When residents at the SharonBrooke Senior Assisted Residence in Newark, Ohio, head to breakfast each morning, they’re greeted by a very special employee: a teacup pig named Roger. Just 5 months old, the little guy came to the facility as a baby, and has been lifting spirits ever since.
“We wanted to get a house pet for the residents,” executive director Amy Twyman tells PEOPLEPets.com. “In doing our research, we realized that teacup pigs weren’t just hypoallergenic, but litterbox trained, very clean and a good size – below 35 lbs. What more can you ask for?” Twyman and her staff found Roger in nearby Lancaster, where he was put up for adoption by a woman who could no longer care for him.
Now, Roger lives full-time at SharonBrooke. When he’s not sleeping in his “great big circle” of an area near the front door, he’s walking the halls with residents (on a leash, of course) or roaming free in the fenced-in backyard. The staff helps with his care, but it’s the residents who’ve really raised him so far. “He doesn’t need to be on a bottle, but we’ve kept him on a couple a day because the residents enjoy it so much,” Twyman says. They also slip him leftover fruits and veggies that supplement his diet of Shredded Wheat and Cheerios.
Home to 118 seniors, the family-owned SharonBrooke Center has been around for 23 years. It’s the first assisted living center in the state of Ohio, and houses a movie theater, Wii room, ice cream parlor, aviary (where Roger loves hanging out with the birds) and more.
Luckily for Roger – named by residents in honor of the home’s owner – not one person has complained about his presence. “Everyone has taken to him – he’s the center of attention,” laughs Twyman, adding that random passers-by have even popped in to greet the pig. “He’s somewhat of a celebrity.”
So is a second pig on the horizon? “Right now, one is enough,” says Twyman. “We’re a unique facility, so we needed a unique pet.”