Like many things in life, owning a mini pig comes with tradeoffs. There are things I love about owning a mini pig, and things that are more challenging. I wish I could tell you that I love owning a mini pig every second of every day, but that’s just not true. I love Oscar and wouldn’t trade him for the world but, now that we are settled into life with a mini pig, I am very aware of the tradeoffs we make to own Oscar. To be completely honest, I have moments when I think about how much easier things would be without owning a mini pig.
I want to share the moments I have when I wish I didn’t own a mini pig because I think it’s important to be honest about mini pig ownership. It’s easy to share the happy, cute, and exciting moments of life with a mini pig. We have tons of wonderful moments with Oscar. He’s adorable, curious, cuddly, and funny, and I adore all of those qualities in him. He’s also loud, stubborn, needy, and moody. I spend a lot of time on the blog showing happy pictures and discussing positive moments because they are fun and accurate, but I also want to make sure I’m representing the tough side of owning a mini pig because some days are really frustrating.
Here are the moments when I wish I didn’t own a mini pig:
1. When I want to travel. Finding a pet sitter for a mini pig is difficult. Some people have family and friends who are happy to watch their mini pig while they travel, and that can help in this area. However, I haven’t yet been able to leave Oscar since we brought him home. Not many people have been around mini pigs long enough to know what they need, what they should avoid, or signs and symptoms that something is wrong. Also, Oscar loves routine, and I worry that he won’t handle being away from home or on a different schedule well. Sure, I’m a little overprotective, but it can be difficult finding someone you trust to watch your pig while you travel. If we can take a car, we take Oscar with us. However, there are several places I would like to see and even family I would love to visit that I’ve put off because I don’t want to leave Oscar, because I can’t take him there with me, and because it’s too far to travel by car. At the end of the day, I’m okay with this tradeoff because we didn’t travel much before getting Oscar, but I miss the flexibility of being able to just go somewhere without worrying about a mini pig. There are ways to travel with a mini pig, but those also require some consideration and tradeoffs that are worth considering if traveling is really important to you.
2. When I need peace and quiet. Although Oscar is quieter now than he used to be, mini pigs are noisy pets. When Oscar was a baby, peace and quiet was hard to come by. He squealed a lot and oinked loudly while just wandering around the house. Even though I get more peace these days, it’s not guaranteed. When Oscar decides to scream or oink, there’s no great way to get him stop. If I need to take an important phone call or my husband needs to get on a call for work, it’s hard to explain the squealing pig in the background. In fact, I typically have to take Oscar outside or cuddle with him when my husband is on calls so that Oscar isn’t oinking in the background. I remember one particular morning when we couldn’t get Oscar to stop squealing while my husband was on a work call, so out of desperation I shut myself and Oscar in the laundry room and rubbed Oscar’s belly for an hour until the call was over. If I stopped rubbing, Oscar started squealing again. I think this will continue to get better and easier with time, but I have times where I miss that guaranteed peace and quiet.
3. When I need to run extended errands. We live in the country and it takes a little while to drive into town, so I get a list of errands together and run them all at once. Between the drive to town and back and all of the stores I need to go to while I’m in town, my errand runs can take a long time. Oscar is very routined, so if I’m out much past his meal times, I come home to an upset, screaming pig. Although that’s not pleasant, I can deal with it. The bigger challenge is that Oscar isn’t litter box trained, so he needs to be taken outside to potty. If I’m out too long, he will try to hold it which isn’t healthy or comfortable for him and makes me feel awful for not getting him out in time. In general, I just feel guilty for leaving him home by himself for too long. Really guilty. I used to leave my dogs home alone during the day and, although it wasn’t ideal, I knew they were okay. With Oscar, I feel terrible if he isn’t getting the attention, stimulation, and love that he needs. I used to enjoy errands more, but these days I feel guilty when I’m away from home for long, and I’ve lost the flexibility to just stop at a few more stores because I’m usually rushing to get back home to let Oscar out or to spend time with him.
4. When I want to sleep in. Oscar used to sleep in, and it was wonderful. At some point in the past few months though, Oscar decided to start getting up early. Most days now, he is up by 6:30 am. During the week, that’s no problem and fits our schedule well. However, for those days on the weekend when we want to catch up on our sleep, Oscar’s wake up time can be frustrating. When Oscar first wakes up, he grinds his teeth for about 10 minutes and then starts screaming to go outside. After I’ve taken him outside to potty and brought him back in, I get back in bed to get more sleep, but then Oscar starts screaming for his breakfast. In the past, we just fed him right after taking him outside so that he wouldn’t scream to get his breakfast, but he kept waking up earlier and earlier each day to eat. We have tried ignoring him, putting him in another room, and a million other things, but this is still a challenge for us. Some weekends are better than others and he won’t wake quite as early (the time change has helped!) or won’t scream as much waiting for his breakfast, but we’ve given up a bit on sleeping in and just try to go to bed early enough now that we can get up when Oscar does.
5. When Oscar is being aggressive. I’ve been pretty open about Oscar’s aggressive tendencies, and it’s something we’ve struggled with. Thanks to Move the Pig, Oscar is doing much better now, but we still have challenging days and weeks. I put a ton of time and energy into making sure Oscar is a happy pig, so when he is being aggressive or trying to bite, it can be really heartbreaking. It’s easy to feel like Oscar doesn’t like me, but I’ve learned to remember that a lot of his aggression is due to a pig’s natural hierarchical needs. It doesn’t make the aggression better, but it helps me understand it from a more useful perspective. We are still using Move the Pig on a regular basis and seeing improvements, but his more aggressive days can be difficult.
If you’re considering getting a mini pig, really consider if the pros of owning a mini pig outweigh these tradeoffs for you and your family. The tradeoffs will carry different weights for each individual person. At the end of the day, the tradeoffs are worth it for me. However, for example, if your life goal is to travel and you don’t have someone you trust to watch your mini pig, that tradeoff could be a huge challenge and frustration for you. It might not be worth it for you to have a mini pig in order to give up opportunities to travel, and that’s okay as long as you really consider that before making the decision to get a mini pig. Consider what daily life is like for you and really think about each of the tradeoffs to decide if having a mini pig will be worth it for you.
I went into mini pig ownership committed to Oscar, and he has a forever home with us. We have worked through several challenges with Oscar already, and I know we will work through more. I accepted both the ups and downs of life with a mini pig when we decided to get one. For a while, I was really ashamed of my moments when I wish I didn’t have a mini pig; I felt like a terrible pig owner for just having those thoughts. I still wish I didn’t have those moments, but I don’t worry about them any more. I know they are a result of a frustrating time or phase with Oscar, and I know those thoughts will pass. I have many more moments when I’m so grateful we have Oscar and when I just love him more than I ever thought I could, and those more than make up for the tough moments for me. However, they won’t for everyone, so it’s important to consider the tradeoffs of owning a mini pig before deciding to get one.