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!)
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.
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.
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!
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