Photo courtesy of Adrienne Over

Pet Pigs

Penelope and Penley are the talk of Ballantyne

By Michelle Boudin

Adrienne Over knew she might get a few stares when she brought her 80-pound pet pigs to Markets at 11 last year in Ballantyne’s Backyard, but she wasn’t expecting what happened.

“We got bombarded with people stopping us. We barely made it down the sidewalk into the event. We were … there for three hours because of people taking pictures and asking questions,” Over says, laughing.

The 26-year-old commercial product photographer grew up in Ballantyne and says she has always loved pigs and knew someday she’d have one.

Adrienne Over, with her pets in Ballantyne's Backyard, says pigs are not big walking animals. They are more into eating than exercise. Photo by Pepper & Gray Photography

“I’ve wanted one since I was 5. My parents thought it was just a funny, quirky thing, and then I got serious about it when I was 13. My dad always said no, not in the house. He told me once I bought my own house, I could get my pigs.”

So, she bought a house in Ballantyne just a mile away from her parents, and a couple of months later, she got Penelope and Penley from a breeder in Florida.

“I had originally planned on getting one pig, but I learned they do best in pairs. They speak their own language, and they can get depressed if they go too long without talking to another one.”

The brother and sister miniature potbellied pigs arrived on the first day of the shutdown in March 2020.

“I lost my job on a Friday, and they came to me that following Thursday. They were a pound and a half, five-inch-long tiny little things when I got them. They were so cute but terrified of the world.”

The three have been side by side ever since.

“They’ve been with me all through COVID. I don’t know what I’d do without them. They’re the best companions. They’re the funniest things, and it’s been so great that I’ve had the time to bond with them.”

Penelope and Penley live in Over’s living room, in a pen that her dad built. “They have a dog bed and a heating pad because they’re spoiled.”

Over says people are often surprised when she tells them the pigs are very similar to dogs. They’re hypoallergenic, and they don’t smell.

“They love meeting people and dogs, but they’re very protective of people in their home, and they’re little cuddle bugs. They sleep belly to belly. Penelope is a little sassy: She yells at him, and they nip at each other a little, but it’s all playful. She’s definitely the boss lady of the house, and Penley even barks sometimes.”