Johnny and June the ‘best’ pets

by Callie Sterling
Jaison Sterling photos

Kamren and Ryan Gatens are parents of five — three children of their own and two pet pigs. Johnny and June may not look like typical household pets, but the Gatens family of Rose Bud could not be happier with their choice.  

“Johnny and June are by far the best pets we have ever had,” Kamren said. “They are actually a lot easier than most pets. They are so smart.”

June is a 1-year-old Juliana breed, and Johnny is a Potbelly pig under the age of 1.

“June turned a year old in April and Johnny is probably around 10 months old,” Kamren said. “Johnny was a rescue pig that we got from Jonesboro. We are not sure of his exact age, but he is less than a year old.”

The lengthy life expectancy was a factor in the Gatens’ choice to add pet pigs to their family. Pet pigs have a life expectancy of 18-20 years.

“We liked that they were expected to live such a long time,” Kamren said.

The Gatens family was able to potty-train both Johnny and June in one night. The pair can also do tricks such as dancing, sitting on command, spinning and giving kisses.

“They are so much easier to train than other pets,” Kamren said. “They are almost too smart for their own good. They can sit, dance, spin, open cabinets, get into the fridge, and June gives kisses. Johnny is not as socialized as June just yet. Since he was a rescue, he was not as socialized as a baby.”

Surprisingly, pigs are clean animals if kept inside. The Gatens family has no complaints of Johnny and June carrying a foul odor.

“They are so clean,” Kamren said. “They don’t shed like dogs or cats, which is so nice. They don’t smell bad and they are very clean unless they get dirty outside. June sleeps in the bed with me.”

For entertainment, Johnny and June enjoy watching TV, swimming, listening to music and doing tricks for treats.

“When it is warm, we put a pool out for them and they enjoy going swimming,” Kamren said. “They love getting treats and doing tricks.”

Anyone who is considering adding a pet pig to their household should have a patient and loving personality.

“They are so wonderful but they can be manipulative,” Kamren said. “They know what to do in order to get their way. They can sense emotions and know what makes their owners mad. Johnny and June often use their intelligence to their advantage to try and get what they want. However, they are amazing pets once they are trained.”