WHEN animal lover Janey Byrne brought home a cute little piglet called Meeka, she had no idea what a huge task she was taking on.
Meeka was sold to Jayne and her husband Dave as a ‘micro pig’ - a miniature breed of pig which normally does not grow bigger than a springer spaniel.
But before long, the couple from Laughterton near Gainsborough noticed Meeka was growing much quicker than expected.
“My friends would come round and say ‘are you sure she’s a micro pig?’ because she was just getting bigger and bigger,” said Janey, 43.
“I couldn’t see how fast she was growing because I was with her every day. But it soon became clear something wasn’t right.”
Now, aged one-and-a-half, Meeka weighs in at a whopping 17 stone and measures five feet long.
Janey and Dave’s attempts to contact the seller have been ignored, but they now know Meeka is in fact a Vietnamese pot belly pig.
Despite her size, and the logistics of keeping a huge swine indoors, Janey says she would never dream of trading her in for a slimmer model.
“I love her so much and if she was to be removed from me I think she would die of heartbreak,” said Janey, a receptionist for Lincolnshire County Council.
“I can’t stand people who get rid of animals like they are just toys.”
Meeka is certainly part of the family. And she knows her place like any well behaved pet.
She sleeps under the stairs and loves nothing more than relaxing on her fluffy pink rug.
Janey said: “She is so well trained and has a great sense of routine.”
“She knows when to get up in the morning and knows when me and Dave will be back from work. Then it’s tea time and most importantly snuggle time.”
Meeka also enjoys cuddling with Dave - a watch manager for Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue - while watching TV.
Said Janey: “She may be 17 stone but she’s a softie at heart.”
But despite being pampered rotten with pink polished trotters and massages courtesy of Janey, Meeka knows how to slum it.
“Meeka has her own little house outside for during the day when we’re at work,” said Janey.
Having a 17 stone pig around the house has not always been easy. Janey has been bitten and even dragged across the floor by her beloved pet.
And the cost of keeping her in food is soaring along with her size.
Janey explained: “We spend about £200 a month on sacks of apples, carrots and special dietary pig pellets.”
Meanwhile, bacon is off the menu at in the Byrne household - much to Dave’s despair.
Said Janey: “I’m a vegetarian and I can’t understand why anyone would eat an animal.”
“I won’t buy pork or bacon. If Dave wants to have a bacon buttie at work that’s his choice, but I won’t have it in the house.”
Janey says she has always wanted a pig as a pet, ever since she was a young girl. And the thought of getting a companion for Meeka is also very tempting.
“I sometimes think she is lonely and I wonder about getting her another little friend,” she said.
But with another year’s growth still to go, Dave and Janey have got their hands full for now.