By Amy Farnworth
A seven-year-old girl has struck up a very unusual friendship – she’s best mates with a 43 stone pig called Rocky.
Alice, from Walsall, West Mids, has helped to raise Rocky since he was born, and enjoys nothing more than treating him like a human.
The school girl plaits his hair, brushes his coat, and washes his trotters; and even feeds him cake when he’s hungry.
And the two- and a half year old Gloucestershire pig is so close to his owner that he lets her apply sun tan lotion to his back, and listens to her when she sings and talks to him.
Alice’s mother, Lara Mansfield, said: “Rocky and Alice are best mates; they’ve got a really good bond.
“When they’re together their temperament is great and he lets her do just about anything to him and never complains.
“Alice will sing to him and chat to him, and she really loves to run round the garden with him and pretend she’s taking him for a walk.”
Not only is Rocky best mates with Alice, but one of the family dogs likes to muscle in on the friendship too.
The Mansfield’s Labrottie, Bruno, is a trusty side-kick of the two pals, and Lara thinks his mannerisms may have rubbed off on the enormous pig.
Lara, a chef, said: “Rocky is best mates with Bruno, as well as Alice. In fact, he’s actually more like a dog than he is a pig.
“When they run round the garden together, instead of making snorting noises, Rocky will bark like a dog.
“Bruno will lick Rocky’s face and then Rocky will lick Bruno’s face. It’s hilarious.”
Rocky has been in the Mansfield family since he was born, and Alice has practically grown up with him by her side.
Standing a staggering 3ft tall and weighing in at around 43 stone, Rocky almost reaches Alice’s shoulders.
But despite him being a pretty big fella already, Lara says he’s still got a lot of growing to do.
“He always looks a lot smaller in photos but he has got a lot more growing to do – he has only just started teething.”
Lara said that she always wanted a pet pig when she was younger but her mother wouldn’t let her have one.
The 31 year old said: “Because I wasn’t allowed to have a pig when I was little I thought it would be nice to let Alice have one, and seeing the bond between them is just great.”
The relationship between Alice and Rocky is so special that the pig even lets the seven year old dress him up.
And this is something that has made all Alice’s school friends insanely jealous.
Lara said: “When it was the Royal Wedding, we dressed Rocky up in a Union Jack.
“Alice took photos into school to show her friends and the reaction was unreal.
“They were so jealous and now they all want pet pigs of their own.
“I don’t think their parents are too happy though; they think a pig would cause too much mess, which is just not true, as he’s actually cleaner than the dog!”
Explaining that Rocky really doesn’t take a lot of looking after, Lara says that Alice would love nothing more than to take Rocky for walks just like she does with Bruno.
“We’ve got a walking license for Rocky, and Alice loves walking him round the garden, but at 43 stone, we think he might be just a bit too big for her to take him down the local park at the moment.”