The most important piece of advice for anyone considering adopting a pig.
The most important piece of advice I can give anyone before they adopt a pig is: Don't. Don't get one. And I don't mean that you shouldn't add the joy of having pigs in your life. I just mean, don't adopt only one. Adopt two. This is the best advice anyone could give in regards to living with pigs. Sure, there may be a few exceptions where this advice doesn't work out perfectly. But, for the most part, many of the issues that go along with living with pigs can be alleviated if not eliminated by simply adopting a pair of piggy pals.
There are a lot of reasons why bringing home two pigs might be a great option. For one, pigs love to challenge authority and see how far they can push those around them. It will still be necessary to make sure you don't let your pigs think they are at the top of your home hierarchy. But, having another pig present means that when one pig gets bossy or pushy, there is always another pig nearby to give it back as good as it is being given. And pigs are very social animals. So, they will quickly learn that their aggression will not go unchecked. Of course, this doesn't mean you just get to standby and do nothing. But, it will help keep any bullying on the part of one pig from getting out of hand.
Another great reason to adopt two is because this will mean that your pig always has a friend. As much as I love cuddling with our pigs and spending time with them, and much of my day is spent with our pigs, the fact remains, pigs love constant company. Living with three pigs, our girls always have someone to cuddle with or hangout with. They are still always willing to welcome any of my human family into their snuggle-fests. And I only have to lay down near them to have the entire pig family immediately swarm around me fighting for the closest position. So, you don't have to worry that having more than one pig will mean that you become less popular or less loved. Pigs have plenty of affection to go around. On the other hand, bored pigs have plenty of frustration and angst to take out on furniture, walls, floors and cabinets. So, do yourself and your home the favor of making sure your pig always has a pal.
Also, pigs speak pig. After living with pigs, you'll start to understand some pig language. And your pig will understand some of your language. But, pigs will truly be able to speak with each other and this is important. I know the scientific community has been reluctant to refer to animals as having true languages. Yet, after living with a mother and her daughter pig and watching them communicate with each other face to face and even hearing them communicate across the house, it is quite obvious that pigs have a language that they use to say a great many things to each other. Now imagine you were taken to a foreign country where you could never fully speak the language of anyone around you? This would be extremely frustrating. I can't help but feel that pigs desire to be able to speak to someone that understands them fully from time to time. Having two pigs will provide your pig with the mental stimulation of being able to have piggy conversations. They may not discuss Immanuel Kant's 'Critique of Practical Reason'… but most humans aren't doing that either. Whatever they are saying, to them it is important enough to be said, and they will appreciate having someone that can understand what they mean.
And possibly the best reason to get two pigs… one is never enough. Pigs are awesome! I've never regretted having three pigs living with us in our home. They are my three best friends. They are family. Every day is better because they are around. When we had two, it was great. Now that we have three, it is even better. If you are a pig person, and feel that your life is destined to have a pig as part of your family, I highly recommend you start with two. And, I can't say it enough: Adopt, don't shop! So many pigs need homes because people think that buying a piglet will be fun and cute without thinking things through and really considering if they are ready for the 20 year commitment and responsibility of adding a pig family member. Plus, no mother pig wants to be separated from her babies. So, don't be the reason a baby is taken from his or her mother. Be the reason a pair of rescue pigs get to celebrate having a forever home!
Yorkie befriends piglet in this silent movie set to music
We previously released this video with the voices still in the background but wanted to release this version with the voices muted and only the music telling the story.
Yorkie Gone Wild:
Mini Pig Millie loves her dog sister. But this Yorkie just wants a little personal space. Things get heated and out of control as Emmie the Yorkie goes into attack mode. No animals were harmed in the making of this video (except for Millie's feelings... she wishes her little sister would love her).
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Look out dogs! Pigs may be man's best friend.
I so wish everyone could have the chance to experience just a little piece of my daily life with pigs. There is something so soothing about being around them. They have a calmness to them when they are cuddled up with you that puts your mind at ease that is like the most soothing meditation. The softness and rhythmic sound of them deeply breathing in and out can cure the worst insomnia. And, being a usually restless person, I'm always curious what it is about them that allows me to escape my troubles by simply wrapping my arms around one or more of them. I can sleep peacefully for hours thanks to them.
Then there are those eyes that so deeply piece into your soul. The similarity between a pig's eyes and a human's eyes is so complete that it is hard not to forget momentarily that you are looking at someone of another species. The wisdom and intelligence is clearly present in their stare. The curiosity they possess for all things is inspiring. They take nothing for granted and find joy in nearly all things. They live how all humans should live. They have a passion and zest for life that is only nearly matched in humans in our youthful days of wonder and excitement. But, with pigs, they carry this over throughout their life.
And the kindness and compassion for others is so palpably clear. The family bond between Pumpkin, Charlotte and Millie is as strong as any human family. And my human family is fortunate enough to be a part of their herd and loved by them in the same way. Our mother pig Pumpkin's love for her children is clear anytime her babies are unhappy. In these moments she always comes to their aid. While she is restrained in her actions, she will let you know that she wants whatever is happening to stop. An example of this is when we were at the vet's office recently and Charlotte was unhappy about getting her shots. Pumpkin saw that I was holding Charlotte for her shots and walked over to me, let out her unhappy whine and then put her mouth around my leg gently (without the least bit of pressure) to say "Don't let my baby get hurt." And, yet when I respond to her in a soothing voice telling her that it is okay she seemed to understand and watched closely to make sure that her baby was okay. But, it isn't just for her pig family that she does this. If Pumpkin feels that one of her human family is in danger, she reacts in much the same way. And there is something magical about the way they snuggled up close to you on the couch or the bed and then put their snout near your nose and stare into your eyes. You can feel that they are filled with love. Without experience this, I imagine it is hard for people to understand why I consider our pigs as much my family as my human family.
When people say that dogs are man's best friend, I think this is in part because we've never fully given pigs a chance to compete for this position. But it is also because pigs truly do view us as equals in our relationship with them. They won't worship us like gods as dog do. They will give us a chance to be their best friend. But we have to earn that. And something about that makes them all the more special.
I wanted to capture the sweetness and happiness of Mille when she's snuggled under blankets but sleepily keeping watch over things to make sure she isn't missing anything. Click on the image below to purchase this painting.
If Synchronized Sleeping Was a Sport...
My life seems like a fairy-tale sometimes. I woke up to a sticky note on my phone saying, "You're Welcome" and this photo was the first thing that came up. It was one of many photos and videos that my wife took while I was sleeping. Apparently, my wife thought this was a moment I'd want to preserve.
My kids helped make this video version -we had fun laughing at the melodramatic music choices.
Emmie the Yorkie was having trouble with her neighbors the three little pigs. But, her problem of having to defend her food was solved by moving into a gated canine community. Watch this humorous video about our latest addition to our condo farm.
In a pig's eyes, there is always someone looking back at you.
We know that pigs are consistently ranked in the top 5 most intelligent animals. Genetically, they are extremely similar to humans. We share so much in common with pigs and have so few significant differences. Yet, our treatment of pigs would suggest that they are so drastically different that they have no wants, needs or rights that humans are required to respect. This must change. We must live our values. We know they deserve better!
Pigs snuggled on the couch
When people ask me if living with pigs is a lot like living with dogs, there isn't an easy answer to this. There are definitely some differences between dogs and pigs that may be worth noting. But, the reality is, in the ways most people think of dogs as being wonderful companion animals in a home, pigs are a lot like dogs. They love to spend time with their human companion animals. Cuddling on the couch is an art they have mastered. And the love they give you makes your world a better place daily.