While awareness on pigs making great pets seems to be on the rise, stigmas attached around these animals like, “they’re stinky,” or “they like to live in filth,” refuse to subside. However, this doesn’t seem to deter good Samaritans like Dinesh Baba and Janaki Lenin, who made way for a pig in their already zoo-like houses.
Baba, the founder of Cloud No 9 Kennel and Nursing Care says, “We received a panic call during Cyclone Vardah from a person who’d spotted a pig crushed by a tree; she was survived by only one of her piglets. I had always wanted to rescue and adopt donkeys and pigs so without hesitating, I asked them to bring it over.” That’s how Babe oinked her way into his heart and home.
In Janaki’s case, she found the pig of her dreams on a farm in Masinagudi. “One of our friends owns a resort there and I came across a paddock where he was breeding Yorkshire pigs. He narrated how a few months earlier, a wild boar had jumped over the fence of the paddock and mated with one of the residents, resulting in hybrid piglets being born,” she narrates. Given that she’d always wanted to live on a farm surrounded by animals, Janaki didn’t think twice before asking if she could take one of them. “Luppy (the pig’s nickname) was much hairier than Yorkshire piglets, had brown stripes on her body and a tail that didn’t curve,” she recalls.
In both their cases, they’ve had a fantastic experience raising the pigs so far, and say they’re as intelligent as dogs. “We ended up getting another pig from Bengaluru, who we named Puckout and both of them got along well. We trained them just like dogs — they know how to sit, stand and even roll over,” says Janaki, while Dinesh says that pigs are naturally ‘people’ animals.
“During the first few weeks after we got Babe, she literally nursed by one of our rescue dogs, Whiskers, and she’s been very friendly with all the other animals and humans around her.”
Pigs are also great ‘waste managers’ according to Janaki, since they eat everything except onion and garlic peels. “They produce excellent manure that we use in our garden so it would make sense for all apartments to adopt a pig,” she says. This goes to prove that these animals are not fussy eaters, but their diet does need to be monitored, recommends Dinesh. “We feed Babe, rice, vegetables and soya but give her some supplements so she stays healthy.”
It’s better that pigs are brought up in open spaces. “They love playing in the soil and water because it helps their bodies stay cool. Moreover, they attend nature’s call on their own after a meal unlike dogs that need to be taken out. So if there’s open space or a big farm, it helps in situations like these,” says Dinesh. He doesn’t mind if Babe rolls around in mud, for she loves having a bath and eventually goes to bed squeaky clean.