Heather Carver learned this week that potbelly pigs need to eat plain Cheerios and vegetables to maintain a high-fiber diet.
The one that's been staying at her house for the past few days — a 30-pound, black-and-white female named Piggy — prefers apples and table scraps.
"If you call her, she'll come running and wagging her tail," Carver said in a phone interview.
Piggy has been at the Carver residence in Proctorville, Ohio, as a part of a local animal rescue initiative. Carver and other volunteers for the Cabell-Wayne Animal Shelter provide foster homes for animals brought to the shelter.
Carver usually gets dogs or cats, but she jumped at the chance to house her first pig.
"She likes to flip over and have her belly rubbed. She's a hoot," Carver said. "It's hysterical. Really very friendly, but if you pick her up, she squeals."
Carver's eight dogs have been a little wary of Piggy this week, but she said they've generally gotten along pretty well. She almost decided to keep Piggy, who is spayed and litter box-trained, and said she would definitely foster another one.
Piggy is one of many animals she and her friends work to save on a daily basis. Dozens of families provide homes for animals that are brought to the shelter for one reason or another. Piggy was brought in by a family that thought she was a micro-pig and decided they couldn't take care of her when she grew bigger and bigger.
Carver said this happens frequently. To increase the likelihood of finding a "forever home," Carver and others research and transport the animals to rescue centers across the nation. She said she has helped get animals to homes in Canada as well.
She knew the perfect spot for Piggy: Pittsburgh, with Jennifer Bird at the Fur Kid Rescue.
"I've heard from people they're very intelligent; they're like having a dog," Bird said in a phone interview. "I figured why not add something new to the pack."
Carver and other local volunteers frequently take dogs and cats to Bird's shelter. The two had discussed pigs in the past and quickly organized transportation for Piggy and a few other animals from the Huntington area to Pittsburgh.