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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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