Wanted: 1 home for puzzle-loving pet pig
Jigger can't go 'where he’s just outside as a farm animal, because that’s not what he’s used to'
He's furry, loves to cuddle, and will do tricks for treats.
There's just one catch — he's not a dog, he's a pig and he needs a new home.
Jigger is a miniature potbellied pig — albeit at 120 pounds, "miniature" is a relative term.
For the past year, he's been living with Heather Ballard, founder of Rescue NL, a group that rescues and rehomes animals.
"He's very cuddly and sooky, and he loves kisses," said Ballard.
"He likes to get on the couch and cuddle, he'll watch a movie with you.… He's kind of like Garfield; he likes to be tucked in at night with a blanket over him."
Looking for the 'perfect home'
Jigger's original owners had a change in their work schedule, and could no longer give Jigger the attention he needed.
Ballard has been trying to find him a new home ever since. There have been several applicants, but a pig isn't an appropriate pet for just anyone, she said.
"We won't let him go unless it's the perfect home," said Ballard.
"We wouldn't want him to go somewhere where he's just outside as a farm animal, because that's not what he's used to. He's a pet."
Ballard says Jigger's ideal home would have no dogs and no small children, and — most important — an owner with a lot of time.
"Pigs are very smart, so they're excellent pets if they're kept occupied," Ballard said.
"If you don't have time for a pig, you shouldn't get one because they're very smart and they need mental stimulation. So if you just keep them in your house, they're probably going to get destructive."
Ballard uses dog puzzles to keep Jigger busy, in addition to hiding toys and treats in her yard. She also lets him build a nest out of hay and blankets.
He feels like when you put your hand in rocks, he feels like his fur is full of rocks.- Cole Spry
And of course, Jigger eats like a pig — his daily diet includes two cups of pig pellets, a fruit salad in the morning and a veggie salad in the evening.
Ballard also takes him out for fresh air and sunshine. On a recent walk through Bannerman Park, kids raced from the playground for a chance to pet him.
"He feels like when you put your hand in rocks, he feels like his fur is full of rocks," said eight-year-old Cole Spry.
Big animal, gentle spirit
Josh MacDonald said his kids were better with Jigger than they often are with dogs.
"They really enjoyed the pig because he doesn't jump and doesn't try to scratch them or anything. He really makes no noise, so they really enjoyed having the pig around," he said.
Ballard said Rescue NL welcomes adoption inquiries for Jigger, but urges people to think seriously before taking in a pig, or any other exotic pet.
"It's a big commitment, and if anyone's thinking about it, they should realize it's not just for novelty," she said.