The back story of Penelope the Pig: Her snacks, quirks and, yes, pedicures

The first day of classes comes with its share of stress, but when students caught sight of a pig on campus, some of that pressure faded away. While it’s not uncommon to see a squirrel or dog on Delaware Valley University’s quad, it is a little unusual to see a pig.

Unique is DelVal’s calling card. The pig named Penelope is owned by Broc Sandelin, the Dean of the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. I had to opportunity to talk with Dean Sandelin about DelVal’s notorious pig to find out more about her.

Q: What is Penelope’s full name?

A: Her full name is Penelope Ann Sandelin.

Q: How old is she?

A: She is 11 years old.

Q: She sounds like a handful, does she eat ‘pig food’ or do you cook for her?

A: She eats a commercial pig feed made specifically for Pot-Bellied pigs. She also gets vegetables and fruits to supplement, as snacks.

Q: How did you get Penelope? It’s not often people have pot-bellied pigs as pets?

A: She was bought by a couple that lived on a beach in California, and she quickly outgrew their condo. Penelope was donated to the petting farm my wife managed in California and quickly imprinted on my wife, Lerae. Penelope came with us when we moved to Pennsylvania.

Q: Can you tell me what it’s like to live with her?

A: She’s very habitual, but she’s also like a toddler. She has a feeding schedule, 6:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 3:30 p.m. She lets you know when it’s time to eat. She will not squeal, rather mooing and grunting. She’ll give you a little love nudge with her snout to remind you that it’s time for food.

Q: What is her style routine? I noticed the bow and the pedicure.

A: She gets her hooves trimmed every six months or so. She gets a pedicure once a month in a holiday theme.

Q: She seems like she’s a funny little addition to the house, does she have any friends?

A: Yes, my dog Cooper. He acts as Penelope’s emotional support animal. They tend to get along very well, as long as food is not involved.

Q: I also noticed the harness, is she trained?

A: Yes, it took cheerios and a lot of patience.

Q: What did you notice about the students when they met Penelope on campus?

A: They were shocked to see a pig on campus and were very excited, albeit a little confused. She was on a leash and just roaming around the quad; it wasn’t normal.

Q: I was shocked when I saw her. What are some of her favorites?

A: Her favorite foods are popcorn, Cheerios and peanut butter. Her favorite activity is just being herself. She loves to eat, sleep, graze, and sunbathe.

Q: Does she have a favorite toy? It seems like she’s a pig that would like toys.

A: Not really, she prefers pillows and blankets.

Q: She’s very fashionable, the yellow, green and white bow was eye catching. Does she have a favorite fashion item

A: Yes, she loves her bows.

I wanted to thank Dean Sandelin for letting me learn more about this adorable campus visitor. Keep your eyes peeled for Penelope, she tends to make random appearances!

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