A couple who thought they had brought home an adorable micropig got the shock of their life when their new pet just kept growing… and growing… and growing.
When Don Plemmons surprised his girlfriend Teresa Ruddell, with a ‘teacup pig’, she was delighted – she also thought her new piggy would remain a tiny 10lb forever.
But she soon realised Don had been conned, as the tiny pig – who she named Ollie – began steadily growing.
Now, Ollie is a huge 14 stone 2lb, and rules the roost at the couple’s home in Clyo, Georgia, USA.
However, the couple have fallen in love with their full-sized hog, and so have plenty of other people.
Ollie has built up 7,000 Instagram fans, who all love the cute pictures of his cheeky grin.
‘Ollie has such a strong smile. You can’t help but fall in love with him,’ says Teresa.
‘He has the chubbiest cheeks and the happiest face – it’s always guaranteed to get the likes coming in.’
Lifelong animal lover Teresa had been asking Don, who she met on dating site Plenty of Fish seven years ago, for a pig of her own for years.
‘Every birthday, Christmas and anniversary I made the same request,’ she explains.
‘I was desperate for a pet pig. I’d been obsessed with the idea after seeing so-called teacup pigs on social media – not realising that that miniature pigs never truly stay that size.’
Then, in May 2017, Don surprised Teresa by quite literally bringing home the bacon.
‘He said there’d been a huge sale on at the store and he’d come back with loads of bacon and pork chops,’ she says.
‘I couldn’t believe it when he had the cheek to ask me to help unload it all – I was a vegetarian at the time and I’m and now a vegan!
‘I opened his car – and there was Ollie in a crate looking up at me. I was in utter disbelief and shock. Don told me I deserved to be happy and he wanted to treat me.’
Don had secretly tracked down a local breeder, paying $400 (£304) for Ollie, who is a Juliana pig, meaning he is small and spotted.
Although he weighed just 10lb when the pair first got him, it soon became clear he was not going to stay that way.
According to the RSCPA, micropigs are becoming increasingly popular – but the charity has warned that even the smallest breeds can grow up to weigh 5st5lb to 11st.
‘Looking back, we did exactly what any pet owner shouldn’t do – we didn’t do any research,’ says Teresa.
‘But whatever animal you give me, I’m not going to give up, so it wasn’t a big deal.
‘He’s mine and always will be. The only difference it made was that he ended up getting a whole bedroom to himself.’
Settling in with his four-legged siblings, dogs Tazz and Skittles, Ollie was soon acting more like a dog than a pig.
‘After a week, he was one of them,’ Teresa adds. ‘He loves snuggling with his big brother and sister, and was super comfortable from the get go.
“‘When Tazz is out barking at other dogs in the garden, Ollie is right behind him snorting and squealing.
‘They love play fetch together and Tazz will shred up bark for Ollie to chew on.
‘He really is our baby. He has his own room with a tepee that he loves to sleep in. He’s a spoilt piggy for sure.’
Though Ollie does not join Tazz on his daily walk, he still enjoys regular jaunts outside the house – especially to Starbucks, where he and Teresa will pick up a treat at the drive-thru.
‘Ollie has a Puppaccino, which is just a small cup of whipped cream,’ she says. ‘At first, everybody was shocked and laughing but now he’s part of the family at Starbucks.’
In the summer of 2018, Teresa decided to set up an Instagram account for Ollie.
Initially, she simply wanted to learn more about the piggy community – but instead she has turned her real life Babe into a social media star.
‘Everybody loves seeing Ollie dressed up for different holidays,’ she says. ‘For Halloween, we dress him as a unicorn and the response is always very funny.
‘His go-to outfitted are a simple holiday-themed headband – so Reindeer antlers or an Irish top hat, that thought of thing.
‘I wouldn’t say he loves being in front of the camera – it takes about 50 shots to get the perfect picture – but there’s always treats on hand to win him over.’
By sharing her story, Teresa hopes to raise awareness of the reality of owning a pig.
‘There are still so many people buying miniature pigs believing they’ll stay tiny forever,’ she says.
‘I was one of those people – but unlike so many others I didn’t re-home Ollie.
‘It’s so important to educate people before they buy from breeders.
‘If you’re going to buy a pet pig, don’t make our mistake – do the research.
‘Ollie might not be mini, but we love every inch of him. With him, life is never boar-ing.’
To keep up with Ollie’s latest antics, follow @ollieandthecrew.
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