emmett, the neighborhood pig giant pet pig

kissing the pig

Thanks to all on sharing your personal stories on the neighborhood pig! We finally established contact with the owners, Jason and Kelli, and were able to see it with our own eyes.

Kelli answered some questions for us:

1. So, what is PIG's name? PIG's actual name is Emmett. We did not give him that name until we had decided to keep him which was after he had lived with us for about three months. In an effort to not form any real attachment, we had been calling him by Pig or Little Pig. In the end, he answers to anything with Pig in it, thus PIG, a fast bastardization of Little Pig, Piggers, and so on.

2. How long have you had him? How did you come to own a pig? Pig has had us for nine years now, being 4-5 months old when we acquired him, makes him approx. 9 1/2 years of age. I found him in the gutter of a four-lane busy street in the center of the city on a November evening, city being Louisville, KY. After stopping and discovering what I was seeing was in fact a tiny little black pig, the only thing to do was take him home. We tried to find a home or a rescue for him, already having two large dogs and not being in the market for a pig at the moment, but the rescues were full or flat out nasty to us and he was returned to us by the family who thought they wanted him. At that point Jason decided he was going to commit to taking on Pig as his own.

3. Did you know how big he would get? We had no idea how big he would be, only that because of his tail and his ears, according to our vet, he definitely is a miniature pot-bellied pig. He is not really a big boy. He is 19 inches tall and 36 inches long, exactly. So he is about the size of a large lab, with a pot-belly and chubby cheeks of course, that has super short legs.

4. Do you take Emmett to the vet? Does he have any special health needs? Yes, PIG goes to the vet. He is seen by Dr. Lischin at Hope, here in Brooklyn in conjunction with Dr. Gagnon in Louisville. He goes to Louisville to have his tusks cut once or twice a year. Reason being, we not only adore Dr. Gagnon, but the procedure in Louisville is 1/5 the cost of what it is in New York. Both of his vets normally do not see pigs, so we are more than grateful that they are dedicated enough to help him and us, so, if there is any major problem we take him to Cornell Animal Hospital in Ithaca where there are pig specialists.

5. How long do you expect him to live? We are by no means pig experts, but what we have read is 15-20 years.

6. Does he know his name? Does he come when called? Absolutely, he responds to a wide variety of words. And yes, he comes when called unless he is perturbed then he purposely turns his back to us refusing to acknowledge we are speaking to him.

7. Does he play with toys or do tricks? He used to play with toys, but now he mainly likes to nose my shoes around the apartment. Pig games are a little different than dog games. He is very fond of pushing around a plastic 2-liter bottle with small holes in it to release kibble, but it has to have larger more noisy objects in there as well.

8. Is he affectionate? Does he crave being petted and cuddled? PIG is extremely affectionate. He loves to snuggle and spoon, as well as being petted. Being petted by people on the street is one of his favorite things.

9. Does he ever go off-leash in Ft. Greene Park? No. He does occasionally go to the Farmers' Market on Saturdays for apples and then spend a little time at the park, but not off leash. This is not because he would go anywhere or do anything bad or destructive, it is because I am protective of him. I stay pretty close. Also, they sometimes spray the grass in the park and it is really hard to keep PIG from eating it.

10. What does he eat, and how much? His diet consists of a miniature pig kibble, 1 1/4 cup in the evening, and a mango or apple in the morning. On the corner of Dekalb is a place where they sell coconuts, sugarcane, and mangos. They are very kind to PIG and give him the mangos when they are not quite pretty enough to sell. He is pretty spoiled.

11. Are there special pig harnasses, or do you use a dog harnass? I do not know if there are harnesses just for pigs. Dog harnesses have always worked fine for us, although not all of them fit properly.

12. How much exercise does he need? Can he navigate stairs easily? He is supposed to walk around the block at least once a day. He prefers to lie on the sidewalk, sunbathe, and be with his favorite neighbors. We do take him out twice a day to go to the bathroom but he stays out usually for about an hour or so socializing.

13. How do your neighbors feel about Piggers? Everyone seems to really like him. He is kind of a showboat and wants to greet everyone who passes. So often we here, "He has really made my day." or "Now I have seen eveything." I could count on one hand the number of negative reactions and they are always fear of the unfamiliar.

14. How long have you lived in the neighborhood? What brought you here? We first moved to Fort Greene in 1999. Then spent sometime in Seattle while I was in Grad school, but returned to Brooklyn in 2002. Originally, we moved here because of a job I acquired.

15. What's your favorite place to eat here? And does Piggers sit outside if you eat at an outside table? Jason is partial to the garden at Castro's. Red Bamboo, on Dekalb, is also a nice atmosphere. I have been a vegetarian since I was 19, and Jason became one after ordering a pepperoni pizza one night shortly after finding PIG, and felt unable to reconcile consuming pork while living with a pig. Pig likes to hang out in front of Tillie's, on Dekalb, while we have coffee. We rarely take him to restaurants, but when I have he justs sits by my feet.

16. What do you both do for a living? What do you do with PIG when you go out of town? Jason is a musician and I am finishing my Masters in architecture. When we go out of town we almost always take him with us. If he is unable to go we take him to a friend's kennel, which he loves because of all the barking. Growing up with dogs and having never been around another pig since we have had him, PIG thinks he is just like them.

17. Does PIG like being out in the rain and snow? No! To our chagrin, he despises the rain. Snow is a little different, very fun to eat but cold on the trotters.

18. Does PIG like car rides? Pig does ride in the car alot. Spends his time with his head between the seats or sound asleep, and usually seems to like it.

Stuff we learned when we met PIG in "person:"

  • He is always "talking," creating a variety of grunts and squeaks
  • Pig poop is like giant rabbit poop
  • His "fur" is very bristly and stiff
  • He is superstrong!

Thanks lots to Kelli and Jason for letting us meet their unique pet!