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Groundhog day Meet the pampered pigs who watch TV with family in Dublin home

Hubby brings home the bacon for birthday present

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Dotty and Truffles in the kitchen.

Dotty and Truffles in the kitchen.

Dotty and Truffles in the kitchen.

Meet the couple whose pet pigs love to hog the limelight in front of the TV in their living room.

Dotty and Truffles are set to become social media stars after their owners were inundated with requests for the latest updates on their antics.

The one-year-old pet pigs live with Cormac O'Connor, his wife Emma Attley, their three children and a menagerie of other animals at Ballykea near Skerries in north Co Dublin.

Ginger-coloured Dotty is a Kunekune, while black-skinned Truffles is a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. Both weigh about 70kgs each (150lbs).

"I've had pet pigs before, pot bellied ones and Cormac bought these for me for my birthday - that's what I got for my birthday, two pigs," laughs Emma.

"We got them when one was seven weeks and one was eight weeks, they were quite small."

They have now grown into the size of small children and love hanging out with Cormac and Emma, and their three kids Alex (22), Ava (18) and Finn (16).

"They're both girls and love each other," smiles Emma. "One will call out for the other. One will get stressed out if the other is missing and they'll call for each other.

"The pot belly would be a bit more flighty with people, she'd be a bit more strange with people.

"They are quite shortsighted. So they depend on their nose and their hearing; they have very good hearing and sense of smell. Once you give them a couple of minutes, they will smell you. The flighty one will go over to you."

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Cormac and Emma with their pigs Dotty and Truffle.

Cormac and Emma with their pigs Dotty and Truffle.

Cormac and Emma with their pigs Dotty and Truffle.

The pigs have their own pen at the back of the house, but enjoy joining the family in the living room to chill out.

"Truffles comes over and roars at the door and if I don't answer one door she walks around the house and goes to the other door 'til somebody gets up and lets her in," explains Emma.

"She will grunt first and then if she isn't getting attention then it turns to a scream, she gets louder until she gives you the attention she wants.

"They could come in for hours, or just for a few minutes, and usually like to lie on the dog's bed in front of the fire and TV."

They also love outdoor life.

"They love sunbathing, during good weather they like sunning themselves," adds Emma. "They are very clean animals. They will root in the garden. If they get sunburned that's the only reason they will roll in the mud."

The pigs also are not fussy about their diet.

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The pigs with one of the chickens.

The pigs with one of the chickens.

The pigs with one of the chickens.

"Its mostly chicken feed I give them, and barley," she reveals. "The compost bin is obsolete, as they will pretty much eat anything. You don't feed them pig meat themselves!"

Kunekune are docile by nature and are primarily associated with New Zealand, with their name originating from the Maori language, meaning 'fat and round'.

Females weigh an average of 100 to 175lbs, while males can go to 250lbs, and can grow up to 24 inches tall. They have short, upturned snouts that discourage rooting.

Kunekune are grazing pigs and their meat is red and like steak. They also produce lard which can be used in cooking, baking and soap making.

Vietnamese pot bellied pigs are smaller and are black, with a low hanging belly from which they get their name. They are popular in Vietnam, raised for meat, and became popular in western countries in the 1980s as a pet.

The family also own lizards, geese, ducks, chickens, hives of bees and three dogs.

"The dogs play with them and they chase each other around the garden," giggles Emma.

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Dotty the pig enjoys her newfound fame

Dotty the pig enjoys her newfound fame

Dotty the pig enjoys her newfound fame

"I randomly put up a picture of one of the pigs in the house and people think I'm mad. Next thing I got a phone call from someone saying 'you're after brightening my day, we are being stuck in lockdown and I was banging my head in lockdown and you are after giving me a laugh'. They said 'you should set up your own page'. I was going 'are you have a laugh?'

"My son Alex turned around to me and said 'Mam, I follow two ducks on Instagram!'"

Emma has no problem with eating rashers and sausages, though.

Giggles

"I don't mind pork but one thing I can't eat is lamb," she admits. "I had a pet sheep years ago when I was a child and I can't eat lamb. I had bottle fed him.

"He was headbutting my mother all of the time. He was sent over to my father's sister, who had a farm. We were over to go and visit him every week and he was out of control. So that was the end of him."

She giggles when asked if the hogs have seen the movie Babe yet.

"They probably wouldn't see it as they shortsighted," she chuckles.

"They are more intelligent than dogs. They say dogs have the intelligence of a two-year-old child, a pig would be a three-year-old child."

Cormac, who is originally from Swords, works as a warehouse operative for a pharmaceutical company. He's delighted he got Emma the pigs for her unusual birthday present.

"The whole family loves them," he beams. "They'll eat anything, once they don't see it alive, they don't mind."

  • Readers can now follow their antics on Instagram on @attleys_animals

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