Amy the pig was the star pupil in dog-obedience class four years ago. After showing her stuff in shows and visiting retirement homes, she's retired now, rooting around with a half-sister and friend and just being a pig.

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These truly are pigs in a blanket. They also have sheets, a couch, a television, mattresses and an in-out pet door. Amy, half-sister Macy and friend Sunshine have their own “wreck” room in Lori Stock’s home in Auburn. You might remember Amy as the star pupil in dog-obedience class four years ago. She was a brilliant student, quickly learning things pigs don’t normally do, like sitting, fetching and running an obstacle course, including the teeter-totter. This led to appearances at the annual Seattle Kennel Club dog show. And she did therapy work as a surprise guest at senior homes. Now, though only 4½ years old, Amy has retired from performing and can be just a pig. These three not-so-little pigs (Amy weighs 250 pounds) can choose to be inside or out with the convenience of a large dog door. There are four-plus acres to roam and root. “They love dandelion roots,” Stock says, and the pigs snout them up. The upside: no dandelions to remove. The downside: the acreage looks as if an invasion of moles is taking place. When it’s time for lunch, the three line up at the glass door in anticipation while Stock prepares it. Amy, Macy and Sunshine eat three square meals a day, which include nutritional pellets, apples and carrots. “They don’t like broccoli or asparagus, however.” Stock does not eat pork products — it seems inappropriate. This is the year of the pig in the Chinese zodiac. According to myth, it became the 12th symbol because the pig was the last to arrive at the emperor’s party, having overslept. Stock says she hopes the occasion doesn’t lead to pig adoptions. It’s not for everybody: “They’re easy to train and hard to live with.” “While they housebroke themselves (‘they don’t want to dirty the environment they sleep in’) pigs have special needs.” They have many traits of loyal dogs. But “they need room to roam. They’re fun animals but do need management. They’re active, grazing animals. They need fresh air.” A well-cared-for pig can live to be 20. Their daily needs mean no vacations, “only staycations.” If you’re thinking of getting one, Stock advises, “don’t.”