Pumba, aka “Little P”

We don’t usually feature a Tail of the Month from our own pets, but so many people have been asking about our latest little guy that we thought he should enjoy the spotlight!

Little P, or Pumba, is a micro-pig, specifically a Juliani (that’s the breed of pig). With luck, he shouldn’t grow to be any bigger than 25 lbs. or about the size of a Cocker Spaniel.

He and his brother hail from Texas. His brother currently lives with friends of ours in Yarmouth. How lucky that the two of them flew together as little piglets! When our schedules permit, we will try to get them together for a piggie play date.

Pumba’s birthday is May 12. Unlike dogs, we were able to welcome him into our family at the tender age of 3 weeks. Don’t worry, pigs mature must faster than dogs. In fact, he was neutered at 2 weeks because they reach sexual maturity much younger!

Little P is definitely an interesting addition to our family! Hoot, our kitty, loves to dive bomb him and sometimes they will chase each other. Pecan will actually play with him, but doesn’t appreciate it at all when Little P starts to root at his back (more on rooting later). Scout, although she is no longer with us, tolerated Pumba quite well, reminding him not to approach her food and actually letting him share her crate at times.

Little P is definitely more of a cat in terms of affection. It is completely on his terms. He doesn’t like to be picked up unless he trusts you, and even then will sometimes fuss quite loudly. He does enjoy snuggling and rooting in an arm, so we often hold him like a football with his nose tucked against our arm. Here at work it’s almost a competition to see who can befriend Pumba, since he can be a bit challenging and fickle.

He also seems a bit more cat-like with his training. While pigs are notoriously smart, he is astonishingly stubborn. He learned how to sit very quickly, with the help of Cheerios, his favorite treat. Other tricks though are like pulling elephant teeth. It took us quite awhile to get him into a harness and then even longer on a leash – it was like catching a marlin! He’d fling himself around, squealing so loudly I thought our eardrums would burst! I constantly battle him with food, trying to make him wait patiently before he attacks the bowl, but I might have to throw in the towel on that one. Kirsten says that he is overly motivated by food! He comes when called, particularly when you say, “Cheerios!” and then you hear the little tap tap of his hooves coming through the house. His house training is challenging. Pigs like to go in the same spot and can be litter box trained or trained to go outside. Let’s just say he has better days than others!

Honestly, I never thought we’d have a pig. Some friends have suggested his name should really be “Leverage,” since I can probably ask for almost anything at this point and just say “Pig” to get my point across! However, he grows on me more every day. At night he loves to crawl in to a lap and snuggle while you read or watch TV. (But he doesn’t like the new reality show about catching wild boars – too scary!). While he eventually moves into his crate, he will find his way into Colby’s room and will sleep with him until we make the night rounds. One of his funniest traits is when he falls over on his side to have his belly scratched. And he really is comical tearing around the yard. It’s as if some little jolt of energy bursts through him and he takes off.

Little P is expected to live 15-20 years. The kids will be in college by then, and Kirsten and I will probably still be trying to leash train him.