CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I wanted him from the instant we met. Yes, he was younger, and yes, he belonged to another -- a friend of mine, no less -- but Aimee had barely left his sight before he was nuzzling my neck. And I was calculating how I could make him my own.
His name was Pedro, and I took him home with me. Introduced him to my daughter. She fell in love with him too. Maybe fell even harder than me.
Animal magnetism is a powerful beast. And Pedro the Pocket Pig had apparently wallowed in charm.
I'd not even known such things as pocket pigs existed until a few months back, when a friend started talking about them. Curious, I did a quick bit of research, decided they were cute -- and then promptly forgot all about them until my farmer friend, Aimee Neeley Figgatt, asked if I'd like to watch 3-month-old Pedro while she was tied up at a craft show.
Pocket pigs are a fraction of the size of standard farm pigs, and are far smaller than the once-trendy potbellied pigs, which can grow as large as 200 pounds. Even so, the "pocket" or "teacup" name is a misnomer, as when these are full grown, they're generally about the size of a cocker spaniel. Some can be as small as 12 pounds, though most are in the 25- to 50-pound range.
According to a number of pig enthusiast websites, mini pigs are low maintenance, extraordinarily intelligent and require about the same amount of daily care as a dog. Their lifespan averages between 15 and 20 years.
Best of all, it only takes a matter of days before these little pigs can be house- or litter-trained. To this end, Pedro excelled. His mastery was such that even if he'd never nuzzled my neck with that great rubbery snout of his, I'd still have fallen for him based on how polite he was about bathroom matters.