Update on Oscar

I have wanted to provide an update on Oscar for a long time but have struggled to find the right words to say. I started this blog right after we brought Oscar home because I was having trouble finding information about day-to-day life with a mini pig. Although I had done my research on mini pigs, I had no idea what to expect when we brought him home. I loved writing this blog and sharing about Oscar because he meant the world to me and also because it helped connect me to other “pig people”, many who were amazing resources to me as a new pig parent.

Although I knew I wanted a mini pig and was excited about bringing Oscar home, what I didn’t expect was how hard it would be at times and, at the same, how much I could love a pig. Oscar became my world. He is funny, charming, incredibly aware, sweet, cuddly, and so much more than I ever expected. I hope that my love for Oscar came through in his blog, and I also hope that it still shows as I write this update.

One of my goals with the blog was to be completely honest about life with Oscar. I didn’t want it to be a “highlight reel” of only the best moments. I wanted to be open about the tough days too. My reasoning was that, while pigs are amazing animals, I wanted people to know what they were getting into when deciding whether or not to bring a mini pig home. It doesn’t help potential owners or pigs if I only share the good and leave out important information about the struggles and harder days of owning Oscar.

In remaining true to the reason I started this blog, I want to update on why I stopped writing and where Oscar is now. It has taken me so long because I needed some time to decide where I stood on mini pig ownership and the message I wanted to send.

One of the biggest struggles we had while owning Oscar was his relationship with our dog, Rylee. Although they started out having a decent relationship, that changed over time and as Oscar outgrew Rylee. I wrote several posts on their relationship and our challenges with it, which you can read in this previous post. Their relationship grew more and more tense, with Oscar challenging Rylee any time they crossed paths in the house. Since Oscar was eventually so much bigger than Rylee, it became a real issue we had to deal with. Oscar would charge at and corner her while trying to bite, and Rylee was small and old enough that she would occasionally fight back but couldn’t sufficiently stand her ground. Eventually, she started spending almost all day under our bed because it was the only place where Oscar couldn’t get to her. When she did come out, she would sneak around the house trying to avoid him. Ultimately, we decided the risk to her safety was too high and her quality of life was quickly decreasing, and we had to make a decision. This was a horrible decision and took several months for me to finally make. I loved Oscar to death, but Rylee was already 11 years old and I had made a commitment to her that I felt I needed to keep.

We looked for a long time for the right place for Oscar which was an excruciating process. I only wanted him to go somewhere he would be happy. After talking with several families and nothing being the right fit, I contacted Hog Haven Farm in Colorado to see if they would be the right place for him and to see if they had space. Erin at Hog Haven was so helpful and answered all of my questions, and we decided that was the right place for him.

Oscar taking over the guest bed at Hog Haven Farm.

The day we packed Oscar up to take him to Hog Haven was one of the worst days of my life. I absolutely did not want to give him up. I loved him so much, and he just made my days brighter. Cuddling with Oscar was hands down the best part of every day. I had full intentions of keeping him forever, so I was devastated and heartbroken and extremely embarrassed to be taking him to a new home. I knew he would be loved at Hog Haven Farm, but I wasn’t sure if he would adjust well or if he would get along with other pigs or if he would even be okay without us.

We arrived at Hog Haven to a warm welcome from Erin. She was helpful and compassionate as I stood there bawling and trying to figure out how I was going to be able to say goodbye and walk away from Oscar. Oscar wandered around a bit with one of the other pigs, Morty, and seemed to be doing okay for being in such a new situation. We got in the car to come home, and I felt so empty. I felt like I was doing what I had to do for Rylee, but that pig had come into my life and had changed it. Yes, we had hard days and struggled, but I also had no idea how much I would come to love and adore him.

That was back in January, so how is Oscar now? He is doing amazingly well. Actually, within a day of us dropping him off at Hog Haven, he found a “girlfriend.” Her name is Annabelle, and she was also new to Hog Haven. They quickly bonded, and Erin and her husband, Andrew, have actually decided to keep both Oscar and Annabelle as their own instead of adopting them out. As Oscar does, he wiggled his way into Erin’s heart as well. He is a therapy pig and goes to nursing homes with Erin and performs his tricks for everyone. He has made other pig friends, loves the mud, and is living like a king there at Hog Haven Farm. So, although the decision was so hard, I am at least content that he is happy and we made the right decision for him. He was also a star on the Denver news when Erin took Oscar and Annabelle to show them off for National Pig Day and, more importantly, to educate people about mini pigs. Here is the link to see Oscar on the news.

Oscar with his adorable “girlfriend”, Annabelle

In fact, I truly think Oscar is happier at Hog Haven than he ever was with us. This was hard for me to accept for a while, despite how happy I was that he loved being at Hog Haven. I felt like we did everything we could for him, including giving him tons of time, attention, and training. However, one thing I’ve struggled with is seeing how happy he is with his pig friends and especially with his girlfriend, Annabelle. Pigs don’t always get along and that’s one of the reasons we never got a second pig as a friend for him, but he has really thrived around the other pigs there.

Oscar hanging out with Annabelle

I am incredibly grateful for Hog Haven Farm and for the work Erin and Andrew are doing. As I’ve had a chance to get to know Erin more, she is such a kind, compassionate person. She truly is just one of the “good people” in this world, and I am forever grateful to her for being able to give Oscar such a good home. He is happy, and that’s all we wanted for him. If you are looking for more updates on Oscar, I encourage you to look up/like/friend Hog Haven Farm on Facebook and Instagram. Erin shares pictures of Oscar every once in a while and, if you followed his blog, I know you will enjoy seeing pictures of him happy in his new home. Also, his teeth are still ridiculously adorable.

I’ve also learned a lot from Erin throughout this process. We are not alone in our struggle with pigs and dogs. People talk a lot about how pigs are often rehomed or given up due to size, but dogs are the second biggest reason for surrender. Some pigs and dogs do fine together and some don’t. However, as two different species, they really don’t coexist well. Although Oscar was bigger than Rylee and was causing a risk to her safety, it is more commonly pigs who are harmed by dogs. Pigs are prey animals and dogs are predators, and that can result in tragic situations if not carefully watched. Erin currently has three pigs at Hog Haven who are missing ears from dog attacks, and unfortunately situations between dogs and pigs can end up even worse.  When things go wrong, pigs just aren’t able to defend themselves. In our case, things were fine between Oscar and Rylee until they weren’t. I was that animal lover who said I would never give up a pet, but in this case it was one pet I loved and made a commitment to versus another.

Oscar in his mud pool at Hog Haven

I’ve considered making this a space to share more about what I’ve learned and provide occasional updates on Oscar, but I haven’t decided for sure yet. I have had a lot of time to think about what I wish I would have known and what information about mini pig ownership still needs to be shared so that people can make informed decisions about mini pigs.

What I do know is that I still believe pigs are amazing creatures. I still love Oscar dearly and still miss him every single day. We have a lot of “Remember when Oscar used to…” moments in our home, and there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about him. We had our struggles and frustrations, but I had no idea the lasting impact he would have in our lives that day we brought him home.

Oscar exploring and enjoying rooting around in the mud at Hog Haven.
Oscar getting extra special rooting and exploring time at Hog Haven for his 2nd birthday.
  • All photos in this post taken and provided by Erin Brinkley-Burgardt at Hog Haven Farm

Mini Pig Oscar’s Stair and Car Ramp

When Oscar was little, I picked him up all the time. I carried him around the house, lifted him up onto the sofa, and carried him up and over our stairs to take him outside several times a day. If I needed to put him in the car to take him somewhere, it was quick and easy. I just picked him up and put him in his bucket seat.

When Oscar hit about 30 pounds, I started having trouble lifting him. By that point he had figured out how to jump up on the sofa and didn’t really want to be carried around the house anyway, so those things weren’t an issue. However, getting him outside to potty turned into a chore. We have stairs at each door going outside, so there is no avoiding steps when we take him out. Although pigs can walk down stairs, I try not to let Oscar go up or down stairs when possible since I worry about him hurting one of his little legs. So, this meant lifting him over the stairs each time he went out and, even with just a few stairs, it was becoming a challenge.

I decided it was time to try to find a ramp for Oscar to go down. I was skeptical that I would find one to fit securely over the stairs going into our garage and leading up to our porch, but I was also pretty desperate. I looked at reviews and did some measuring, and I finally decided to try one. I picked the Solvit UltraLite Bi-fold Pet Ramp, and I love it. It is a perfect fit for our stairs, folds up easily, doesn’t slide around, is lightweight for a ramp, and Oscar learned to use it in under ten minutes.

The only problem I had with the ramp at first is that the texture of the area where Oscar walks up and down is really rough. The very first time Oscar walked down the ramp, I could tell it was hurting his hooves. I grabbed an old yoga mat, cut it to fit inside the ramp, and it works perfectly now. If you are looking for a ramp and decide this one is a good fit for your stairs, make sure to grab an inexpensive, slightly grippy yoga mat (or use an old one) or even using a strip of extra carpet might work. You’ll need it for this ramp to work for pig hooves, but it took me only a few minutes to cut the yoga mat to fit and I’m super happy with the result.

Oscar ready to go down his ramp.

I was nervous at first about trying to get Oscar to use the ramp. When I first set up the ramp, he didn’t want to go down it. I grabbed a handful of Cheerios and spaced them out down the ramp, and he went right down. I did the same thing for him going back up, and he was trotting up and down the ramp after a few times of doing that. We’ve been using the ramp for almost seven months now, and he and I both love it.

Placing some treats down the ramp is really helpful for training your pig to use it. We used Cheerios, and Oscar learned to use the ramp in about 10 minutes.

The other great use for this ramp is for getting Oscar into the car. Last time I took Oscar to the vet, I put his bucket seat in the car and figured I would just lift him up into it. It had been a while since I had picked him up, but surely I could lift him once in and out of the car. I picked him up and only got him up to the floor board before I had to put him down. So, rushing around trying to figure out what to do, I realized the ramp could reach the cargo area of my vehicle. I put Oscar’s crate in the back area of my car, put the ramp up, and he walked right up the ramp and got into his crate. Since the ramp folds up, I threw it and the yoga mat in the back of my car and then just put the ramp down for him to climb out once we got to the vet’s office. It was quick, easy, and safe for Oscar getting in and out of the car. Phew!

If you’re thinking about getting a ramp for your pig, the best thing to do is to measure the area where the ramp will go to make sure it’s a good fit. This ramp fits perfectly over our garage and porch stairs and into the back of my vehicle, but I don’t think it would be a good ramp for a bed or something that high up in the air. For something that high, this ramp would likely be too steep and probably wouldn’t be your best bet. But, I absolutely love this ramp, and it makes taking Oscar in and out of the house so much more pleasant. If you have a growing pig and are looking for a ramp, definitely check out the Solvit UltraLite Bi-fold Pet Ramp because it has worked really well for us.

Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links. LifeWithaMiniPig.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Mini Pig Oscar’s New Winter Coat from Snort Life

It’s officially winter, and most mini pigs hate cold weather. If allowed, Oscar would spend the entire winter season in front of our heat vent and avoid outside completely. However, Oscar isn’t litter box trained, so he has to go outside several times a day to potty, even if it’s freezing out. In order to make these trips more pleasant for him, I decided that Oscar needs a winter coat.

Mini Pig Oscar in his new winter coat from Snort Life

Last year I decided to use my limited sewing skills to make Oscar a coat. We used that one and a dog coat that we bought Oscar for his first winter, and they worked okay. Eventually, the snaps broke off of the one I sewed Oscar, and the dog coat was sturdy but wasn’t a perfect fit. As with most dog coats, the underneath of this coat went too far down Oscar’s belly, so the back belt had to be removed so that Oscar could potty.

Oscar has grown a lot, and he needed a new coat for this winter. Since we didn’t have a perfect coat for him last year, I decided to buy Oscar an actual mini pig coat this time. We loved Oscar’s last outfit from Snort Life, so I decided to order his coat from there. I quickly took his measurements, picked my fabric, and placed my order, excited for Oscar’s first actual mini pig coat for this winter.


When Oscar’s coat arrived, I was thrilled. I knew his coat would be adorable, but it’s also super practical. First, he has no problem going to the bathroom in his coat, which is important and makes it better than nearly all dog coats we’ve tried. Second, the material is soft and thick to keep him warm, but it’s not overly heavy so Oscar can wander the yard and move around in it easily. He doesn’t mind his coat being on at all and will wear it for as long as I let him stay outside. Third, it has a slit in the top so that we can hook a leash to his harness, which is helpful so he can wear his coat and be securely leashed at the same time. Lastly, his coat has a hood to help keep his ears warm and make him look ridiculously adorable at the same time.


The only challenge we’ve had is that, as I mentioned in my last post, Oscar doesn’t like to be touched on his right side near his face. This has made it tough to get the coat on him at times, so we started using treats when we put his coat on, and it’s less of an issue. In general, the coat is quick and easy to put on mini pigs, so this is an issue specific to Oscar and isn’t reflective of the coat. Fortunately, treats help make the process faster and more pleasant for Oscar and for us.


If you’re looking for a winter coat or any outfit for your mini pig, I definitely recommend checking out Snort Life. We have been super happy with the quality and fit on everything we’ve received from Doreen. Oscar’s coat is the His & Hers Hooded Fleece Jacket, but there’s also a collared version without the hood and a new His & Hers Hooded Puffy Jacket that is super cute.



Note: I purchased Oscar’s coat from Snort Life on my own and was not asked to do a review. All opinions are my own. 

Mini Pig Oscar’s 20 Month Weigh In

I can hardly believe it, but Oscar is 20 months old! Honestly, the past five months since his last weigh in have flown by. I feel like we are in a good, stable place with Oscar these days. That doesn’t mean we don’t still have our challenges or that every day is easy, but I feel like I’m slowly figuring this pig parenting thing out.


We are finally past the days of worrying about potty training or getting Oscar’s harness on which were some of our challenges in the past, and these days we worry more about keeping him stimulated with enough rooting time, finding his lost teeth in the house, and attempting to pick him up. Oscar is finally big enough that I simply cannot lift him. In retrospect, I think I was in denial that there would be a day when I couldn’t lift him. Although we’ve had to make some logistical adjustments with a ramp and figuring out how to get him from point A to point B when he is being stubborn, I don’t mind him being bigger. Sure, it’s more inconvenient at times, but there’s also more of him to cuddle!


Our biggest challenge at the moment is that Oscar still head whips and sometimes attempts to bite when we touch his right side by his face. It’s something that he has done for a long time, and we have tried everything but haven’t figured out how to stop that behavior. He has also started charging at guests in just the past few months and I worry about that issue escalating with time, so we are working on that as well.

I really am enjoying this time with Oscar now that he’s a little older. We seem to have figured each other out more, and we’ve settled into a better routine. I’m still surprised by how much more challenging the journey with Oscar has been than I originally expected, but I’m happy to be where we are with him.

Here are some comparison shots with Oscar’s dog sister, Rylee. She is 17 pounds.


Our little Oscar is still growing! At 20 months old, Oscar is 59 pounds, 17″ tall, and 33″ long. 

Posing for pictures is exhausting!


Mini Pig Oscar is Losing His Teeth

Mini pig Oscar has started losing his teeth! He started by losing his back teeth, but just yesterday he lost his two front teeth.

Oscar lost his two front teeth yesterday!

Pigs typically lose their “baby” teeth around 12-15 months old, so after Oscar turned a year old, we started watching for signs of him losing a tooth, like increased teething. When Oscar was really young, he liked to grind his teeth when he was feeling content, but he nearly stopped grinding his teeth as he approached one year old. When he started grinding his teeth again, that was our sign that he was teething. Some parents also notice grumpy behavior in their teething pigs but, to be honest, Oscar is pretty naturally grumpy, so we haven’t noticed enough of a difference for that to be a useful symptom. (Sorry, Oscar!)

Right after losing his two front teeth

Although I felt awful knowing that Oscar was dealing with teething pain, I was also a mixture of excited and weirded out by the idea of him losing teeth. On one hand, it’s a sign that our little guy is growing up and gets us closer to being through his teething phase. On the other hand, I’m not used to finding teeth around the house. I also had a bunch of unknowns, like how would he lose his teeth and what would they look like.

I soon got my answer about how Oscar would lose his teeth. For the first tooth, I was walking through the house and just noticed it on the floor next to his food bowl. I was a little sad that I missed him losing his first tooth, but I was excited to have found it. My best guess is that he lost it while eating his dinner since it was so close to his bowl. For his second tooth, he was also eating dinner, but this time he finished his meal, looked up at me, and then just spit out his tooth. After the first two, we’ve had a mix of him spitting teeth out, swallowing them, and us finding them randomly around the house.

Since I’m used to seeing Oscar’s skinny front teeth, I was surprised by how big his back teeth were. It makes sense to me now that I realize his back teeth are larger, but it caught me a bit by surprise at first.

On the left is one of Oscar’s back teeth. The right is one of his longer bottom front teeth.

It was only appropriate to celebrate Oscar losing his teeth, so the tooth fairy stopped by for a visit. We got Oscar his very own tooth fairy helper, read him The Night Before the Tooth Fairy, and then he went to sleep, eagerly anticipating what the Tooth Fairy would bring him the next morning.


When he woke up, he was so excited because the Tooth Fairy brought him the book he’s been wanting – Prissy & Pop: Big Day Out! The book was everything he expected, and he loved seeing the adorable pictures of Prissy and Pop and hearing about their adventure.


He looks pretty silly without his two front teeth but also ridiculously adorable. I’ll be excited once we’re past the teething phase because I hate knowing he’s uncomfortable while he’s growing in new teeth. But, for now, he’s happy with his new book and is hoping the tooth fairy comes back with more surprises as he loses more teeth.


Note: Some of the links above are affiliate links. LifeWithaMiniPig.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

Come meet Oscar and watch as we adjust to life with a pet mini pig.