While the Oval can be a paradise for dogs begging for attention, one pet has been hogging the love.
When Michaela Wallace, a second-year in animal science who aspires to be a large animal veterinarian, and Ryan Bridenstine, a third-year in molecular genetics, decided to get a teacup pig named “Calvin,” they had no idea how popular he would be with fellow students.
Wallace and Bridenstine, who are dating and live together, own Calvin together.
Calvin frequents the Oval, and Bridenstine said almost everyone has the same reaction.
“Mostly girlish screams, like, ‘Oh my God, can I touch your pig?’ Or they stand about 30 feet away and try to sneak a picture, it’s creepy,” Bridenstine said.
Wallace said the attention from the students is great, while Bridenstine said he was not ready for the reactions Calvin was going to bring.
“It’s unexpected,” Bridenstine said. “It brightens OSU’s campus one smile at a time.”
The decision to get a pig was not a difficult one for the couple.
“I grew up with farm animals and always wanted something that could be inside the house, so when I found out there were teacup pigs, I kind of fell in love with them,” Wallace, who grew up on a farm, said. “I also went online and decided that I really wanted one and he (Bridenstine) definitely convinced me to go get him (Calvin), so yep, then we got a potbelly pig.”
Wallace said owning a pig can be high maintenance, but having Calvin is almost like having a cat.
“Well, (Calvin) requires a lot more attention, he definitely is always needing someone there. Even if you’re not paying attention to him, he squeals at you. He is really the same as a cat because he is litter trained, loves to cuddle. He will crawl all over the place, and all over your face when you’re laying down,” she said.
Wallace said the most difficult part of adjusting to life with Calvin was training him to use a new litter box.
“He came litter box trained, but being in a new place, he has had to learn where his litter box was, and he throws a fit sometimes and will pee right in front of the litter box instead of in it,” she said.
A Twitter account, @OSU_Oval_Pig, advertises when students can find Calvin on the Oval.
Wallace and Bridenstine created the Twitter page for Calvin so students who wanted to keep tabs on Calvin could. The tweets range from what Calvin is eating to when he is going to the vet to when he will be headed to the Oval next, as well as a variety of pictures of him.
Mary Matusz, a first-year in international studies, said she went to the Oval one day just because she had heard he was going to be there.
“He’s so adorable. My roommate follows him on Twitter and she called me and was like, ‘I don’t know what you are doing with your life right now, but you need to see the Oval Pig,’” Matusz said.
Wallace said having Calvin around helps relieve stress.
“He just makes you feel better,” she said. “I know I have a bio exam tonight, but we have a pig. My life is OK.”
Having a pet in college can be difficult for some students but Bridenstine said they make sure Calvin is comfortable when he and Wallace are away.
“We put up little baby gates and he’s got a sleeping bag in there and a tea jug we fill up with hot water so he has something to cuddle against,” Bridenstine said.
Calvin is 5 months old and weighs about 7 pounds, and is expected to weigh about 40 pounds when fully grown in approximately three years.