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VIDEO: Pet pigs popular with Colchester County residents


TRURO, N.S. - It took Corrina Cormier 15 years to convince her husband that having a pig in the house was a good idea.

Tia, the pot-bellied pig, has now been part of their family for seven years and they think she’s a great pet.

“I love her; she keeps life interesting,” said Cormier, who lives in Belmont. “She’s very affectionate. She rubs her head up and down my legs and she greets me when I come in.

“She rings a bell when she needs to go out, or when she thinks it’s supper time.”

Tia came from the Yarmouth area, where a man was breeding pigs as house pets.

“A lot of people expect to have a pig that’s 20 to 30 pounds, but Tia’s a normal size, and she weighs about 85 pounds. She’s not big, just heavy.”

Tia has her own crate, with a tough mattress made especially for her, and the door always remains open.

“Her hair’s too prickly to have her in the bed, but she does have her own couch,” said Cormier.

Tia enjoys going for walks, and the first few times she was out she surprised quite a few people. Although she does quite a bit of squealing when she’s being helped into the car, she does enjoy a drive.

She gets along well with Buddy, the 15-year-old miniature Pinscher in the home, and Freckles, a tabby kitten who will often hop on her back – sometimes running across her back to make a leap onto the kitchen counter.

“They’re cute but they really are a lot of work. Sometimes people think they’re getting a small pig, but it ends up being a large pig. I’ve heard some horror stories." - Vanessa Richardson

When Tia was young, child-proof latches had to be installed to keep her out of cupboards, but now she rarely opens them.

“If she does, I tell her to get out and she slams the door closed,” said Cormier. “To keep her busy, I got her toys she’d have to work at to get the treats out, but she did it quickly. She’s very clever. Most pigs, when they get in trouble it’s because they’re bored.”

Stewiacke-area resident Vanessa Richardson has been surprised by a few things she’s experienced with Peggy, a pot-bellied pig who is now two years old and about the same size as Tia.


Things to consider if you’re thinking about getting a pet pig:

• Can you legally keep a pig as a pet in your municipality?

• Is there a local vet who is knowledgeable about pet pigs?

• Are you prepared to provide for the pig’s needs for about 20 years?

• Visit the pig’s parents if possible, to ensure they’re not large pigs.


“I thought it would be more like raising a dog, but the way she thinks is different,” said Richardson. “She has more fear, so I have to show her new things very carefully. When I’m going to take her in the car I talk about the car and put her harness on first, to let her prepare mentally.”

Like Tia, Peggy is very vocal when getting into the car, but quickly settles down and enjoys the drive.

“She’s snuggly and likes to be covered with a blanket,” said Richardson. “She hates the cold and makes quick trips when she goes out to use the washroom in the winter.

“Sometimes she gets into things. She knocks over the garbage to get our attention, and it’s hard not to react.

“She’s really part of the family now. She gets along with the dogs and cats and I love her personality.”

Peggy isn’t fond of walking much but George, a nine-month-old Vietnamese pot-bellied pig-Julian mix, enjoys getting out when it’s not too cold.

“He walks on a harness and leash but likes to stop and check out things that are edible, so it can be a slow walk,” said Chelsea Sullivan, who is temporarily caring for the 35-pound piglet at her Nuttby Mountain home.

“I wanted a pet pig for a while, so I offered to care for him while his owner was away. He was crate trained and house trained when he got here, but he’s like a toddler and gets into things He’ll follow you around like a dog, but he’s also stubborn.”

"He’ll follow you around like a dog, but he’s also stubborn.” - Chelsea Sullivan

George gets along well with the three young children in the house and with the dogs. There are Berkshire pigs on the farm, but he’s only seen them from a distance.

Along with a special pig food, George gets treats like vegetables, fruit and rice cakes – and cleans up crumbs from whatever the children are eating.

Jeff Higgins, who owns George, is currently working in Dawson City.

“He’s a little cuddle monster, and I miss him, but I didn’t think this would be a good place for him,” he said. “There are dogs running wild here and I was afraid they might attack him if we were out walking.”

George quickly learned to sit and to go up on his haunches.

“He’s very, very smart and he’s very food motivated,” said Higgins. “If he gets bored he’ll get into trouble.”

George, like other pigs, can suffer from dry skin, so coconut oil is rubbed into his body.

Higgins will be back in Nova Scotia, and reunited with George, later this year.

The thing all of those who share their homes with pigs stress is the importance of doing research.

“They’re cute but they really are a lot of work,” said Richardson. “Sometimes people think they’re getting a small pig, but it ends up being a large pig. I’ve heard some horror stories.

Sometimes people aren’t prepared for what’s involved, but if they are, they can have a great pet.”

lynn.curwin@trurodaily.com

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