A sizable group of neighbors gathered on a porch late morning Thursday in St. Paul, near Victoria Street and Grand Avenue. And it wasn’t just to enjoy the unseasonable warmth.
“I thought they were looking at a dog,” Vanessa Beardsley said. “And I realized: It was a pig.”
Neighbors documented the pig visiting a brownstone apartment building and finally the yard of Elite Empower, an addiction treatment center on Grand.
“Our clients went on break and they’re like, ‘Oh my God, Ava, you gotta come see: There’s a pig outside,’” said Ava Drake, licensed alcohol and drug counselor at Elite Empower.
Drake, along with Beardsley and the rest of the newfound group, had no clue who the pig’s owner might be. Some folks made phone calls to find out, one to animal control; others gifted their Minnesota niceness — a banana, a scratch, offers to “take it home because it was really cute,” she said.
“He was really cute,” Beardsley said, before anyone knew he was indeed she. “I did yell ‘sooie!’ to get him to come, but he didn’t come.” Sooie is a call for pigs, similar to “giddyup” for horses.
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Shortly after, pig — later determined to be 15-month-old mini pig Rue — reunited with human, Sarah Garner, thanks to a neighbor. Her mini-adventure was over.
“I received a call from my amazing neighbor, Becky, who got her to go back into our yard. She’s familiar with her and thinks it’s pretty cool to have a pig living next to her,” said Garner, who lives across the alley from where Rue was found.
Garner said she’d been raking the yard earlier that morning. If you could ask Rue, the pig might say her mom had taken over yard work duties for Rue, who Garner says is “a great lawn-mower.” That’s when Rue made the move.
Her “sweet, smart” Rue snuck out the back fence, vacating her backyard duties. She was gone for less than ten minutes.
“Rue rarely escapes and if she does, it’s food motivated. Rue thinks there might be better grass in the alley,” Garner said. “She’s actually not a fan of being away from home. I’ve been trying to get her to walk on a leash, but that’s going to take more time.”
The little pig spends the most of her time inside and is treated like a dog, getting cuddles and pets when she approves.
“You kind of have to work for her affection. She has to come to you, you can’t always go to her,” Garner said.
That’s right — much like her foray onto the greener grasses of Grand Avenue, Rue does things on her own terms.
Editor’s note (Nov. 14, 2022): Hear the audio story, which includes an exclusive interview with Rue, by using the media player atop this page.