They say everything has a beginning, a middle and an end, but when it comes to an Alabama dog named Pig, she seems to have gotten short-changed on that middle part.
Between her sizable head and her rear end, there’s not much real estate, and as a result of her abbreviated torso, taking her out in public has always led to a lot of stares, and a lot of questions — chief among them, “What kind of dog is that?”
What accounts for Pig’s unusual appearance is called short spine syndrome, a birth defect that prevents the spine from fully forming and often makes everyday tasks — like running, jumping and eating — difficult.
Dogs with the disorder — though it can compress their organs and lead to health problems as they grow — generally can lead normal lives, and reach their full life expectancy.
They can also, as in Pig’s case, become international celebrities.
Pig developed a large following after appearing at this year’s Do Dah Day festival in Birmingham. She was featured in a story on AL.com, and her Facebook page, “Pig the Unusual Dog,” created in June, has more than 76,500 followers.
Now, following up on just what it is that makes Pig Pig, AL.com reports that her owner, Kim Dillenbeck of Helena, has received the results of a DNA test she had conducted on the dog to determine what breeds are in her.
A Wisdom Panel test says Pig is a Boxer, Chow Chow, American Staffordshire Terrier mix.
Dillenbeck who has heard guesses ranging from her dog being half rabbit to half not there, was surprised by the results.
“Everybody thought Akita,” Dillenbeck said. “I was was thinking something like a smaller dog, but I was wide open … Pig has all these interesting traits, and there are so many breeds out there.”
Other breeds showing up in the test results as possibilities include Portuguese Water Dog, Alaskan Klee Kai, Scottish deerhound, Lakeland terrier and Maltese.
Pig weighs in at just 16 pounds, much less than one of her siblings, who doesn’t have the disorder and weighs just under 40 pounds.
Dillenbeck’s experience with Pig led her to form the nonprofit Pig’s Foundation to help raise funds for people and organizations rescuing animals. Another mission of the foundation is to raise awareness that animals who look unusual can still have a happy life.
“Pig is her own breed,” Dillenbeck said. “To me, she is just one in a million. As much as I can see her potential in all these breeds, she is still just Pig.”
(Photos: Mark Almond / AL.com)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 31st, 2014 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alabama, american staffordshire terrier, animals, birmingham, birth defect, boxer, breed, breeds, chow chow, dna, dog, dogs, helena, pets, pig, short spine, short spine syndrome, shortened, spine, test, wisdom panel
For some reason, Pigalina was rejected by her mother, but she’s found a substitute in a member of another species — Levi, a four-year-old pit bull.
The piglet, three-weeks-old when this video was made, lives at PIGS Animal Sanctuary in Shepherdstown, West Virginia. Levi, a rescued dog, was living there when she arrived — and obviously is used to being crawled upon by piglets.
The sanctuary, founded in 1992, specializes in the care of potbellied pigs and farm pigs, and it shelters other farm animals and pets as well. About 400 animals — pigs, dogs, cats, horses and goats among them — are living there.
You can learn more about out what’s going on at PIGS Animal Sanctuary by visiting its Facebook page.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 4th, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animal sanctuaries, animals, dog, dogs, haven, inter-species, interspecies, levi, pets, pig, pig and dog, pigalina, pigalina and levi, piglet and dog, piglet and pit bull, pigs, pigs animal sanctuary, pit bulls, pitbulls, potbellied pigs, relationships, rescue, rescued, sanctuary, shelter, sheperdstown, unlikely friends, video, west virginia
No longer do those of us who like to watch our dogs catch treats in mid-air have to go to all the effort of tossing them.
New from Purina, Beggin’ Party Poppers have hit the market — bacon and cheese-flavored treats that come in a canister with a lid that resembles a pig face.
Push in the pig’s nose, place a treat inside and, in a matter of seconds, the treat will be popped into the air for your dog to catch.
Sure, it may be easier to just toss the treat yourself, not to mention more of a bonding experience with your dog. But why bother with that when, for $18.97, you can let the canister launch a dog treat skyward for you?
That’s the price listed for the product — treats and canister — on Amazon. A refill bag of treats, meanwhile — and we hope this is a mistake — is listed at $26.86 on Amazon. Other online sources have the refills in the $6-7 range. You can learn more at www.pighead.com.
It seems, at first glance, an over-priced little gimmick, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see it evolve, perhaps into an app that allows you to shoot your dog a treat while sitting in your workplace cubicle, or a self-loading version that shoots out a treat every hour for dogs left home alone.
Imagine that. Your dog, if he’s anything like mine, would spend 59 minutes of each hour staring at the machine, one minute of each chasing, catching and eating the treat. Dogs would begin to worship the treat machine even more than they do us. They’d sleep next to the treat machine. They’d bark at anyone who threatened the treat machine. They’d follow the treat machine — once a moving version, like those robo-vacuum cleaners, was perfected — everywhere it went.
And we’d have nothing to do but lay alone in our cold beds and look at our arms, grown flabby after we stopped tossing treats ourselves.
Yes, we’re stretching to make a point, but, propelled by technology, the pet industry does seem to be going in that direction — coming out with products that make it easier than ever for us to pamper our dogs while ignoring them.
Purina’s treat-launching pig is a harmless novelty, kind of fun, and it still requires a human’s involvement to work.
But with automatic feeders already a reality, automatic treat dispensers can’t be too far behind. Once automatic ball tossers and automatic ear scratchers hit the market, we dog-owning humans could find ourselves out of a job.
It’s nice for our dogs to stay occupied, but we shouldn’t turn too much of that job over to machines and robots.
That will only make our dogs, and us, more robot-like.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 3rd, 2014 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, bacon, beggin', beggin' party poppers, canister, catch, cheese, convenience, dog, dog food, dog treats, dogs, industry, launch, market, marketing, new, pets, pig, pig head, poppers, products, purina, throw, treats
The disease is common in pigs but has only recently been diagnosed in dogs.
Eight dogs from the Canton area to the Cincinnati area, have fallen ill with similar symptoms over the past three weeks.
Of those, four died, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
On Friday, one of those cases was confirmed as circovirus, said Department of Agriculture spokeswoman Erica Hawkins.
Testing continues on samples from the other seven dogs, and it’s too early to know if they all contracted the same disease, she added.
Pathologists sent samples from dogs to a lab at the University of California-Davis to test them for circovirus. A one-year-old beagle with circovirus died in California in the spring, and the school’s lab has the equipment to test for the virus. A study detailing the California case was released in April in the Centers for Disease Control’s online journal “Emerging Infectious Diseases.”
Symptoms of the virus included vasculitis (a destruction of the body’s blood vessels), severe vomiting, bloody diarrhea, fluid buildup around the lungs, as well as rapid heart rate and weakness.
In August, the state Department of Agriculture issued an alert after several dog deaths were reported in Norwood, just north of Cincinnati. Four dogs became sick with similar symptoms, and three of them died. All of the dogs had spent time at the same boarding kennel. The facility shut down temporarily and replaced its flooring and other equipment. But owners of the company say that was done as a precaution and that tests of the facility’s food, water and surfaces show no signs of anything that could have triggered the illnesses.
The other four suspected cases were all in the Akron area, but there are no indications that the dogs had spent time together.
Dr. Melanie Butera, a veterinarian at Elm Ridge Animal Hospital in Canal Fulton, treated all four of the Akron-area dogs. All became very ill with similar symptoms, and all were around 3 or four years old. One of the four died.
Health officials and veterinarians said that owners who suspect their dog has the illness should get the pet to a veterinarian right away.
Butera warned dog owners not to panic. There have only been a handful of cases so far, and even if circovirus is responsible for all the cases, it’s not the first time dogs have faced a new illness.
“Viruses mutate all the time, and we see that in human viruses, and sometimes mutations allow the virus to cross into a different species,” she said.
Posted by John Woestendiek September 10th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, beagle, california, canal fulton, canine, Canton, cincinatti, circovirus, disease, dog, dogs, health, ill, medicine, norwood, ohio, pathology, pets, pig, porcine, sick, symptoms, uc davis, university of california, veterinarian, veterinary, virus
Real Ham Bone for Dogs — dog treats made in Missouri from the femurs of pigs — are under review by the Food and Drug Administration after complaints of them causing serious injury and death in dogs.
If warranted, an FDA spokesman said, the FDA will take appropriate action and notify the public, the Associated Press reported.
The product — a smoked pig femur sold as a dog treat or chew bone — is distributed nationally under the Dynamic Pet Products label of Frick’s Quality Meats in Washington, Mo.
The company said Thursday it was saddened to learn of the illnesses and deaths of customers’ pets, and that quality and safety remain priorities. The packaging contains a warning about the product not being for all dogs, and the possibility that it could splinter.”
“That is why every package contains a label that provides detailed instructions to owners on how they can help their pets best enjoy our products,” the company said in a statement. “We strongly encourage owners to supervise their pets with any treats or snacks.”
The Better Business Bureau of St. Louis said consumers have complained about the bones splintering, and pieces obstructing dogs’ intestines. Consumers reported their dogs had become lethargic or were vomiting. One man came home to find his dog dead, bleeding from the mouth.
Posted by John Woestendiek March 12th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: alert, animals, better business bureau, bone, chew, choking, complaints, consumer, consumers, danger, death, dogs, fda, femur, food and drug administration, frick's quality meats, hazard, health, illness, investigation, missouri, news, pets, pig, real ham bone for dogs, recall, review, st. louis, treat
An 80-pound pot-bellied pig is helping bring an 8-year-old with autism out of his shell in Fayetteville, North Carolina — or at least it was until a city inspector spotted it.
The special connection between boy and pig was interrupted last month when city inspectors — though no one had complained about the pig — left the family a notice that they were violating a city code barring hogs from the corporate limits.
As a result, the family had to return the pig, named Loopey, to where they bought it, at a ranch a half-hour away, according to the Fayetteville Observer.
Now Lisa Pia is fighting to get the law changed on behalf of her son, Anthony.
“Soon as he saw her, it was love at first sight,” Lisa Pia told WRAL News, recalling Anthony’s first meeting with the female pig they named Loopey. Anthony doted on Loopey and, as the pig grew, they comforted each other through thunderstorms and played in the family’s backyard. At night, the pig slept in Anthony’s room. Each day, Anthony raced home from school to be with his pet pig.
“We were just excited for him that finally, he’s coming out and he’s not in his shell anymore, and he’s doing things, and playing and interacting,” Pia said.
Then came an unexpected letter from city inspectors, informing the Pias of the Fayetteville ordinance that makes it “unlawful to keep hogs within the corporate limits.” A city inspector had spied Loopey in the Pias’ backyard while in the neighborhood on an unrelated matter. The Pias returned Loopey to the ranch where they had bought her. But they hope to get permission so he can return.
The Pias — wearing T-shirts emblazoned with a picture of Loopey and Anthony — appealed to the Fayetteville City Council to review the ban on swine, or make an exception for Loopey as a therapy animal for Anthony.
The city council members voted 6-2 to authorize staff members to research what would be entailed in revising the ordinance. The issue is likely to be discussed again at the city council’s next work session on September 8.
An online petition for “Friends for Loopey” has gathered nearly 5,000 signatures.
Posted by John Woestendiek August 11th, 2009 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, anthony pia, autism, city council, code, exception, fayetteville, hogs, inspectors, lisa pia, loopey, north carolina, ordinance, pet, pet pig, petition, pig, pot-bellied, therapy, violation
And this little pig went to YouTube, where he’s developed quite a following. Speaking of following, as you’ll see, it appears to be what Kingsford — as the piglet is named — does best.