Penelope the pig greets Snohomish dentist’s patients

SNOHOMISH — This little piggy … went to the dentist.

It stands outside the Advanced Dental Arts office, front feet propped on a bench, snout in the air.

Most dentists have shiny white teeth as decorations. Tooth doctor Theodore Haines has a black-and-white porker.

What’s up with that?

Well, her name is Penelope. She’s the official greeter at Haines’ office at 810 Avenue D.

She dresses for work in hats and sunglasses and necklaces. After all, it’s not like she can get clothes to fit her curves.

Penelope wasn’t destined for bacon. She was created for Seattle’s Pigs on Parade procession of 100 pig sculptures decorated by artists to celebrate the Pike Place Market. She ended up in front of Camano Island artist Jack Gunter’s studio in Stanwood, where she was an objet d’art for a fundraiser.

That’s when Haines scored her about two years ago. He paid $1,000 for the 50-pound pig. That’s some pricey ham.

It was for a good cause, though Haines’ wife, Annette, wasn’t so sure it was a good idea.

“He said, ‘We need to get that pig,’ and I said, ‘That’s the last thing we need to do is put a pig at the office,’” Annette said.

Gunter delivered the pig in a pickup to the office where Haines has been in practice since 1978. Now there’s a bevy of dental offices in town. But only one with a pig.

“It’s funny, but we got some patients from it,” Annette said. “I’m not sure if I would go, ‘Eww, I’m not going to that office’ or ‘I’m going to the office because of the pig.’ ”

People who aren’t patients stop to take selfies with the pig.

Inside the dental office it’s like an art gallery, where patients can sprawl on a white leather sectional sofa in the waiting room.

Office manager Dawn Robinson named the pig Penelope. “I thought it was a very fitting name for a pig,” she said.

Penelope attracts attention, good and bad.

She got pignapped.

“The police found her down at Jiffy Lube,” Haines said.

Teens were seen leaving the scene. “We didn’t want to press charges,” he said.

Passing motorists get to watch as his wife dresses the pig for holidays and seasons. “I feel kind of funny out here,” she said.

Yes, Penelope was the 12th pig. She’s in her spring gardening getup now. Next she’ll be dressed to graduate.

Sky’s the limit for this pig, in case she decides to fly.

Send What’s Up With That? suggestions to Andrea Brown at 425-339-3443; abrown@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @reporterbrown. Read more What’s Up With That? at www.heraldnet.com/whatsup.

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