This is Ziggy.
He isn’t just any old farm-roaming pig. The lovable 250+ pound porker has traveled around the Virgin Islands and all over the U.S. with his family.
When he was born, his adopted mom, Kristen Hartness, was told that he was going to stay a small tea-cup piggy and wouldn’t grow any larger than 20 pounds. But after a few months passed, the mini-oinker had already started to put on weight like crazy.
He was over 20 pounds in no time, and after doing some research, Hartness came to the realization that Ziggy was not actually a tea-cup piggy as he’d been advertised. He was going to keep on growing until he was at least four years old.
Ziggy just kept on growing and growing…
Now, eight years later, he weighs in at a whopping 250+ pounds. Living in the Virgin Islands at the time, Hartness knew right away that finding a place to rent with a pet of his enormous size would prove to be challenging. Luckily, she had a local friend who let her and Ziggy stay with them, right beside the beach in St. John.
For Ziggy, who loved to swim in the waves and roll in the sand on the beach, it was pretty much like living the dream. Throughout the next few years, he happily greeted passengers that were coming in off the local ferries, and his charming personality earned him donations that were then donated towards a variety of great causes.
It was like living in paradise…
About four years later, their home was sold, and Hartness and Ziggy found themselves needing a new place to live. Without any options left in St. John that would take Ziggy too, Hartness decided it would be best to pack their things and head back home to the states.
But trying to get a plump, 250-pound pig all the way across the ocean is not as easy as you might think. She had to spend a good chunk of her savings to rent a private plane that would fly them both back to the United States.
But it was well worth it, of course. He’s part of the family!
Once they got back, Ziggy, Hartness, and her fiancé, Jay Yontz, needed to figure out where to go next. After deciding they didn’t want to settle in one place, they traveled down to Sarasota, Florida and bought themselves a motorhome.
Earlier in 2016, Ziggy had already been a viral sensation online when he made a hilarious addition to their charming engagement photos:
After living in the warm tropics of the Virgin Islands for so long, they were used to 80-degree weather everyday. But since they got to the states in the middle of winter, they decided to kick off their trip in the south, so it would be easier for Ziggy to adjust to the cooler temperatures.
Together, the trio has traveled an epic coast-to-coast journey through over 17 states and all different types of terrain. On their trip, they’ve aimed to spread awareness of animal rights and veganism, and met so many amazing new friends along the way.
Ziggy was captured here exploring Monument Valley, by the Arizona-Utah border:
And here he was cooling off in a lake on a hot summer day:
Here he was plopped in front of the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas—a must-see off the historic Route 66:
They have even made Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts for Ziggy, and thousands of fans already follow their adventures. After all, how could you not love the big guy?
Now that he’s gotten to experience life to its fullest, the adorable swine is now taking a break from life on the road, and working on a new chapter of his life.
He and his family are working to start their own animal sanctuary that will help care and rescue animals from slaughterhouses, animal testing labs, and other fellow pets who dramatically outgrew their advertised size.
If you’d like to learn more about this next phase of Ziggy’s life—and help support their wonderful new sanctuary—take a look at their website here.
They also have an IndieGoGo project where you can donate to their great cause.