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Madonna: Pig In The City

February 4, 2006

It only took seven scratches from 7-year-old Chloe. Madonna Rosie arched her spine, the hair on the back of her head stood up and she collapsed in a 70-pound heap of pure piggie bliss.

Chloe smiled, rubbing the coarse black hair on the pot-bellied pig's protruding stomach.

There are a few things you need to know before you try to raise a pig in the city.

The first is that pigs are suckers for a good back scratch.

The second is that they are an instant conversation starter.

"Some people have thought that she was just a fat dog but when they get closer they know," said Chloe's mother, Rebecca Workman, 27.

Neighbors, school children, people driving by in cars, a newspaper reporter -- all want to talk about the big pig.

Few can believe the pig belongs to Chloe and Rebecca along with Rebecca's boyfriend Alex Junco, 27.

Six months ago Rebecca saw an advertisement for pot-bellied piglets. She had never owned a pig, she lived in Converse Heights, she did not have a fenced yard -- but she wanted one anyway. It was that simple. Now Madonna, enjoys the city pig's life -- rooting around the house and having Rebecca rub her with lotion (a sweet smelling replacement for mud).

Madonna earned notoriety earlier this week when she escaped from neighbor Jamie Thornton's yard and led an animal control officer on a multi hour chase around Converse Heights before being caught.

Madonna's fame has come at a price. Rebecca and Alex's rented house has a no-pets clause in the lease. They were told to get rid of the pig or get a new place. The family is currently in the market for a pig-friendly property.

That brings up pig care lesson number three: Never chase a pig.

They are hard to catch.They don't have greased pig-catching contests at fares for nothing. Instead, lure them home with food -- a lesson Alex, Rebecca and Chloe learned when Madonna ran away when she was still a piglet.

Also, take note: Pigs eat a lot.

Two cups of pig feed in the morning and two cups at night and constant snacking on anything but leafy greens.

"She's not picky," Alex said.

Madonna, however, is especially partial to dog treats and ice cream.

She's put on weight in her six months, already weighing 70 pounds. She'll likely keep expanding until she is about 150 pounds

Alexander Morrison can be reached at 562-7215
or alex.morrison@shj.com.

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