NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Animals of all kinds can do wonders for people recovering from illnesses or injuries, but one of them doesn’t quite blend in on the streets of Queens: Wilbur the pig.
Wilbur the pig’s story starts when Nadine Darsanlal got out of the Navy and she was in pain.
“I needed help,” she said.
Her service dog, Harvey, was there, but after a while, she said she figured he needed a companion.
Pigs can be a challenge when they’re young.
“Between the terrible two toddler stage and teething stage, you just want to pull your hair out,” Darsanlal told WCBS 880 reporter Alex Silverman in College Point.
“People associate the word ‘pig’ [with] messy, smelly,” she said. “He’s none of those things.”
But Wilbur can be a handful.
“Pigs are very stubborn. Hard-headed,” she said.
Wilbur follows Nadine and Harvey down the street without a leash, drinks apple juice from a baby bottle, and even stops for traffic.
“It gets me out there. It gets me going,” she said. “Exercise is good for me to get up and go instead of just being home. It gets my mind off of my ailments.”
What she really wants, though, is for Wilbur to help others as a therapy animal. But pet pigs are illegal in the city.
“Once I get the thumbs up from the Department of Health, then I’ll go to the next step,” she said. “I will go through anything just to get him certified.”
For now, she’s been taking him around to schools.
“Kids love him. The teachers love him,” she said. “I learn new things everyday from him.”