Dawn Bleeker had always loved pigs. Although Dawn never owned a pig, or even a dog for that matter, she and her husband Paul took the leap into miniature pig ownership about a year and a half ago. Their tiny bundle of “joy” arrived April 5, 2012 via airplane from Texas. Weighing a mere 5 lbs. and 2 oz., the seven and a half week old mini pig was welcomed into their home and their hearts. Naturally, they called her Joy.
The decision to own a mini pig was not an impulsive one. Dawn, Paul, and their middle daughter, Michaela, spent two years educating themselves about mini pigs. Two members of the Bleeker family possessed severe dander allergies to common pets like cats and dogs. Miniature pigs, because they have hair instead of fur, were an allergy-friendly option. In Dawn’s research, she discovered that her Iowa town of Newton had an ordinance prohibiting pigs as pets. The city code stated, “All swine are dangerous,” yet allowed other exotic pets, such as six foot Pythons. The Bleekers sent a letter to the City Administrator asking for a change in the City Code regarding miniature pigs. Eight months and multiple meetings later, the Newton City Council ended up approving mini pigs as pets and Joy was welcomed into the Bleeker home.
Now Joy has firmly established herself not only in the Bleeker family, but also in the town of Newton. Paul and Dawn purchased the local movie theatre, The Capitol II Theatre, and made Joy the mascot. Their slogan, “Where every movie brings out Joy”, features a picture of Joy in a custom created usher costume. Joy can often be found greeting movie-goers in front of the theatre. Joy is a very busy mini pig who also spends her time giving back to the community as a therapy pig. She visits with many of the local nursing homes, daycares, preschools, and special care facilities, where she performs tricks while wearing custom designed costumes. Joy also enjoys attending and performing at birthday parties. While Joy loves all of these activities, her favorite past times are napping, snuggling, eating, and spending time at home with her family. When Joy isn’t spreading her special light all over the town of Newton, you can find her snuggled into a bed or the warmth of one of her humans. Joy is a happy pig. More importantly, she is a well-trained, well-adjusted pig who has successfully brought her own special brand of “joy” to all five members of the Bleeker family.
20 Ways to Bring out the “Joy” in Your Mini Pig