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The Journal magazines are the premier publications for high-quality, hyperlocal news and advertising in Monmouth County, New Jersey

Sep 27, 2021

Meet Hamlette, a Pig with a Purpose 

By Lori Draz

Crystal DeCaro, Ryan Carr and Hamlette

On Saturday, Oct. 23, thousands of volunteers will spend the morning at Clean Ocean Action’s (COA) 36th annual Fall Beach Sweeps. The volunteers come in all ages, but there’s one volunteer who is a real one-of-kind – Hamlette. Hamlette is mini pig who serves as a co-Beach Captain with his owners Crystal DeCaro and Ryan Carr. Volunteer after volunteer squeals in delight when Hamlette greets the sweepers then hits the beach in search of unsightly debris. DeCaro explained, “At just 4 weeks old, Hamlette already had a love for the place we call home, the Jersey Shore. With his hooves sinking in the sand and the salty air against his mohawk, we knew he was hooked on the beach as much as we were. So, we figured what better place to get Hamlette socialized and do something to help protect our home than the Clean Ocean Action Beach Sweeps, for which ‘Mom,’ has been a captain for a decade now?” 

Hamlette is such an asset to the sweep. “Similar to a bulldozer plowing trash, Hamlette uses that powerful snout of his to push up the bigger pieces of debris hidden under the sand,” DeCaro said. “On rare occasions, Hamlette even discovers buried treasure! Hamlette also helps to spread awareness of the importance of cleaning our beaches! His adorable spots, social demeanor and educational oinks can’t be overlooked!” 

Hamlette was born on Jan. 7, 2017. This 4-year-old now weighs 82 pounds and is similar in size to an English Bulldog.

When Hamlette is not protecting the environment, he likes to snack on some of his favorite treats – fruits and vegetables, especially tomatoes and blueberries. Then he cuddles up on the couch before hopping into bed with his owners, usually around 7 pm. “When he was younger, he could jump right into the bed but now he has stairs that makes climbing in and out of bed easier,” DeCaro said. “Hamlette always has to be touching us. He’s a big snuggler! Hamlette is an early riser, usually greeting the day around 5 am, and his first order of the day is waiting, somewhat patiently, for breakfast.

“We love having Hamlette. It’s kind of like owning a dog. Pigs are extremely intelligent and can be trained to do tricks, walk on a harness/leash, go to the bathroom outside or on pads. They’re social animals with massive personalities!”

In addition to being a Beach Sweeps co-captain, Hamlette loves to attend each New Jersey VegFest. He also loves walks at Island Beach State Park with his rescue Pitt siblings, Aurora and Wyatt, as well as hiking in Bushkill Pennsylvania, participating in the Toms River Halloween Parade and making new friends everywhere he goes.

Hamlette shows that all kinds of animals, including people, enjoy a clean beach, ocean and environment. 

To learn more about responsible pet ownership, check out Clean Ocean Action’s 10 Tips for Dog Owners, Cat Owners, and other helpful tips on the “Education Programs” page at CleanOceanAction.org. You are also most welcome to join Hamlette, his owners and thousands of other volunteers at Clean Ocean Action’s 36th annual Fall Beach Sweeps, Saturday, Oct. 23, from 9 am to 12:30 pm. To register and learn more information, visit CleanOceanAction.org.