OLYMPIA, Wash. — "There's an elephant that paints," Edith Reeves said. "There's a chimpanzee that paints. There's a dog that paints. This is the pig."
Mouse is the crowd-pleasing pig who paints for an adoring crowd and the occasional cheese puff.
"I think she's fabulous but I am biased," laughed Reeves, who often goes on long walks with her pig in Olympia.
"Pigs are definitely smarter than dogs," she said. Reeves has had Mouse since was a three-month-old piglet.
"My son said he was going to name her," Reeves said. "I said 'OK think hard about that', and he came back to me and he says, 'School Bus. I want to name her School Bus' and I said, 'I don't really want a pig named School Bus. Can we think of something smaller?' And he said, 'OK Mouse'. We call her House Mouse since she lives in the house."
One day Mouse got into little Morris' finger paints.
"Pigs can be pretty destructive," Reeves noted.
After giving Mouse a bath, Reeves realized her little piggy might be an artist. They've been painting together ever since.
"I only use Crayola nontoxic water paint and painting has to be her idea," Reeves said.
Mouse's paintings have vibrant colors and lots of movement. The most prized works have visible snout prints. Out in public, the best sellers always involve audience participation.
"She loves the people," Reeves said. "She loves the attention. She loves the food and then I think it's an enrichment activity similar to digging in the mud."
It's just as messy as mud but more colorful. No wonder so many people want a little "mouse-terpiece" from Mouse, the painting pig.