By Lucy Notarantonio
A PIG has formed an unlikely friendship with a deformed wonky-faced dog – and the two couldn’t be happier.
One-year-old swine Pax was rescued from a breeder when she was just 12 weeks old and has been raised with a pack of rescue dogs in Oregon, US, ever since.
Rescue shelter owner Liesl Wilhardt, 50, had never considered owning a pig before but said Pax has fitted in perfectly, even learning dog commands and completed agility training courses.
Liesl’s pooch Picasso, two, previously shot to viral fame for his twisted upper mandible, leaving him with a bizarrely crooked face – and now the two’s adorable friendship is melting hearts the world over.
Leisl said: “Pax has never been around other pigs, so she thinks she is a dog too.
“I fell in love with her immediately, she is so intelligent and fitted in perfectly with my other dogs – who also aren’t your average looking pets.
“She is completely unafraid of dogs, since she was raised with my 10 dogs and at a dog rescue facility, she’s spent her whole life around dogs.
“Pax is most fond of my two rescued dogs – Picasso, who has a facial deformity where his upper mandible is twisted, and Wacko, eight, who’s mandible has been sliced off.
“Perhaps their unusual looks have brought them together.”
Leisl said Pax was picked up from a breeding farm where the animals were living ‘on top of each other’ and didn’t even have clean bowls to drink from.
Vets told her Pax was a Juliana Pot Bellied Pig – a breed which is meant to be a miniature size – and said she still loves the unusual pet despite her growing to full-sized hog.
The intelligent mammal is even taken out for walks on a lead with Leisl’s gang of 10 dogs on her own pink leash.
Leisl, who has Luvavble rescue centre since 1999 but has never had to care for a pig before, said: “I was disgusted to hear the breeder advised my friend who rescued Pax to feed her as little as possible if she would like her to remain small.
“We were not sure how big she was going to be, but it didn’t matter to me how big she got.
“Pax loves the agility courses and has never shown any fear of trying anything new. You can see her brain working, as she tries to figure out how to do something for the first time.
“She loves people and has never shown any fear or aggression toward anyone.
“She is very gentle and affectionate and like all pigs. She also loves to be rubbed and scratched, especially behind her ears and on her belly like a dog.
“I am so happy that I rescued her. Sadly, some people are breeding and selling baby pigs they call ‘teacup’ or ‘micro’ pigs, sometimes for a lot of money, so that they seem rare but actually these breeds don’t exist.”