Explore San Diego: This little piggy

RAMONA, Calif. -- Once upon a time, a city girl met a pig and they lived country ever after.

Penelope’s Purpose is a special place for abused or abandoned pot-bellied pigs. One of them was found left alone on a hiking trail in the Cleveland National Forest.

All the piggies answer to mom Brittany Whissel, who loves them like children.

“They develop to the capacity of a 3-year-old child ... imagine having a 3-year-old for 20 years,” says Whissel.

And like all toddlers, Whissel says the pigs scream, whine, make noises and can get aggressive and pushy. Tantrums aside, Whissel says pigs are one of the smartest, cleanest and most loving animals.

“They’re super easy to potty train … they do not like to use the restroom anywhere near where they sleep, drink or eat,” Whissel said.

She says that like dogs, pigs love to be touched -- especially belly rubs. And when their hackles go up, it means you found their happy spot. Whissel started the nonprofit to help expose the pet-pig myth.

“There’s no such thing as a micropig, a teacup pig, a pixie pig, a pocket pig, whatever the breeders choose to call them,” Whissel said.

In fact, some pot-bellied pigs can grow to 300 pounds. Other animals do live on the farm, keeping the pigs company. While these snouts of fury do a lot of sniffing, there is one thing they don’t do, that a lot of people might they think do…

“They really don’t oink,” Whissel said.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.