Pigs don’t like to jump, they dislike water and they’re afraid of
heights. But somebody forgot to tell Tobi.
The 11-week-old potbellied pig, owned by Toni Silicio-Prebezac of
Edmonds, Wash., strutted his stuff during a taping of Animal Planet’s
“Pet Star” talent show Wednesday at NBC Studios.
After rolling out a red carpet with his snout, the 12-pound porker
jumped hurdles, climbed up to a slide and slid belly first into a
child’s wading pool.
“He’s a courageous little pig because he does all those things
which go against his nature,” Silicio-Prebezac said. “I thought it
would be more unusual for an animal who is unusual to do unusual
Tobi was one of 10 acts competing for a $2,500 cash prize in the
cable TV show, now in its second season. Other acts included a dog
balancing a basketball on his nose, two acrobatic cats that respond
to Russian language commands, and a bird that performs on miniature
“These are pets like yours, little Fluffy and Muffy at home, that
come here to do their tricks,” show host Mario Lopez said.
Mary Matzke, who owns Beau, a male 3-year-old Jack Russell
terrier, never trained him to balance a basketball. The spunky little
dog watched Matzke’s children play soccer and decided he wanted to
play, too. From that time on, the ball was always his.
“Now people drive by and just stop to watch him,” Matzke said.
Matzke, who lives in Rochester, Minn., said that Beau wants to
“In wintertime we have to clear a path,” she said. “In fact, in
the middle of the night he gets me up so he can play.”
Matzke and other owners and their pets are flown to Los Angeles by
the “Pet Star” production company, producer Richard Crystal said.
Several motels, including the Safari Inn on Olive Avenue, allow
animals in the rooms, he said.
“One of the most amazing [animals] we had was an otter,” Crystal
said. “The trainer, from the Everglades in Florida, taught it how to
fetch keys from a tank of water and then bring them back to him.”