Celine Mason turns heads when she takes her pet for a walk.
That’s because her pet — or at least one of her pets — is a Juliana micro pig.
“Miss Piggy,” as she is affectionately known, lives in Stellarton with Mason and her family and is, for all intents and purposes, just like any other four-legged member of the family. She shares Mason’s family, the house and all the family’s love with Kora the hedgehog and, up until several days ago, Pepper the cat who, sadly, just passed away.
But there are few exceptions: Miss Piggy enjoys long walks, a bubble bath and rubdown with coconut oil, and the occasional ice cream cone from Corina’s — the other house pets can’t claim those perks.
Why a pet pig? Mason laughs and shrugs: “I am a huge animal lover and she caught my eye one day and I knew I wanted her.”
Mason, a senior at North Nova Education Centre, was on her lunch break one day and was scrolling through Kijiji when she came across the posting for the little pig that was in Ontario. “I messaged the lady and asked if she would hold her for me until I could find a way to get her down here. She said yes.”
So Miss Piggy came to live with the family, courtesy of a friend’s father who is a truck driver. Miss Piggy made the journey home across several provinces with him, dining on bananas and other fruits and veggies.
When Miss Piggy first came home, she was a bit of a surprise for Mason’s father. “My dad was working overseas; I knew he’d probably say no, so I didn’t ask (his permission) — as bad as that is — but I got her down here.” She laughs at the memory, “At first he was mad, but not even 20 minutes after we got her he was sitting with her feeding her ice cream sandwiches.”
Mason got Miss Piggy when the animal was about four months old. She’s now about 10 months old and Mason could not imagine life without her.
The teen is very patient, kind and knowledgeable about her pets. She has studied how to care for Miss Piggy’s runny eyes, her coarse hair and her sensitive skin. She also gave insulin shots to her elderly cat, Pepper. At the time of this interview, Pepper sat staring out the living room window. “He’s 11. He’s been my boy since I was little. He’s diabetic so I give him needles twice a day. But I love him; I can’t let him go yet,” Mason said at the time, days before Pepper’s passing.
Learning how to care for her newest pet wasn’t hard. Mason did extensive internet research in addition to other methods. “I did my best to read and watch videos and tried to learn everything I could to be prepared because before her I’d never even touched a pig. I was almost a little nervous to touch her at first.”
Like most other pets, Miss Piggy is teachable; she has been taught how to sit, which is no small feat considering her hoofs slide on the wood flooring at Mason’s house. Miss Piggy will lie on the floor on a blanket and calmly watch TV, just like a pet dog would do, but when she’s hungry … there’s no peace. She demands attention — and food — at equal intervals until she gets what she wants.
She has a pen outdoors and free reign over a 12 x 12 heated baby barn that comes complete with wood shavings.
Stairs are no problem for the four-legged beauty and Miss Piggy loves to get up on the couch.
“They say pigs are a lot like humans. She can have a lot of emotion and she can get angry and cranky. Some days she’ll be in a great mood and other days she’s cranky.”
Mason laughs, “If you get cross at her or even scowl at her, she’ll turn her back on you and peek over her shoulder at you and stare you down. She sulks if she’s heartbroken.”
With a nonchalant shrug of the shoulders Mason says, “She always makes a mess that I have to clean. I am used to cleaning the floors every day.” Rubbing the adorable pig on the top of her head Mason sighs, “But she’s worth it.”
The bond Mason shares with her pet pig is obvious. Miss Piggy is like Mason’s shadow when the two of them are together. This made it emotionally difficult when the family recently decided to foster the pig for a time. Mason searched online for appropriate accommodations and she found someone in Cape Breton who claimed he was a vet technician and agreed to foster the pig until Mason finished school. All was good until the day Mason called to check on Miss Piggy but she says instead of hearing that Miss Piggy was well, she was given the runaround. The foster home claimed the pig had died, then said the pig was sold. Mason said she knew in her heart that Miss Piggy was still alive so, after many phone calls to Cape Breton and a police investigation, Miss Piggy was located in a wildlife park, battered and bruised but still alive. And she was very grateful to be re-united with Mason and her family.
People all seem to love the adorable little swine. No one more than Mason herself. She can’t imagine her life without her pets. When she graduates next month she plans to take a veterinary assistant course that she can complete half online and half hands-on at a veterinary clinic. That means she won’t be just picking up and leaving Miss Piggy home alone. And she’ll get to do what she loves most: look after animals.
Celine Mason feeds her four-legged pet Juliana micro pig, Miss Piggy, a carrot. (Jardine photo)
INSET: Miss Piggy enjoys a bubble bath.