Dan Durand laughs when he talks about his two pet pigs.
“Pigs literally smile when they’re happy and their tails wag. They are crazy smart and really loyal,” he says.
“They aren’t for everyone though. They shred everything to make their nest and they are clumsy. They don’t do well on hardwood floors, but pigs are mostly fun.”
Until they run away, that is.
Durand wasn’t laughing March 13 when a friend called at 6:30 a.m. to say a pig loose near downtown Sarnia was Durand’s.
He checked a porch camera trained on the insulated winter home of Ellie May and Mavis Piggleshits, saw nothing concerning, and went back to sleep.
But his buddy called 15 minutes later and insisted Ellie May, a 150-pound Juliana pig, was on the lam.
“That’s when I saw she had figured out how to open the gate,” said Durand. “I don’t know how she got her chubby little butt under it.”
He jumped in a car with his son to search for Ellie May and soon learned from the Facebook group ‘Sarnia Lambton Lost & Found Pets’ she was at the local animal shelter.
“I was very concerned because not everyone thinks about pigs the way I do,” he said. “I’m very attached to them, and I actually struggle when I’m eating pork.”
At the shelter, Ellie May squealed with happiness to see him.
“I was told the police picked her up at Christina and Maxwell,” he said. “I wish there was a photo of her in the cruiser.”
Durand didn’t plan on keeping pet pigs, but has happily forfeited a backyard lawn for the pleasure of their company.
“I’m allergic to dogs and my ex-wife really wanted a pig so I did my research and got Mavis for her as a present,” he explained. Mavis Piggleshits is a 250-pound, six-year-old pot-bellied.
“Mavis was only a year old when she figured out how to open the fridge and devoured an entire lasagna,” he said with a laugh. “And when my ex-wife left, I kept the pig.”
He later bought Ellie May for a girlfriend, and when they broke up he had a pair.
“Pigs can’t be re-homed very well. They suffer severe rejection,” he said. “Mavis cried for three weeks when my ex-wife left.”