Not Just Bacon

Neighbor Spotlight—Not Just Bacon

Penelope is an adorable pet that lives around the corner from me.  She has two human parents and two canine siblings, Lucy and Diego.  She is the smallest of the pack, but not the quietest. She’s got a great sniffer like her older siblings.  She knows tricks and listens to the rules of the house just like everyone else.  Why is there an article about her?  You see, she isn’t your average pet.  Penelope is a Chocolate Pinto Pot Belly Pig.

Hi, I'm Penelope!
Hi, I’m Penelope!

Why a pig?  Why not?!  They fell in love with the idea of having her while on vacation in South Carolina.  Kyle and Brittany did their research, got on a waiting list, and here she is today!

Is she like a cat or a Dog? I asked because I only know how to be a dog mom, and I wanted to know if a pig mom had similar duties. It turns out, she’s more like a human kid.  Sure, she uses a litter box when she’s in the house, and she likes to be rubbed on like a dog, but her feelings get hurt if you’re too stern just like a human child. I know, it sounded weird to me to. I wish I could say that I understand how to treat a pig, but I don’t, I will leave that to her parents.  I will love on her when she wants to be loved on, and accept what I can get, just like a cat.

Is she an athlete?  She goes on walks with her siblings, but she can only go for about 1 mile, then she’s done!  She can jump on the couch and the bed, up to about three feet high.  She wins sprints against her 6’3” tall Dad!

Does she oink? Penelope does not make “oink” sounds, but she does grunt and squeal.  She can also sound like a DUCK quacking! She has been known to throw a tantrum when her mouth hurts from teething.

What does she eat?  She enjoys wandering in the backyard and nibbling on the greenery.  She does have a very specific diet of “pig pellets” and salad.  Fruit is her sweet treat and limited. Just like dogs, chocolate is no-no, as are avocados.

How does one groom a pig?  Penelope requires grooming like any other pet. Her ears need to be cleaned, as do her teeth. She is just like all the other pets I know in that respect; she’s not a fan of the ritual toothbrushing. She needs to see a veterinarian specializing in pigs because her hooves and teeth need to be safely and professionally trimmed. She gets bathed with shampoo and conditioner because she has hair, not fur.

Is she a snuggler? Like I really had to ask, as she lay in her daddy’s lap being rubbed and petted. She even sleeps in bed for part of the night. She roots through the covers to the spot she wants and settles in for a nap.

While I was there, I had the pleasure of watching the animals walk / trot around the pool with grace. No one fell in and no one intentionally went for a swim, though they all like the pool.   We ended the interview with Penelope showing off her tricks and snapped a family portrait.

I do want to note that a pig is not an “easy” pet to have. They take a lot of attention and patience, more so than a traditional pet.  Their Bacon, from page 1

personalities and temperament are much different; they need a lot more attention and cannot be left alone for extended periods of time.  Leaving them alone too long can result in them throwing a fit and/or terrorizing the house (if they have access to it).

Thank you, Whissel family, for welcoming me into your home and sharing your newest addition with the Sky Ranch Community.

The whole family
The whole family



Does she Swim? Yes. She enjoys time in the pool with her canine siblings.

How big is she?  She is 15-20 pounds right now.  She will be full grown when she is about 3 or 4 years old.  I’ll try to do a follow with the family in a couple years.

Is she hard to care for?  Not “hard” but it is more work than you may think!  She needs to have attention and not be left alone for long periods of time.  She is more like having a newborn that needs you for everything.  Pigs are NOT novelty pets.  They need stimulation and reprimanding.

What was it like when you first brought her home? Lucy wanted to investigate Penelope. Diego didn’t want to be around her ONE BIT!  Diego is the alpha in the family, and he made it known.  Penelope talks to him in a special voice.  She makes a specific noise, only for Diego, when she wants to talk to him.

Where does she sleep?  She stays in a pen in the house when no one is home, or when it is time for sleep.  She may need more space as she gets bigger, but she’s currently in the kitchen/dining area of the house.  She may have her own room eventually, but will still need to be in a large penned off area because pigs have been known to eat drywall when bored.

What is a pig’s life expectancy?  Similar to small dogs and most casts, they are hoping to have her with them for 15-20 years.

How do you keep her brain occupied?  She enjoys toys where you hide the treats inside. It keeps her brain busy while she tries to get the food. Perfect!

Penelope giving her momma kisses.
Penelope giving her momma kisses.

How does she go potty in the house?  She has a little box!  Pigs so not like things over their heads; it makes them feel unsafe. Penelope has an open litter box and uses that in the house, just like a cat would.  She does drag some litter across the floor sometimes, but so do cats.

Do you plan on spaying or breeding her?  The plan is she will be spayed when she is about 4 months old.  Female pigs get PMS! :O

I always wonder what my dog can see (TV, color), do you know what Penelope can see?  She has some color vision, but overall eyesight is not great. Her SNIFFER is her best sense. 

What does she eat? She enjoys eating the grass in the backyard was well as the Pygmy Palms (while I was there). She eats three times a day, a meal of pig pellets and salad.  They are omnivores so she can also eat meat (no pork chops, please!).  A pig has more taste buds than a human being!

Penelope's happy wagging tail while listening intently to momma - it could also be the fruit
Penelope’s happy wagging tail while listening intently to momma – it could also be the fruit


In case you’re looking for a Realtor in San Diego — I have just the guy — Penelope’s Dad (yeah, the one that gets outrun by a PIG!)

Kyle Whissel of Whissel Realty 
Real Estate Broker/Owner
Office: 619.618.7997 ext 777
Text Only: 619.663.7355


(C) Copyright 2013 The Involuntary Housewife.

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