I was upset at first (I think because in my mind she was my first “non-special” pet) BUT Harper is absolutely perfect and I would not trade her for anything. Her being deaf makes no difference in her day to day life. She is still smart as a whip.
PE🐽NY: Did you take her to get tested to confirm your assumptions? We did not. There is only one vet in our area that does the BAER hearing test, and it was kind of pointless because we already knew. The vet that spayed her also believed she was deaf.
PE🐽NY: Does Harper know sign language? Harper knows a few formal signs (like good/bad girl – LOL). For the most part, she knows hand signals that we have come up with ourselves.
PE🐽NY: Where does Harper sleep? She was sleeping in bed with us, but I move so much at night it was causing her to think it was morning and time for breakfast every time! So, now she snuggles with us until we are ready for bed, then she goes in the bathroom and sleeps in her repurposed pack-n-play (with a dog bed and a bunch of blankets in it).
PE🐽NY: What are her favorite things to do? Harper absolutely LOVES her rooting box! She will stand in there whenever she is bored and expect Cheerios (usually her wish gets granted). She loves going on walks, playing with her treat dispensing toys, going through the other animals’ things and everything else she shouldn’t be getting into. She loves snuggling and I am happy for that because that is what I was looking for (none of my other animals like to cuddle, LOL). She also can sit, spin both ways and shake.
PE🐽NY: What do you feed her? In the morning, Harper eats a 50/50 mixture of oatmeal oats and pellets soaked in warm water with a Vitamin E pill and her Flinstones gummy vitamin. At night, she gets that same mixture, but with coconut oil, and I top it with whatever type of lettuce I have, some Plum Organics baby food squeezed on top and lately I have been topping her dinner with some shredded mozzarella cheese (she loves that). In between feedings, she loves to snack on Cheerios, grapes, peppermint horse snacks, baby puffs (haha – she will eat anything really).
PE🐽NY: Does Harper have any silly habits? She has to root on me every night for roughly 30-minutes with her eyes closed and then she will finally lay down. She will ONLY do this on me. Also, every night, within a half hour of dinner time (7:30 PM) she will pace back and forth and whine until she is fed. Harper also makes EVERY sound under the sun, LOL. She wakes up anywhere between 5-6:30 AM. I have a new job, so her routine is a little messed up still, but sometimes I am lucky and she sleeps in to that 6:30 AM mark, LOL.
PE🐽NY: What does she do while you are at work all day? We keep her safe from trouble and leave her in the bathroom during the day. She has her grass-patch pee pad, rooting box, toy box and her pack-n-play in there to keep her occupied. I stop home in between jobs when I can so that she can stretch, go outside to go potty and play.
PE🐽NY: What is the best part of having a pig? Being around an animal that is so unbelievably smart and affectionate.
PE🐽NY: What is the biggest challenge? She is stubborn and can be destructive. (She likes to tear up her wee-wee pads and drag them around the bathroom, and she likes to go through my macaws stuff, LOL).
PE🐽NY: What is one pig fact that pig owners (and non-pig owners) would be surprised to hear? Hmmmm…not really sure. They have a lot of emotions and I have heard they can cry real tears.
PE🐽NY: Any advice for those wanting a pig? PLEASE do your research and when you think you know it all, keep going. There’s more. Please know the responsibility you are committing to and know that you have to stay open to continue to learn as you go and figure out new things- constantly. Pigs are a toddler on steroids, and will ALWAYS be a toddler.
Oh sweet Harper, you are beautiful. There is not a single doubt in my mind, even for a second, that you and your special mommy, Ariel, weren’t brought together on purpose. Your mommy has a heart bigger than the world and has a way with special animals, and you needed someone like that. Not all things are coincidental. You are blessed to have the family you have, and we are blessed to know a pig as amazing as you are. Thank you for lighting up our hearts and thank you, Harper, so much – for being my Outstanding Pig of the Week. Love, PE🐽NY