Marvelous Melvin greets Chelsea Waller from his backyard pen in Buxton. Robert Lowell / American Journal

A curly-haired pet pig in Buxton is wallowing in the limelight after finishing ninth in a national pet contest won by a Capuchin monkey.

Chelsea Waller of Simpson Road entered Marvelous Melvin, a Mangalista swallow belly pig, in the first ever America’s Favorite Pet: Animal Kingdom Competition, and he made it to the semi-finals in the online voting contest.

Melvin missed out on the $10,000 prize the monkey received, but he’s still a winner in Waller’s book.

She and her husband, Mark, acquired Melvin when he was about 3 months old after they saw an ad for him on Craigslist. The couple literally saved his bacon, rescuing him from a “meat farm situation.” He’s been living with the couple for more than two years now.

Melvin weighed 15 pounds when he moved to Buxton and is somewhere between 500 and 600 pounds now, Waller estimated. Mangalista pigs can grow to up to 750 pounds.

“When he steps on your toes, it doesn’t feel good,” Waller said.


The pig, a Hungarian breed, has the personality of a toddler, she said.

“He can have his temper tantrums,” she said, but for the most part, she’s learned to interpret what he wants by his various noises.

Melvin is house trained. He sleeps on a queen-sized bed pad in the Wallers’ basement and plays in a gated swine sanctuary in the couple’s backyard. He has his own yoga ball and likes to play tug of war with a tarp.

On one occasion, he figured out how to lift the backyard gate latch and took off, but he just visited a neighbor, who then walked him home.

Melvin likes animal company and Waller said deer have visited him at his spacious outdoor pen, where he likes to scratch his back on the mesh wire.

When the Wallers travel, they get a sitter for Melvin. During the height of the pandemic, the Wallers were vigilant that Melvin didn’t come in contact with anyone diagnosed with COVID-19. Pigs have a DNA close to humans’ so Waller said she took precautionary steps to protect him.


He has a vegan diet of organic pig pellets and he relishes popcorn and peanuts for treats. For Thanksgiving, he feasted on a squash and a pumpkin.

“He’s a pretty spoiled boy,” Waller said.

He has 682 followers on his Marvelous Melvin Pig Facebook page. He is also on Instagram and TikTok, Waller said.

Some proceeds from the American’s Favorite Pet contest benefit the Progressive Animal Welfare Society based in Washington state. Runners up in the nationwide contest were a biped Chihuahua named Nugget, an earless K-9 named Kringle, and an Arabian horse named Heartbreaker BAE, according to the contest website.

Further details about the contest were not disclosed.

“We do not reveal the full competitor count,” the America’s Favorite Pet team told the American Journal.

Ninth place for Melvin, though, is just fine with the Wallers.

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