When you think of traveling the world with a companion animal, the first animal that probably comes to mind is a dog. Maybe a cat (it’s possible!). For animal lovers, having our adored pets with us as we hit the open road to check out new sights, adventures, and food is standard. But what about traveling the world with a pig? Yep, a pig. Meet Christopher, the adorable pig who has been jet-setting to new places.
Pigs are incredibly intelligent and emotional beings. Studies have shown that pigs possess the ability to empathize with one another, they can perform tricks just like a dog, and they even come running when they hear their name. And little rescued Christopher is on a mission to show everyone he meets just how incredible he and his friends truly are.
With 17,000 Instagram followers, he has been dubbed the “Ultimate Traveling Pig” and hails from Montreal, Quebec.
Christopher is fluent in both French and English, proudly showing off his adorable self wherever he goes!
The “Micro Pig” Myth
Christopher is certainly adorable but there is no such thing as a “micro pig.” The popular trend of “micro pigs” has been around for more than 20 years (also known as mini pigs or teacup pigs) in particular has many people adopting adorable little piglets expecting them to stay tiny.
Breeders often pair together two very young piglets, meaning that when the litter is born, they are able to show prospective buyers the parents, saying that they are fully grown adults, even though they know that they are in fact little more than babies themselves.
Once fully grown, the true size of a teacup pig can be as much as 300 pounds, which is still considerably smaller than other pig breeds which can reach more than 1,000 pounds, it’s far from the myth o12-pound pound teacup pig which breeders are claiming. When people buy “miniature pigs” and take them home, it becomes clear after just three or four months that the pigs are beginning to outgrow their advertised size, and as their growth continues, they can become quite a handful to look after.
Pigs require a large amount of space to roam, snuffle, dig, and root around in, and while your house or garden may be a great environment for them when they are very young, the vast majority of homes are simply not suitable for a fully grown pot belly pig.
When the living conditions are less than ideal for the pig, they can become bored, frustrated, and very destructive. Many people have also been told that it is not essential to have a garden as these miniature pigs can be litter trained. While it’s true that pigs are extremely intelligent and can learn to use a litter box, a “house pig” who is never able to go outside is being deprived of the ability to carry out its natural behaviors and can become very unhappy.
Christopher hopes to show people not only how adorable pigs truly are, but the reality behind the “micro-pig” myth.
Looking good, Christopher!
Rescue, Don’t Buy From a Breeder
Scientists have determined that not only are pigs smart, they are smarter than dogs, some primates, and three-year old children. They are ranked as the fourth most intelligent creature on earth. Their level of cognitive ability allows pigs to play joystick-controlled video games, have abstract thought, use tools, recognize their own names, dream and follow commands. Even still, pigs are thoughtlessly bred to become pets.
Due to the desire for a “pocket-sized” pig, many pot-bellied pigs are being marketed as teacup pigs and sold each year. Sadly, this means, thousands are then being abandoned, neglected, handed in to shelters, and put down. Many shelters are unable to cope with the number of abandoned pigs, and this is causing serious problems.
This is why it’s so important to spread the truth about the issue and to inform anyone who is considering buying a teacup pig to re-consider. It’s not fair to the pigs, and it can also cause a large amount of stress and worry for the owners who fall in love with their mini companions and then end up being caught in a difficult position when it becomes clear that they’re not equipped to look after them when they start growing up.
If you are a responsible carer and you have a home suitable to look after a pot-bellied pig, then please don’t buy from a breeder, rescue an abandoned pig, just like Christopher, from one of the many shelters around the country instead. Who knows, maybe you’ll go on your own worldly adventures together!
Image Source: Christopher the Pig/Facebook