- Sean Cayton
Steve and Priscilla Valentine have been touring the country with their pet pigs for a decade. They've been on the road ever since Priscilla discovered that their prized pig Nellie, who lives indoors with them as a house pet, could perform dog tricks.
Since their first appearance at a birthday party their performing pig show has expanded to a full-time job that keeps the couple on the road for half the year.
Their big break came when the couple sent a tape of Nellie to America's Funniest Home Videos and won the grand prize. Calls from Phil Donahue, Montel Williams and even David Letterman followed.
Priscilla started teaching her pet pigs tricks to keep them from getting bored. "These animals are sensitive. They're intelligent and they have merit. They're very much like humans. They cry. They seem to laugh. They use logic. They're creative, in bad ways of course. They'll learn to open the refrigerator. Having a pig is like having a 2-year old child for 15 years."
The Valentine swine recently performed at the El Paso County Fair and Priscilla says they'll be on the road for the rest of their lives.
"We're having a ball. Our doctor says we're going to live longer if we never retire. And the pigs love it."
-- story by Eddie Kovsky,
photo by Sean Cayton