EDGEWATER — Linus the pig has become quite the neighborhood celebrity.
The pet, born at a Kentucky farm, has been living with its owners on Hood Street for most of his 2 years.
Now, he can't leave the house without someone snapping his photo.
"Is that a pet?" asked passerby Richard Rogers, poised to capture his next Instagram post as a leashed Linus munched on grass late last week.
Linus's owner, Matthew Folino, was quick with a reply: "This is a pet, but if he keeps behaving badly, he'll be dinner."
Folino and his wife, Jennifer, both 32, are accustomed to the extra attention while walking their portly pet around the neighborhood.
It all began a couple years ago when they began looking for an animal companion.
"We were talking about getting a dog, and I was like, 'I don't want a dog,' and a friend said, 'Why don't you get a mini pig?" said Jennifer Folino, as Linus rooted around their three-bedroom apartment.
After hours of research, and with particular enthusiasm from Matthew Folino, the couple decided to drive south and pick up Linus from a breeder.
Now, they can't picture their life without him.
"He's very affectionate, and he wants to be with you all the time," Jennifer Folino said. "He wants to be in your lap."
Pig ownership has come with a few surprises.
They expected Linus to max out at 40 pounds, but he weighs 60.
"I didn't think he was going to be this big," she said.
But, overall, Linus has been a good roommate.
He's potty trained, does tricks, and even closes his bedroom door at night when he's ready for bed.
"He really likes cartoons, so we leave PBS on for him every day," she said. "He's super smart: He knows his name, he can sit and shake, and he can open the refrigerator, so we have to make sure we watch him when he's in the kitchen."
He mostly eats pig feed bought online, and his favorite treat is Cheerios. But he also acts like "a good trash compactor," said Matthew Folino, slurping up any leftovers.
He even gets along with Snarf, a house cat — most of the time.
"The cat's kind of the enforcer," Jennifer Folino said. "If you tell Linus no, and he doesn't listen, the cat will go swat him. This one's trained to make Linus behave."
Life with Linus hasn't been entirely without frustration.
"I tried to get rid of him. I felt like he needed a bigger space," she admitted. "I didn't tell Matt."
Then, it leaked out on Facebook, and he did find out.
He called his wife, sobbing.
"Are you trying to sell our pig?" he remembers asking. "My stomach just dropped. I was like, 'Mo, that's our pet.'"
"He busted me," she said, and now she wouldn't dare abandon Linus. "He's ours. We love him."
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