This little piggy stayed home

Written by Amy Palser

Tulip might just be the perfect pet. He doesn’t shed. He doesn’t run away. He’s potty trained. He’s affectionate and undemanding. And for the Loftin family of Wichita, he’s 120 pounds of pure pig love.

Tyler and Betsy Loftin and their three children — Barrett, 13, Reagan, 11 and Gunner, 5 — got Tulip about four years ago when he was just a wee little pig. He lives with the family in their east Wichita home, along with three dogs. And while everyone in the family is fond of Tulip, he’s made it clear that his heart belongs to Betsy.

“They all love Tulip, but he is mainly mine,” said Betsy, who owns K9 Design Mobile Grooming. “He kind of does his own thing. He’s not like a dog who’s coming up to you and wanting attention. He’ll lay by the fireplace all day. He’s like a couch potato. He’ll sleep and eat and he’s happy. They’re very lazy pets.”

Tulip is considered a mini pig (which is any pig under 500 pounds) and is a mix between a pot belly and a Juliana pig. When Betsy first got Tulip, she had no idea how big the 5-pound piglet would grow. She used to carry him in her arms, dress him in jackets, and bring him along on dog grooming appointments. But it wasn’t long before Tulip had outgrown those activities and established his spot at home by the fire.

Betsy said pigs are as smart as a 3-year-old child. They are bright, well behaved and obedient — if you don’t spoil them — and each one has its own personality. Although Betsy had pet pigs before who loved to be outside, Tulip is a homebody. Once he does his business outside, Betsy said, Tulip grunts at the door until someone lets him back in. So the Loftins installed a gate at the bottom of their deck stairs, forcing Tulip to spend some time in the sunshine on nice days. Betsy said he usually finds a spot in the mulch near the house and takes a nap.

If you’re interested in owning a pet pig, Betsy recommends first checking your county and HOA rules (Sedgwick County allows one mini pig per household). And she said to research breeders for a good one, or search the Facebook group “Preloved Pigs.” Pigs can live to the ripe old age of 20, so make sure you’re ready for the commitment.

For the Loftins, Tulip has just become a part of the family. “When we’re in our backyard pool he comes and hangs out near us. He’s just fun.”

First Annual SPLURGE! Cutest Pet Contest

Does your pet belong on our cover? To celebrate May's National Pet Month, SPLURGE! is holding its first-ever Cutest Pet contest. Just email a current high resolution photo of your favorite pet to, along with the owner's name and phone number, and the pet's name and breed. Entries must be received by April 15. The winning pet will be professionally photographed and featured in the May issue of SPLURGE! Magazine.

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