students sitting with a pig

Joy the pig added a new trick to her repertoire during her visit to the Marshalltown Community School District: being a representative for the swine kind.

The kindergarten classes at Fisher Elementary School were able to learn more about pigs from Dawn Bleeker, Joy’s owner, and see the pig perform a few of her tricks on Tuesday. The experience tied in with a recent unit that students completed about farm life and animals.

“We talked about pigs on the farm and we thought that this might be interesting to learn how pigs who are domesticated live, how they might be different, or how it might be the same,” said kindergarten teacher Hilary Klyn.

With the kids' new knowledge about pigs and wanting to bring an in-person learning experience, Hilary Klyn found a way through her connections to bring the famous hog to Fisher Elementary School.

“Since we have been talking about farms, we thought it would be fun to have that experience for the kids to enjoy,” said Hilary Klyn.

Bleeker walked Joy in with her festive tutu on and a box full of items that are used for certain tricks. With wide eyes and curiosity, Bobcat students were eager to learn more about the pig. Bleeker welcomed the questions, which spanned from Joy’s favorite snacks to how much the pig weighs.

The mature mini-pig claimed the Guinness World Record for the most consecutive tricks performed in a minute in 2018, according to the record keeping website. The kids were able to see some of the tricks Joy performed to receive the achievement, like playing a piano and honking a horn. After completing a trick, Joy received a treat from Bleeker and a round of applause from the young Bobcat crowd. 

Each student was able to pet Joy and feel the texture of her hair after the presentation. Some kids were eager to give the pig a pat while others were a bit more hesitant. No matter their reaction to petting Joy, all walked away with big grins.

“I liked the tricks because they were kinda awesome,” said kindergarten student Tahlia Davis.

“I learned a lot about pigs when Joy was here,” said kindergarten student Griffin Klyn.

Later in the week, Fisher kindergarten students will learn and interact with calves. Hilary Klyn said bringing farm animals to school is an exciting experience, especially for students who might not have interacted with these types of animals before.

“We are just really thankful that we have had the opportunity this year to bring in these animals and that the kids have been able to be so interactive with all of those experiences,” said Hilary Klyn.