By Emily Acorn
Feb. 3, 2017
Charlotte Forsythe prepares a bath for Penny.
As the water runs she smears organic peanut butter on the side of the tub.
Penny playfully hops in splashing around.
“Penelope stop!” said Charlotte.
She calls her Penelope when she’s in trouble.
“Oink, oink,” Penny replies as she slops up the peanut butter.
Penny is a two-year-old Julianna Potbelly mini pig mix. She was adopted from Toronto by the 26-year-old last year.
Before Penny’s arrival, Forsythe researched everything she needed to know about raising mini pigs.
“I spoke with the American Mini Pig Association, they taught me a lot.”
When Penny arrived Forsythe couldn’t believe she weighed just 16 pounds. Her research said she should weigh a minimum 60.
Forsythe furthered her research and found out many breeders lie about the size of the pig, making the sale easier.
They are often put on a starvation diet to keep them as small as possible, says Forsythe. Too many people impulse buy pigs without the research, then end up selling them for meat because they don’t know how to take care of it, Foresythe said.
“It’s everyone’s dream to own a tiny pig, so the breeders make a fortune from the smallest ones.”
Forsythe is a dog trainer at Fionavar Kennels in Charlottetown, so she knows how important proper training is. Dog owners all over P.E.I. ask Forsythe for advice on training and caring, but lately she is helping more and more mini pig owners.
“Something I tell people right off the bat is that it’s nothing like training a dog.”
Emma MacMillan and Dan Gallant contacted Forsythe when they got their potbelly mini pig, Blue.
“She was so much help, she’s better than the Internet,” said MacMillan.
Training Blue was a lot more work than they thought, said Gallant. They have to keep an eye on him because he is always trying to get into the garbage and food.
“It’s exactly like having a toddler, a really mischievous toddler.”
More and more people are domesticating pigs but Lucy Morrow grew up on a pig farm and always knew the difference between the barn animals and pets.
“We never had a pig as a pet growing up.”
The 20-year-old chef thinks, like most things, it takes the right person and the right type of pig. There will always be bad pet owners and animals who aren’t cut out to be pets.
“I’m more familiar with the cannibalistic, asshole nature of pigs meant for eating.”