Chris Miladinovich of Cranberry holds his pet miniature Juliana pig Nola, aged 2 years and weighing 50 pounds, to meet with children from the Boys & Girls Club of Pittsburgh at their Carnegie location on March 4. Nola will be participating in a fundraiser for the club later this month aboard the Gateway Clipper.
Chris and Lauren Miladinovich of Cranberry bring their pet miniature Juliana pig Nola to meet with children from the Boys & Girls Club of Pittsburgh.
Chris, far right, and Lauren Miladinovich, far left, of Cranberry bring their pet miniature Juliana pig Nola to meet Elaine Zhang, 10, of Carnegie, second from left, and Ryleigh Turachak, 8, of Carnegie.
Reagan Staub, 10, of Scott Township, pets Nola.
Children from the Boys & Girls Club of Pittsburgh meet Nola.
Nola, a pet miniature Juliana Pig, gets up close and personal with O'Mari Gibbs, 8, of Cranberry.
By Linda Wilson Fuoco / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
It’s not every day that a pig drops in for a visit, so children at the Carnegie branch of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania were thrilled to meet Nola.
About 40 children ages 6-12 petted the 45-pound mini-pig, hugged her and fed her Cheerios. Perhaps a child or two sneaked a kiss. Each one posed for a picture with the black-and-white spotted pet of Chris and Lauren Miladinovich of Cranberry.
“Those kids were so in love with that pig. They don’t even know she is raising money for them,” said Susan Kalich, vice president and chief development officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania. “Not one of them was afraid of her.”
Nola will be the centerpiece of the club’s fundraiser, the Great Futures Gala, which will be held from 6:30 to 9 p.m. March 25 aboard the Gateway Clipper Fleet. The evening will include dinner, drinks, dancing and the chance to win prizes at auctions and raffles. The 2015 Youth of the Year Award — picked from 7,000 youth members — will be announced.
And then somebody is going to kiss a pig — an activity that is being pitched as an honor that will go to the three people who have raised the most money for the club.
Ms. Kalich learned that a club in Reading has had pig-kissing fundraisers for more than 20 years, and last year’s event raised $300,000.
Through Facebook, she found Nola, and Nola’s people immediately agreed to participate in the cause.
The is Nola’s second experience with media fame. Last year, she and her owners made news when a homeowners association wouldn’t allow the couple to move a “livestock” animal into the house they wanted to buy. So they found a pig-friendly house in Butler County.
How did they come to own a pig?
“I love all animals, including pigs, and my husband is allergic to dogs and cats,” Mrs. Miladinovich explained. They brought Nola into their home when she was a tiny 7-week-old piglet. She will be 3 years old in May.
“She is very smart” and very affectionate, said Mr. Miladinovich, who grew up in Irwin and works in management consulting. Nola is housebroken, going to the door to signal that she needs to go outside, even though she clearly dislikes cold temperatures and snow.
“We have to shovel paths for her in the yard,” said Mrs. Miladinovich, a native of Ross who works for a national pipeline company.
A wide array of pictures on her Facebook page, which has 779 “likes,” chronicles the life and adventures of Nola The Mini Pig. She has a collection of toys, and pictures show her sleeping on cushy furniture, sunning on hardwood floors and basking in front of a fireplace. She also enjoys riding in cars and being walked on a leash.
“We did our research” before adopting Nola, Mrs. Miladinovich said. “Like all pets, they need a lot of time and attention. Pigs are very social, even somewhat needy, so they need a lot of attention.”
Tickets to the Great Futures Gala are $125, which includes dinner, dessert and two drinks.
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Pennsylvania has been here since 1988. The organization offers after-school and early evening programs, tutoring help with homework, computer training, sports, fitness and recreation, arts and summer programs.
The programs, which cost about $4 million a year, serve more than 7,000 youth at clubs in Carnegie, McKees Rocks, Duquesne-West Mifflin, McKeesport, Wilkinsburg, Millvale, Shadyside and Lawrenceville.
Linda Wilson Fuoco: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1953.
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