Pork State: Meet Sir Remington, State College’s Most Interesting Pet
When Penn State student Brooke Sinko drives to the veterinarian in Delaware, she has to make sure there’s a barrier between the front and back seats so her pet doesn’t try to jump on her lap. After all, he isn’t as tiny as when she got him. And who could blame her when she looks in the rearview mirror and sees this?
This is Sir Remington, the seven-month-old pig who lives with Sinko and her roommates downtown. And to answer the question that’s on your mind: No, the landlord doesn’t mind that a farm animal lives in the apartment (odds are there wasn’t an anti-pig rule in the lease, anyway).
Remington’s name was picked out of a pool that included a few other regal-sounding names that Sinko and her friends put together (if they picked a girl piglet, her name would have been Darcy). We first met Remington in our “Best Pets of State College” feature last fall when he was just a tiny piglet hanging out in a crock pot. He was about a month old then, pictured soon after Sinko first met him, fell in love, and welcomed him into her family.
Other than his tusks that will begin to grow in soon (pet pigs get them filed down every so often), Remington is similar to having a pet dog. He loves belly rubs, he’s house-trained, he knows commands like “sit,” and he goes on walks with a little harness. Beyond the easy comparisons to a dog, the 57-pound piece of pork has even more similarities with the average college student.
“If we let him, he could eat all day,” Sinko laughed. She added that he sleeps on-and-off for about half the day. Remington either props himself against the arm of a chair or couch, or follows his instincts and burrows into a hole. Since there isn’t any dirt in the apartment to cover himself with, he uses blankets instead and lays down in his cage.
Sir Remington’s diet is only consistent in its variability. He usually gets one cup of pig food in the morning and one at dinner time, and also eats whenever someone will give him a snack or scraps. He likes peppers, pretzels, chips, carrots, and mashed potatoes (he gets them all over his face though). Water and milk are his favorite drinks, and he can also be fed wings – the entire wing, not just the meat.
“Pigs are the only animals that can chew through and digest bone, which is why in mob movies they always talk about feeding to the pigs,” Sinko explained before washing buffalo sauce off a wing and tossing it to Remington. Remington ate the wing with an onomatopoeia that you’d have a better chance at spelling by smashing your keyboard than by trying to think it out.
Lest you think this porker is a savage animal, he is actually one of the friendlier beasts you could have the pleasure of meeting. Rufio the cat and Charles the fish join Remington in the apartment – the former he plays with as much as anyone can really play with a cat, and the latter is, well, a fish. Sinko also has a dog at home with whom Remington gets along very well. She explained that when they play, Remington takes a running start, gets on his side, and slides at the dog. “I’m not sure what that is,” she said.
“If he’s [running], you’re not gonna catch him,” she said. “He’s way too fast for that fat little body.”
Pigs also have specific mannerisms that occur both in nature and when domesticated. Specifically, they root (or dig in dirt), which is a problem when there is only hardwood and carpet to be found. However, Remington was fixed and rooting hasn’t been a problem since, as expected; the unfortunate trade-off is he also doesn’t play as much as he did when he was a baby, despite being only seven months old. He makes noises unlike any other animal, and his owners needed to research what they meant. For future interactions with pigs, keep in mind that high-pitched squeals are good and lower grunts indicate grumpiness – and if Remington’s “huge personality” is any indication, pigs can be very expressive.
Sinko plans to take Remington to Old Main Lawn when the weather gets nicer, and they ventured to the pig statue downtown by the Tavern after our interview. Lambda Chi, the fraternity with the pet goat, also informally invited Remington to a fair, but plans to set up a playdate fell through.
Sinko explained that pigs are popular pets on the West Coast, despite being seen mostly for “production value” on the East Coast. They’re cleaner around the house than dogs, considering they don’t shed and are thorough when it comes to picking up crumbs; the downside is their size, which can balloon if not managed properly. She said she’s interested in making Remington a service animal – it’s a difficult process getting that distinction for an animal other than a dog, but Sinko said he has a better demeanor then her dog at home, who is too skittish.
Other than vaccinations and minor trips to a veterinarian, there aren’t many unexpected complications to having a pet pig. “I’d like to spread the word,” Sinko said. “They’re awesome pets.”
If your interest is piqued, you’re prepared to give up bacon, and you have an incredibly understanding landlord, consider getting a Sir Remington of your own.