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Pampered piglet gains worldwide popularity

By Kathy Antoniotti
Akron Beacon Journal
LIFE PETS-PIGLET-FAME 1 AK
PHIL MASTURZO - MCT
Mindi Reinbolt and her half-mini, half-Juliana pig, Penelopi, enjoy time in the pig’s totally pink bedroom at their home in Ohio. The pig recently gained international celebrity status.

AKRON, Ohio As divas go, Miss Piggy’s got nothing on this porcine princess. A natural ham, the piglet poses for pictures as she munches on pears in her positively pink bedroom.

But her favorite food is, of course, pizza.

Penelopi lives with Mindi and Brett Reinbolt in Akron. The petite porker gained celebrity status recently when the United Kingdom newspaper Daily Mail featured a photo spread of her that would be the envy of any Hollywood starlet. A German magazine also planned to publish a story about her.

“A reporter tracked Penelopi down on Facebook and contacted me in June,” said Reinbolt.

The “Penelopi the Pig Reinbolt” Facebook page has more than 1,540 “likes,” and on Instagram, “Penelopipig” has more than 900 followers.

On a recent day Penelopi was dressed as an Ohio State fan in a scarlet and black tutu and a red-knit sweater. Stylish silver-polished toenails peeked out from under sparse white fur on her legs.

Brett Reinbolt, a firefighter-paramedic, customized a bedroom in the family’s home with a Dutch door so Penelopi doesn’t feel closed off while the couple are at work.

The pampered piggy’s bedroom is a vision in pink sparkles. A wardrobe is filled with exclusively made outfits by Princess Fur Fashions.

The litter-trained piglet is currently learning to play a miniature piano.

Mindi’s husband was skeptical when she told him she wanted to buy the tiny pig, she said.

“That’s his little princess now,” Mindi said.

To keep her warm on chilly nights, Brett installed a small electric fireplace that flickers cheerily beside a pink princess playhouse that holds her bed. She snuggles in – what else? – pink fluffy blankets.

Store brands just won’t do for this diva, said Mindi.

“She doesn’t like cheap Wal-Mart blankets and she won’t eat off-brand Cheerios,” she said.

The Reinbolts purchased the 15-month-old Juliana and Mini mixed-breed pig in May for $600. The breed will live 15 to 20 years, said Mindi. Penelopi is almost grown and currently weighs just over 13 pounds.

A sign serves as a warning to unsuspecting would-be pig owners and hangs on Penelopi’s bedroom door.

It reads: “I’m a luxury few can afford.”

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