Backyard Wildlife FL - Two potbellied pigs living large in Coral Springs

Discussion in 'Other Pets and Wildlife' started by Michele, Oct 29, 2010.

  1. Michele
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    Michele Canine Chat Owner Staff Member

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    Lola and Katie sleep side-by-side in their Coral Springs home. They share their toys, and both play horns, keyboard and basketball. The girls love visiting the dog park and their favorite food is bananas, which they slurp down with the disgusting abandon of pigs.

    They eat like pigs because, well, they are pigs.
    These potbellied pigs live the high life in Dean Swade's upscale Coral Springs home. They are 140-pound house pets that turn heads every time Swade takes them for a stroll at the Tamarac dog park.

    Awesome!,'' cooed DeAnna Robinson, a passerby who stopped at the dog park to watch when she spotted the pigs. ``I wish my neighbors had pigs because their dogs bark all the time.''

    Then came the questions:
    Do they use a litter box? No, they are too big, said Swade, who never takes the pigs inside the enclosures where the dogs roam but instead walks them in the far east parking area.

    Do you live on a farm? No, in a house.
    Where do the pigs sleep? In the house.
    Do they eat the furniture? No, they are not chewers.
    What do they eat? Anything sweet, Swade said.

    "They are unique in their ways and they are very intelligent. They are so smart. I have had dogs all my life but the pigs have problem-solving capabilities,'' said Swade, 46, a retired New York City police officer. ``I get a kick out of it. A lot of people think I am crazy for having them.''

    Lola, who came to Swade as a baby, is pink, with green eyes. Katie, who was rescued, is black with golden-brown eyes. Both are spayed and house-trained. They eat twice a day, visit the Tamarac dog park daily around 5 p.m., then head home to bed.

    And for the record, pigs don't stink, pigs don't sweat and Swade's pigs prefer to sleep on a clean blanket inside his air-conditioned house instead of rolling in the mud.
    Feeding the girls is more time-consuming than costly, Swade said. Fifty pounds of pig chow costs $11 a bag, and he buys fruit from vegetable markets in bulk, getting donations of damaged produce along the way. Slicing and dicing it all takes lots of time.

    Lola and Katie love to munch on grapes, mangoes and apples, with bananas topping the list. They also savor oyster crackers and cheese. Forget broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms or cabbage.

    The Swades have a special refrigerator just for pig food.
    "They will eat the apples before the cucumbers. They will eat all the sweet stuff first,'' Swade said. ``At Halloween everyone brings the insides of their pumpkins to us. We will cut it up and freeze it.''

    The "we'' is Swade and his supportive wife, Janice, who has sworn off eating pork since she became ``mom'' to Lola and Katie four years ago. The couple also have an 11-year-old human daughter, Nicole.
    "I still like ham but it would be like eating a child,'' Janice said. "I really don't like bacon.''

    Nicole is ambivalent about the pigs. A baby gate keeps them out of her bedroom. Sometimes Katie swings her head and chases after the curly haired sixth-grader in a show of domination, Swade said. It's herd behavior, typical of pigs.

    "All Nicole has to do is stand up to her once. What pigs do is show dominance, they push each other,'' Swade said.
    The pair will do almost anything for food. That's how Swade very quickly trained them to play bicycle horns, basketball, ride a skateboard and push a toy lawn mower. They always want to eat.

    On this day, Swade sets a small basketball hoop in his backyard and places a ball on the grass. Lola picks it up in her mouth, drops it into the basket, and demands a ripe grape. Then she does it again and again, chasing Katie away because she wants all the treats for herself.

    The same thing happens when Swade brings out a PVC-frame rigged with six bicycle horns and a rubber pig head. To receive a grape, Lola must squeak each horn. She does it quickly and repeatedly.

    "I think she likes to show off,'' Swade said.
    Cute, smart and funny as they are, potbellied pigs are not for everyone, said Adam Goldfarb, director of the Pets At Risk program for the Humane Society of the United States.

    "Potbellied pigs are really emblematic of what happens to an animal when it becomes a popular or fad pet. We saw this in the '90s when there was the initial potbellied pig craze,'' Goldfarb said. ``A lot of people went to buy them because they are so cute when they are little but then they get big.''

    Many were dumped with pet rescues and at humane societies because the owners couldn't care for them.
    Since January, about a dozen unwanted potbellied pigs have ended up at the Wildlife Care Center in Fort Lauderdale, said Sherry Schlueter, executive director. Several of the pigs were left behind at homes that had gone into foreclosure, she said. "Some people just don't know what to do with them so they leave them behind,'' Schlueter said.

    Boca Raton veterinarian Kristy Lund, who has a special interest in potbellied pigs and has treated them for 20 years, said many owners don't realize how much time and attention they require. The pigs she treats typically range from 100 to 300 pounds, she said.

    "They require a lot more attention than a dog because they are extremely intelligent. If you are going to make them a house pet, you have to be on top of them. They are like a 2-year-old,'' Lund said.

    Any animal is a huge investment and proper care means more than providing food, shelter and vet care, Goldfarb said.
    "It's providing a life for the animal that meets their needs.''


    Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/10/28/1897350_p2/two-potbellied-pigs-living-large.html#ixzz13kMmJyBc
     
  2. Heather
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    Heather New Pup

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    Hello! We also live in Coral Springs and we are on the cusp of buying a mini pig, but found out today that the city does not allow any pigs in Coral Springs. Have you ever had a problem with the city? If so, is there a way to get around this? We are wanting to certify it as a therapy pet for our son (special needs). Any help or info is GREATLY appreciated....
     
  3. Michele
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    Michele Canine Chat Owner Staff Member

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    Welcome to the forum Heather!!

    I love mini pigs. They are adorable and extremely smart!! I would do some research on "therapy" pets for 'special needs' children and see what you can find out. See what you would have to do to get the little pig certified as a therapy pet for your son.
     
  4. Deputy Dog
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    Deputy Dog Canine Chat Owner Staff Member

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    Welcome, Heather!

    I'm going to stay out of this conversation because I like pigs in a much different way!

    :cc:
     

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