You would never call the Egan’s home on Galetta Side Road a pigsty, but there is indeed a pig who calls it home.
Daisy May, the pot-bellied pig, resides in the Egan’s kitchen and has done so since being adopted last October.
On one particular snowy day, Daisy greeted this reporter in a Santa suit that her owner Diane Egan had given as a Christmas gift. Daisy’s pedicured red toes matched the suit.
With apple slices as motivation, Daisy came when called, sat and even did a spin. Egan said the next step is to learn to take a bow.
The pig became part of the family after daughter Hayley’s pleas for a pig were finally answered on her birthday.
Daisy was in heat when they got her, and as Egan put it, “A pig in heat is a crazy pig.” After getting her spayed, Daisy calmed down significantly.
A micro-mini pig like Daisy isn’t supposed to get bigger than 30 pounds.
“But buyer beware,” Egan said. “She’s up to about 60, 65 pounds now. My husband keeps saying if she gains two more pounds, she’s going in the frying pan.”
A joke, because this pig is as much a house pet as their two dogs. The Egan’s smaller dog, Ruby, curls up next to Daisy in front of the corn stove in the kitchen.
But as much as the Egan’s love their unconventional pet, a pig is not for everyone.
“You have to have a lot of patience,” Egan said. “She gets into a lot of trouble.”
That trouble includes late night fridge raids resulting in broken milk bags, missing apples and plenty of knocked over jars. After that happened a few times, the Egan’s put a lock on their fridge to keep her out.
On garbage day, Daisy has to be kept indoors so she won’t eat the Egan’s and their neighbour’s garbage – something they found out the hard way.
“She spreads the garbage all the way down Galetta Side Road,” Egan said.
Another problem that becomes more prominent in the winter is Daisy’s hatred of the cold. One night when the stove went out, Daisy tore apart a dog bed and hoisted in onto her back like a turtle shell for warmth.
When she got stuck out on the porch this fall, Daisy burrowed down under the linoleum to harness some heat.
In the spring, she digs up flowers in the garden.
“You have to have a sense of humour, because they wreck a lot of things,” Egan said.
But one problem they don’t have with Daisy is her smell. Contrary to stereotype, Daisy smells as fresh as her name.
There is a lot to love about a pot-bellied pet. Egan said Daisy is sensitive and smarter than her dogs.
Last year, Egan’s daughter took Daisy to an Arnprior Redmen football game dressed in a little jersey; a live version of a pig skin. Everyone got a kick out of that, Egan said.
Having a strange pet is nothing new for Egan. As a child living in Ottawa, her parents gave her a pony that lived in their garage.
“I was the hit of the neighbourhood,” she said. “We had a toboggan that we strapped to him in the winter and all the kids would get on and we’d bomb around.”
Similar to that pony, Daisy eats apples and a special mini pig food that Egan buys at a co-op. But she’ll eat just about anything, Egan said.
For others out there who may be considering a pig as a pet, Egan offers some advice.
“It’s a big commitment,” she said. “They live to be about 14 years old. And if you’re fussy about your yard… Well, you have to be able to go with the flow.”
Egan has no plans to move Daisy out into the barn, because the kitchen is all she has known since moving in.
So, for the foreseeable future, Daisy will be camped out in front of the corn stove, keeping warm and festive in her Santa suit.