ZEELAND, Mich. - Mr. Chops has died.
The world's oldest living pig, who resided at the Critter Barn educational farm in Zeeland, died earlier this month, according to Critter Barn owner Mary Rottschafer.
She posted the following on her Facebook page on Tuesday:
"Mr. Chops, beloved Critter Barn Pot-Bellied Pig, died peacefully on Sunday afternoon, June 1, at the Critter Barn. He lived 21 years and 348 days, or 8,019 days, making him the oldest pig to ever live. He is survived by his owner, trainer and friend, Mary Rottschafer, director of the Critter Barn. Mr. Chops grew up in Mary's family in farmhouse at the Critter Barn, with her children, Elizabeth, Andrew and Joel."
His longevity is due to proper diet and the wonderful care he received from hundreds of Critter Crew members and staff. Mr. Chops entertained several generations of students and visitors to the Critter Barn. His daily performance highlighted the intelligence of hogs. He was an active participant at the farm until his retirement four years ago. Excellent care continued, under the direction of Dr. Kober of Holland and the Critter Barn staff and volunteers. During the last year, Mary's husband, Wally, prepared Mr. Chops' evening meal, and served it warm.
Since Mr. Chops reached the age of 10, the Critter Barn has celebrated his birthday with the Annual Mr. Chops Birthday Bash, every year on June 18. Every year Hundreds of people have gathered to sing Happy Birthday to Mr. Chops.
The Critter Barn began in 1990. Mr. Chops was born on June 18, 1992, and was adopted by Mary in mid August of that year from Gordon and Jean Poest of Zeeland.
Mary's family adjusted to life with a pig in the house. Her three kids recall the times Mr. Chops was corrected. "His scream was so loud, we'd run out of the house!" But after school Mr. Chops would greet them and play his favorite game, "Hide and Seek." He also loved watching television. While preparing dinner, Mary would cascade handfuls of Cheerios over the kitchen floor for Chops to occupy himself.
His tricks included shaking hands, doing a figure eight around Mary's legs, sitting up, rolling out a rug, dancing left, then right, finding a treat in a towel, walking obediently on Mary's left side, sitting, staying, coming when called, counting with the nod of his head, and climbing on Mary's lap for a "hug" as the grand finale to his pig show. "He'd sit there on my lap for even 10 minutes while children would stroke his bristly hair."
Mr. Chops wore a red turtleneck sweater for walks in the winter. He loved to ride in the pick-up truck, next to Mary, who traveled with her pig on errands, to go for walks, and for Critter Barn's traveling programs.
"He was an endearing little man who met a half-million people in his lifetime. He is greatly missed."
Please join the Critter Barn staff in a special day of activities celebrating Mr. Chops life on Wednesday, June 18 from 3:00 pm until 7:00 pm. See our web site for activities. In lieu of flowers donations can be made in Mr. Chops' name to support the Critter Barn, a 501C3 non profit educational farm."