The Sassy Sandpiper: This Little Piggy…
The Sassy Sandpiper falls in love at first oink.
By M.R. Wilson, Columnist, TB Reporter
It’s not every day you meet a mini pot-bellied pig. On a leash. Walking his toddler at Joe’s Creek Greenway Park. But that’s exactly what happened. And on my birthday, no less.
At first, I thought a small black and white dog was rooting through the leaf litter near the park’s entrance. A closer look and my jaw fell open. I made a noise like “squeeeeeee!” The piglet perked up, momentarily distracted from his hunt. (There might have been truffles. Who could say?)
Marlen P., 36, of St. Petersburg, is proud of her piggy. And well she should be. “Porky” is almost seven months old, acquired just before Christmas last year from Margie’s Mini Piggies in Brooksville. I imagine he was quite a stocking stuffer.
Taking care of a piglet is much like taking care of a toddler. Porky is always getting into things, can be both amusing and stubborn, loving and moody, and likes his naps. Remarkably, Porky is trained to “pee over the drain in the shower,” and lets Marlen know when it’s time for a quick clean-up with bleach. For the record, he’s never pooped in the house.
As well as being a mom to Porky, Marlen has three children including a toddler and a teenage daughter. A boxer named Bella likes to play with Porky, who sometimes gets a little annoyed by such canine foolishness. It’s a happy household.
Other folks have mixed reactions. Porky grunts a lot. He’s a piglet, after all. For inexplicable reasons, the grunting “scares” the neighbors. Be assured, Porky has been neutered and had his tusks shaved down. Yes, tusks.
Porky sits on command (will spin for you, too) and trots happily along in harness and leash. He loves his walks and all the affection from people who stop to talk and pet him.
How big will Porky grow? It depends on genetics, and regardless of what a breeder may advertise, there is no such thing as a “mini pig.” Porky could eat and eat and never get full; he could even die from overeating. So Marlen is vigilant. She feeds Porky salad and pig pellets twice a day. A common misconception is that limiting food consumption can control adult size. This practice may be hazardous, causing health problems in the future. Marlen expects Porky to reach between 40 and 60 pounds.
Anyone who might be interested in a porcine companion should know they require a lot of time and patience. Too often people get pigs and give them up before their first birthdays.
But don’t be surprised if you meet a pot-bellied pig someday and fall in love. They are intelligent and irresistibly cute. They make fantastic pets. Marlen paid $200 for her mini pot-bellied pig and said it was the best money she’s ever spent. Porky is the best pet she’s ever had.
A personal aside makes this story even sweeter: My Mom’s name was Margie. She nicknamed me “Mini-Pig.”
In-Story photo of Porky courtesy of Marlen P. Main Photo by M.R. Wilson, Tampa Bay Reporter.
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