Until recently, novelist and writer Matt Whyman was probably best known for his children’s books and as the agony uncle for the girl’s magazine Bliss. All that has changed as his latest book, ‘OINK! My Life with Mini Pigs’, has become a best-seller.
He explains how the book came about, “When we were first married, Emma and I spent the first ten happy years living in inner city London and loved it; we had no fear of walking around at night or even the more deprived areas. Then we moved to the countryside in West Sussex, and spent the first 3 months absolutely terrified of the dark and silence. It was like the Blair Witch project every night. We thought the answer would be to get a big dog and bought a little white German Sheppard puppy. We had never owned an animal before and our fear soon went from the silence, to the responsibility of the dog. My wife became more and more keen on the idea of having an overstocked house; the four kids had a rabbit each, we had Sesi and I had a couple of rescued hens which I fenced off at the top of the garden. After a fox attack and several dead chickens one night I decided we needed an animal deterrent and read that foxes don’t like pigs. Emma researched the mini pigs and came home one day with two cute little pigs in a cat basket. I assumed they would go outside but they set up camp in my office. It wasn’t long before they drove me nuts; they hated the phone and would squeal when I tried to talk to anyone. I was trying to earn a living, it was difficult. They initially sat on the sofa with us but as they grew in size and confidence it wasn’t long before I had to fight for a place to sit, so one day I marched them down to an enclosure at the bottom of the garden and they have stayed there.
Matt continues, “They’re not difficult to keep but they do need attention and affection; keeping pet pigs is a real meeting of minds, they are very smart. Currently Butch and Roxi just sit under the oak tree waiting for the acorns to fall. It’s been a steep learning curve and basically I have learned it is best to do things like fencing properly and just once.
The animals have priority outside and have taken over the garden. There are rabbit runs everywhere, the chickens use the flowerbeds a dust-baths, the dogs have made their own tracks and the pigs have taken over the bottom of the garden but we love it.
“My wife obviously has a thing about mini animals as she recently came home with a mini sausage dog. We have called him Hercules as he is Sesi’s wingman.”
The animal-bound author is currently writing a follow up book called ‘Walking with Sausage Dogs’ and admitted, “ I must look hilarious walking a huge white German Sheppard and a little tiny sausage dog!”
OINK! has been recently been re-titled Pig in the Middle and is published world-wide. Matt concludes, “People love pigs and they do make great pets.”
Find out more at mattwhyman.blogspot.com