By Stephanie Taylor, The Tuscaloosa News
Tuscaloosa, AL (AP) – Just like his namesake from the classic children’s book Charlotte’s Web, Wilbur is “some pig.’’
Animal control workers brought the stray pot-bellied pig to Metro Animal Shelter about two months ago. He’s not the first pig to show up at the shelter, but he’s quickly become the most popular.
“He’s so sweet. He just wants to get his belly rubbed,’’ said shelter director Jennifer Earp. “He nudges his toys around and he loves the water.’’
Wilbur was just 20 pounds at the time he arrived at the shelter and only a few months old.
Now, shelter workers estimate that he’s between 120 and 150 pounds and between four- and six-months old.
Pigs are naturally social, curious, smart and affectionate animals. Pot-bellied pigs can be territorial, and charge at humans or other animals to claim their space. Wilbur, however, runs toward humans because he wants a scratch on the head or to investigate their shoes.
Wilbur, chillin’ in his pool
“He’s not like any other pig we’ve had,’’ Earp said. “He’s so friendly and has such a great personality.’’
On Thursday afternoon, Wilbur wagged his tail and turned three quick circles when animal medical care technician Valerie Scott asked him to do his “pig jig.’’
“He really thinks he’s a dog,’’ she said.
Wilbur was picked up in the city limits, and had been neutered before he was lost or abandoned.
Workers first began contacting animal rescue groups to find a home for him, but none of the options have worked out. Rescuers are overburdened this time of year, and many don’t have space or experience to take care of a pig.
“We’ve had a good response, a lot of people are interested in Wilbur,’’ Earp said. “We want him to go to a farm environment, a place that can really accommodate his growth and will treat him as a pet. He needs more than a fenced-in backyard and someone who has had farm animals before and knows what it takes for their upkeep.’’
In “Charlotte’s Web,’’ the 1954 book by E.B. White, Wilbur is the runt of his litter, destined for slaughter until he befriends a spider named Charlotte who lives in his enclosure.
She weaves complimentary phrases into her webs, such as “Terrific’’, “Radiant’’ and “Some Pig!’’, which makes Wilbur a town celebrity and spares him from death.
The real Wilbur has gotten plenty of attention this week after Earp posted a photo of him hanging out in a baby pool filled with water. He appeared on several newscasts Thursday, which Earp hopes will help find him the right home.
“Hopefully, people will be able to see video of him and see how much personality he has and realize that he’d make a great pet,’’ she said.
Anyone interested in adopting Wilbur can call the shelter at 205-752-9101.