It has long been said that dogs are man’s best friend.
But now there is a new twist to that tale – rather, tail – right here in greater La Conner.
Lori Nguyen of the La Conner Pub & Eatery staff recently brought home a baby crossbreed pig as a new pet and it has quickly become a friend to all – mostly to her eight-year-old son, Kao, but also to neighbors, co-workers, the family cats and even deer that meander into Nguyen’s side yard on Pioneer Parkway in Swinomish Village.
Nguyen acquired the popular Yoshi to help take away the sting from having lost one of her cats, 16-year-old Jackson, to old age.
“He was Kao’s first friend,” Nguyen told the Weekly News. “So, I knew I had to look for a new friend for my son. I didn’t think he was quite ready for a dog, so I thought a pig would be a good transition.”
It was no spur of the moment decision. Nguyen did plenty of homework, consulting several sources, extensive reading that confirmed the viability of pigs as pets.
“I read that they’re smart and friendly and good with kids,” she said.
She contacted a breeder on social media who was selling a litter of six. Nguyen said Yoshi was one of three sets of twins.
“It was all very informational,” said Nguyen, “and we’re still in contact. I’ve been sharing videos with her and it’s nice to talk back and forth with someone and get information when I have questions.”
“Jackson will never be replaced,” Nguyen stressed. “He was so devoted. He used to walk me to my car every day, but Yoshi has been a fun add-on.”
It was not hard deciding on a name for their new addition, said Nguyen.
“My son is a Super Mario fan,” she explained, “and Yoshi was Mario’s friend.”
And, speaking of friends, it was Nguyen’s friends who helped her build a tree-shaded pen with room for Yoshi to run and root and they often look after him when she is at work and Kao is in school. Nguyen was also gifted an Igloo dog shelter that is the ideal size for Yoshi.
For those times Pacific Northwest weather gets nippy – or worse – Nguyen has an indoor playpen for Yoshi where she says he can also “get ready for bedtime.”
Nguyen’s mother, Jenny, a La Conner High alum now residing in Mount Vernon, was not keen on the idea of a pet pig at first, but was among those won over by Yoshi.
“My mom,” Nguyen said, “comes over and feeds him celery, carrots and apples.”
Along with a steady daily diet of organic pellets, Yoshi has grown from 30 to 45 pounds in a few short weeks. Baled hay will soon be added to the menu, said Nguyen, who noted that Yoshi’s weight could end up ranging anywhere from 85 to 400 pounds.
Eating healthy has already produced noticeable benefits.
“I’m really proud of his coat,” said Nguyen. “With all the nutrients and supplements, he has a really nice coat.”
Nguyen’s research indicates Yoshi will continue growing for another five or six years. His life expectancy is between 10 and 15 years, spanning the time till Kao enters adulthood.
Yoshi is rarely lacking for company, even when Nguyen pulls a double shift at the Pub and Kao is in class. A friend last month took a picture of a deer in Nguyen’s yard peering at Yoshi in his pen. The Nguyen cats are constant companions as well.
All seem to be in their element.
“They like hanging out together,” Nguyen said.
The hope is that will be the case for a long time to come.