Potbellied pig

One day, I was shopping at a yard sale. A woman approached me and said, "I know who you are, and I know how much you love pigs." I just laughed it off. A few days later, the woman called my office and told me her son had a potbellied pig, which he had to find a home for.

I asked a lot of questions: name, color and weight—and I told the woman bring the pig to my office. A few hours later, Gordita, the beautiful, white pig arrived.

I nicknamed the pig Dita. She is a riot. She loves to go swimming in our pool and play with our English cocker, Buddy Holly. I am so glad I adopted this great companion.

— Melanie Zysk of Palm City, Florida

I have a hedgehog named Gephi. She is the cutest rodent ever, and she loves to eat mealworms and sunflower seeds. She also enjoys long walks in her wheel.

She may be cute, but Gephi does get startled easily and might poke you with her spiky fur.

P.S. My three cats love her!

— Kristin Perez of Chicago
Pygmy goat

Tumbleweed is our 2-year-old goat. He was born one of three pygmy goats, which is unusual in itself; typically, goats have only single or twin babies. Tumbleweed apparently did not have enough room in his mother's uterus, so he was born with only three legs. We held him under his mother until he could stand on his own to nurse.

Out of all the goats we have, he is the only one who can jump over his pen. He runs to us when we come home from work. Since we rescue other animals, we knew when he was born that we had to help him. He is the sweetest thing and the favorite of all who visit our farm.

— Pam Godsell of Muskego, Wisconsin

Big Bertha came into my life about seven years ago. She is a beautiful, big Australorp hen. She is a house chicken and quite the ruler of the roost.

After getting up from her perch in the garage, she comes around to the sliding glass door and knocks (pecks) several times to come in. I immediately go to the freezer and take out some corn, which I heat in the microwave just so. After I blow on it to make sure it's cool enough, I place it on the floor for Bertha to eat. After her breakfast, she goes into my bedroom and jumps up on the dresser. Here she can spend hours talking to herself in the mirror.

I have many wonderful stories about Bertha—from when she raised day-old chicks from the feed store, to sending me to the emergency hospital for pecking my eyeball, to being a faithful companion to my paralyzed Welsh corgi. When the corgi died, she went into a two-month depression, losing most of her feathers. She is a wonderful pet with a great personality. She's the love of my life along with my husband Larry and labradoodle Nina.

— Jan Bourret of Fresno, California
Giant M'loot Malamute

I have a beautiful giant M'loot malamute named Ninja. He is roughly 175 pounds and gets mistaken for a bear when we are walking down the street. He is a beautiful and unique pet. Thankfully, for his size, he is a very loving and docile animal. He enjoys being cuddled and makes a great pillow.

He also has quite a personality and will sometimes "talk back" when we tell him to do something. If he ever gets in trouble and we raise our voices to him, his feelings get very hurt (seriously) and he finds the farthest corner in the house to curl up in and hide.

— Tracy Johnston of Rosetown, Saskatchewan

I have rats. No, not an infestation...they're my pets! Rats have a bad reputation, but comparing a wild rat to a domesticated pet rat is like comparing coyotes to golden retrievers. Rats are intelligent, clean (yes, clean!) and affectionate pets and are relatively low maintenance.

Mine are always excited to see me when I wake up in the morning and when I come home from work, will sleep on my lap or shoulder while I watch TV and one is even trained to come when I call him and will follow me around the house when he's let out of the cage.

They love attention, and many will "groom" your hands as though you're one of them. I love my rats just as you love your dogs and cats, and though some might find it strange or unbelievable, just remember—animals can inhabit your heart, regardless of size or shape.

— Alyssa Kelly of Florida

I have 44 critters total at this time—I don't keep count, but my daughter does! Of these one is a bearded dragon and another is a turkey.

Goobles the turkey loves attention. He follows us around and doesn't like to stay at the barn anymore, especially after his turkey friend got eaten by coyotes. Goobles now roosts on the front porch, resting on the wicker bench facing the picture window so he can watch us inside. He'll peck on the window to get our attention.

Goobles doesn't like my husband or son; he chases both whenever they're outside. If they are cutting wood or doing something else, we have to pen up Goobles so he doesn't become our Thanksgiving dinner!

— Jean Smith of Middletown, Ohio
Hairless rat

Do we have unusual pets? Wow, what a question! Let's see—how about a fennec fox, an arctic fox, kinkajous, hedgehogs, bearded dragons, hairless rats, sugar gliders, about 44 guinea pigs...and much more! Actually, we operate the only Exotic Pet Sanctuary in the United States and possibly the world that cares for the varieties and number of pets that we do!

— Bet Randall of German Valley, Illinois

My unusual pet is a dog, but he is a very special dog. Candy is a paraplegic corgi. He was injured four and a half years ago, but since then he has earned his Canine Good Citizen, his therapy dog certification, his Rally Novice title, and he still does agility.

Candy has the most upbeat, positive attitude that you will ever find in a dog (or person!) and is a wonderful ambassador for people and pets with disabilities.

— Bobbie Mayer of Fresno, California

Pygmy goat and llama

What do you give the dad who has everything? A little pet goat, of course! Meet Wilson, the Kirkpatrick family's little pygmy goat! Wilson is a fun-loving little friend who loves to eat her way through our pasture and walk on her hind legs for treats!

Her best friends are Kokanee and Bruno, two llamas that live in our backyard. On any given day, you can find little Wilson snuggling up to one of her llama brothers or showing off for the neighborhood kids who come to play! 

— Tina Kirkpatrick of Chicago, Illinois

As you can see, Puggy is very unusual. I guess his Texas-size tongue is a dead giveaway. I've had Puggy about six years, and his background is unknown. He was a stray dog that wandered up to my cousin's house, so she took him in until she could find him a good home—which was eventually with me. And that's how I came upon being the owner of such an amazing and wondrous dog!

I say this because any one thing that can bring a smile to someone's face is a positive contribution, and that's always a good thing. I feel Puggy is helping to make the world a better place one smile at a time. Puggy should serve as a reminder to us all that every living thing on earth is different and not always perfect, and that it is nature's way and the reason Puggy came to us like he is.
— Becky Stanford of Fort Worth, Texas

Do you have a unique or unusual pet? Send us your stories and photos!