Tattoo the pig steals the show at Pets in the Park

Willis Larson and Geraldine Crosston have five dogs, two pigs, seven sheep, two goats, yaks, donkeys, and a miniature horse — but they only brought Tattoo the pig and Star the Pomeranian to Pets in the Park on Sunday.

Annual gathering of animal enthusiasts sees record-breaking attendance, say organizers

Willis Larson and Geraldine Crosston live just outside Spiritwood, Sask., but came in to Saskatoon to check out Pets in the Park on Sunday. (Ashleigh Mattern/CBC)

Willis Larson and Geraldine Crosston have five dogs, two pigs, seven sheep, two goats, yaks, donkeys, and a miniature horse — but they only brought Tattoo the pig and Star the Pomeranian to Pets in the Park on Sunday. 

The animal lovers had come to Saskatoon from Spiritwood, Sask., to hang out at Pets in the Park, an annual festival and fundraiser that supports the care of sick, injured, orphaned, and homeless animals in Saskatoon. 

Larson said they were looking forward to admiring the dogs but hadn't had much time to do so.

"We're attracting too much attention," Larson said with a laugh.

Willis Larson and Geraldine Crosston's pet pig Tattoo has a bit of dirt on his nose because he was rooting in the grass. (Ashleigh Mattern/CBC)

Tattoo the pig was stealing the show. Tattoo didn't back away from people when they gave her a tentative pat and she seemed unconcerned with the dogs as they warily approached for a curious sniff. 

"You can almost see the puzzled look on the dogs' faces when they try to figure out what she is," Larson said.

Crosston said keeping a pig as a pet is easier than keeping a dog.  "They're easier to house-break and … they don't bark; they're much quieter."

Margaret Hamm (left) and Laureen Lambert were looking for a new home for these chiweenies, a cross between a dachshund and a Chihuahua. (Ashleigh Mattern/CBC)

It's hard to beat a pig in a pet popularity contest but two eight-week-old chiweenies were also attracting admirers. 

Laureen Lambert was looking to find a new home for the unnamed puppies that are a mix between a Chihuahua and a dachshund.

Lambert's sister Margaret Hamm said she comes to Pets in the Park every year.

"I like looking at all the dogs and seeing the different breeds … I'm more interested in meeting the dogs than the people because I'm a big dog person."

This was the first time Janna Wong had brought her 16-year-old tabby to Pets in the Park so it was a bit of a test to see if the cat would tolerate the dogs. (Ashleigh Mattern/CBC)

The majority of pets at the event were dogs, though there were a few brave cat-owners in the crowd, like Janna Wong, who brought her 16-year-old cat. 

The domestic long-haired orange tabby calmly ignored the dogs as she sniffed around wearing a sparkly pink harness with leash. 

"This is our first time," Wong said. "So far all the dogs that she's met she's been really good around."

Guto Penteado's Newfoundland was one of the largest at Pets in the Park on Sunday, weighing in at about 200 pounds. (Ashleigh Mattern/CBC)

If you happened upon Guto Penteado and his dog, you couldn't help but notice the giant black Newfoundland dog, weighing in at about 200 pounds.

"He's very friendly with kids and other dogs. He doesn't know about his size yet … he thinks he's a lap dog."

For him, Pets in the Park is about both the animals and the people. Pentaedo came down with his sister and her dog, as well as some friends. 

Board member Tricia McAuley said that while they didn't have final numbers yet, they estimate a record-breaking 15,000 people came to the park during the day.

About the Author

Ashleigh Mattern is a web writer and reporter with CBC Saskatoon, CBC Saskatchewan, and CBC North; and an associate producer with Saskatoon Morning. She has been working as a journalist since 2007 and joined CBC in 2017. Email:


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