A bartender is hoping to ditch her job behind a smoke shop to become France’s first pig pedicurist.
(A pigicurist? We’ll maybe leave the branding to Carole Germain.)
Carole, 46, has owned Jeux Brest mêm in Brest since 2017 but now hopes to go full hog and sell the bar-tobacconist so she can become a full-time porcine chiropodist.
Since July last year, she has soaked, scrubbed, clipped, shaped and polished the hooves of more than a hundred pigs. Safe to say she’s never boared these days.
Carole adopted a Göttingen minipig ‘on a whim’ in 2020. But Couscous isn’t exactly a ‘mini pig’ any more, now weighing a, well, porky 60kg.
Couscous, Carole and her two Italian mastiff dogs are all squeezed in her 50-square-metre apartment, about the size of three parking spaces, above the bar.
‘He sleeps in my bed,’ Carole told the French news agency AFP, adding that it’s more his bed at this point.
‘If I move too much, he moans and he can even go so far as to pinch me,’ she said.
As Couscous grew, so did his tusks and hooves. This inspired Carole to pick up her toolkit and give her pet pig a pedicure, a treatment she’s now offering to the animals in homes and farms up and down France.
She now drives around France with Couscous and her two dogs in a van as part of her new company, Pédichon.
As well as trimming tusks, Carole also cuts and files hooves.
Carole is hogging all the customers at the moment, given she says she’s the only pig pedicurist in the country.
Among her 200 porcine customers are Chanel, Bacon and Pigxel. ‘In the South, I did 5,500km and 43 pigs,’ Carole added, while in early February she travelled 880km in just two days to visit nine pigs.
One of Carole’s recent clients was Scooby, a chunky black pig weighing 80kg.
Scooby wasn’t particularly thrilled by his pampering, however. As Carole got to work on his tusks and cleaned his ears, Scoobt squealed and thrashed.
But now he’s ‘perfect’, Carole said. ‘He’s ready to go to the beach.’
Owner Yann L’Heveder, 44, said Scooby now sprints around the house all the time.
‘I think he was embarrassed,’ the air traffic controller said, adding that he bought the pig for his daughter’s 10th birthday.
‘It must be like when we have a stone in our shoe.’
Pigs tend to grow tusks from the age of two. The bone grows continuously – at an even faster rate for male boars – according to experts.
‘Tusks are incredibly sharp and even lightly brushing against a tusk can cause abrasions and lacerations,’ says LafeberVet, an exotic animal veterinary medicine resource website.
‘Bites sustained from a pig with untrimmed tusks can cause significant damage. Untrimmed tusks can grow long and can even curl enough to penetrate the lip of the pig.’
Carole, who trained under a pig pedicurist from the Netherlands, would agree. Having recently treated a hog boasting 3cm-long front teeth, she says some pigs may become ‘handicapped’ by the overgrown tusks.
Trimming, if needed, should be carefully done every 12 months or so, the American Mini Pig Association recommends.
Getting rid of the tusks altogether should never be done, the association says, given that tusks are part of a pig’s jawbone.
Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at email@example.com.
For more stories like this, check our news page.
Get your need-to-know
latest news, feel-good stories, analysis and more