Tea cup pigs hoof it to UA homes

by Journalism I student Alex Keller

It’s time for dogs to step aside. There is a new “man’s best friend:” the teacup pig. These adorable creatures have already stolen the hearts of many students. Still relatively uncommon as pets, the porky critters keep people craving their cuteness.

Last school year, some students received a surprise visit from a teacup pig owned by language arts teacher Matt Toohey.

“It created quite a fervor, lots of excitement,” Toohey said. “Even [former UAHS principal Kip] Greenhill came to my class to see the pig.”

These uncommon house pets are starting to show up more in the UA community with the help of their cute appearance and their funny nature.

Junior Madi Crosby, an owner of two teacup pigs, said she was not initially interested in owning a pig. Her brother had told her parents about an episode he saw on Discovery Channel about training pigs. Her parents later stumbled across an ad for teacup pigs with information about the breeder, and their interest was piqued. At the time the family was looking for a new pet and this seemed to be a good answer to their problems. Crosby said she remembers being woken up early by her mom to find out they were going to take a family trip up to the farm to see the pigs.

Upon arriving at the farm, Crosby said, “We kind of fell in love.”

And the Crosbys aren’t the only ones to enjoy one of these pink, plump porkers. Junior Mary Dierker said her family adopted a teacup pig into their family as well. Dierker’s sister had always wanted a pig and regularly mentioned this penchant to her parents. Their parents eventually relented and the family ordered a teacup pig off a Texas breeder’s website. They could choose the color of the pig, whether it be the traditional pink pig or black or white, or even a mix of spots.

“You have to have really weak parents to [convince] them to get you a pig,” Dierker said with a laugh, “but [eventually] it is hard [for them] to say no because [the pigs] are so adorable and funny.”

Even with their cute appearance, Toohey said he has been surprised by the stubborn nature of his pig, though he admits she is an intelligent creature.

“[My pig] knows I’m annoyed with her, so she purposely tries to misbehave,” he said. “[My pig] will look me in the eyes and then pee on an Oriental rug.”

Toohey explained that his pig also gets angry when she’s not fed on schedule, and she will retaliate by eating furniture, shoes and, if necessary, knocking over trash cans to get to food. Once, his petite porker knocked BBQ pork ribs out of the trash and ate them.

“I felt it was a slight form of cannibalism,” he said with a smile.

Other than their temperamental nature, teacup pigs are cared for like most pets. They need to be fed once a day with either pig food—which can be purchased online—or they can eat leftover table scraps, such as mashed potatoes, cottage cheese, apples,etc. Breeders suggest that owners not feed their pigs table scraps, as the animals can grow larger than their “teacup” size if overfed. Such is the case for Crosby’s pigs.

“Actually, they’re getting kind of fat,” Crosby said, “so we’re thinking of getting them a leash and walking them.”

For now, Crosby will continue to let them run wild in her backyard

Sophomore Giuliana Ciotola, who has owned a teacup pig since eighth grade, said she still finds it humorous when she takes her pig to the vet.

“There are all of these dogs there, and then we walk in with a pig,” she said.

This is just one of the many funny moments she has experienced with her pig. Ciotola shared that some people have tried to teach her pig to longboard—an epic failure. She also has taken her pig to Rita’s Italian Ice; the reactions of the employees and customers were priceless.

Toohey agreed that even though he gets annoyed with his pig sometimes, he loves people’s reactions towards her.

“We had someone over to fix the air conditioner, and he was so shocked when he heard snorts and then a pig walking through the living room,” he said. “Those moments are hilarious.”

Crosby has had similar experiences.

“The first week I got them my friends came over everyday,” she said. “Everyone asked me, ‘How are the pigs?’”

But Crosby doesn’t mind the attention because she is quite fond of her pigs. She treats them like lap dogs, holding and cuddling them regularly.

From their chubby little bodies to their charming nature, teacup pigs have caught the attention of many in UA.