Best friends vary. They might be your sibling, or your cousin. An uncle. An inseparable childhood pal. A workmate with whom you’ve become fast (but genuine) friends. Your mom. They might even be a cat or a dog. But, chances are, they probably aren’t a pig.
Meet Will and Ashley Glass, who are the exception to that rule.
Their American miniature pot belly pig, Hank, is their best friend. And they’re OK with the fact that he might be your best friend, too. His Instagram account, @mybestfriendhank, has tugged the heartstrings of 299,000 followers who came for the novelty of a new pet piglet and stayed for the charm and purity of this refreshingly PG feed.
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this is my best friend hank starting his day off with some treats! he was just named an #onlylouisiana ambassador, so he’s doing a surprise takeover of @louisianatravel’s account. if you want to follow hank on his lazy sunday today, check him out over there! #onlylouisiana #followyournola #beignets #frenchquarter #treats #foodie #lazysunday #walk #minipig #pig #pigsofinstagram #mybestfriendhank #cutepetclub #cute #animaladdicts #babyanimals #weeklyfluff
Will, a writer, tells me with conviction that he wanted a pig his whole life. Though his mother wasn’t open to the idea, it held firm by the time he was an adult. By then, “the only person I had to convince was my wife, Ashley,” he says.
He started by getting her hooked on two famous Instagram pigs, Priscilla the Mini Pig, or “Prissy Pig,” and her brother, Pop — check them out at @prissy_pig. Will and Ashley drove all the way to Florida for a Prissy and Pop book signing (totally Will’s idea, he admits), and Prissy’s owners were so touched they allowed them some one-on-one time with the pigs and gave them information about Prissy’s and Pop’s breeders.
“We were super fans of Prissy and Pop before we ever had our names on a waitlist or even decided we necessarily wanted our own,” Will says.
Ashley, a wedding coordinator, concurs: “That was just kind of Will as a fan girl,” she says, laughing.
Still, the in-person (or, in-pig) meeting served as a catalyst: the two discussed getting their own pet pig, and things moved quickly. Soon, they had Hank.
And soon after that, they had a social media star.
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this is my best friend hank looking very tiny at four months old #throwbackthursday #tbt #baby #small #bighead #growingup #outside #sunshine #flowers #grass #happy #minipig #pig #pigsofinstagram #mybestfriendhank #cutepetclub #cute #animaladdicts #babyanimals #weeklyfluff
Will and Ashley immediately began taking myriad photos and videos of Hank, expressing sincere excitement in having a new, pet pig.
“Within a week of bringing him home, we did Christmas card photos together,” Ashley offers as further proof.
With so many photos, they created an Instagram account for Hank to keep Ashley’s out-of-town family updated on his every adorable move. The account’s name, @mybestfriendhank, reflects this little piggy’s name origins: his full name is Hank Mardukas Glass, referencing an obscure but loyal best friend character in the comedy, “I Love You Man.”
“We made the account just to share with our friends and family, but at a point we realized, it’s actually pretty decent branding. And it just really resonated with people,” says Will, who has a background in marketing (as does Ashley).
“People just really latched on to the purity of this nameless narrator being so excited to just share pictures of their best friend,” he says, “who is a pig.”
Moreover, people began sharing Hank’s Instagram page. His Florida-based breeder shared a couple of videos, and UNILAD shared another video on Facebook. Hank was going viral.
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this is my best friend hank taking his first chomp of birthday muffin yesterday. thanks @iso_kyle for capturing hank's favorite part of the night! #blueberry #muffin #first #historic #foodie #favorite #partyanimal #birthday #firstbirthday #party #one #growingup #friends #hanksbestfriends #happybirthday #cake #snacks #fun #minipig #pig #pigsofinstagram #mybestfriendhank #cutepetclub #cute #animaladdicts #babyanimals
Fast-forward to Hank’s 299,000 followers of today. He’s booking gigs regularly: his first birthday party was a public affair, and he recently flaunted his darlingness at a Sacramento Kings game half-time show in California. But, says Will, “Hank is definitely a man of his city.”
“Hank likes beignets, and he really does love to go to Audubon Park,” Will says. “I would’ve wanted a pig no matter where I was — but I do think New Orleans was the perfect place to end up having one.”
Read about Hank’s favorite things to see and do in New Orleans, along with his favorite things to eat. After all, he is a bit of a pig.
20 Questions with Hank The Mini Pig
Who is your favorite New Orleanian, dead or alive, real or imagined?
Ellen DeGeneres. Really wanna meet Ellen. Also, whoever invented king cake, though.
What first brought you to New Orleans?
An airplane, ha! But really, my mom and dad picked me out from pictures of my litter, and eight weeks later, I was old enough to finally meet them. I was so excited.
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this is my best friend hank cuddling with his sheep that he's had since he was a baby, they are best friends #goodnight #hug #snuggles #bigspoon #littlespoon #bestfriends #sheep #buds #sleepover #sleepy #tired #babyblanket #baby #minipig #pig #pigsofinstagram #mybestfriendhank #cutepetclub #cute #animaladdicts #babyanimals
In your opinion — what’s the best neighborhood in New Orleans? (Why?)
I like Uptown a lot. Magazine Street has tons of tasty food and places for mom and dad to buy me things. I like the relaxed bookstores, the oak trees, the pretty houses, the streetcar noise. It feels very much like the magical, easy part of New Orleans; it doesn’t have the fuss and energetic buzz that the French Quarter has. I like to relax, you know.
If it’s a beautiful day, where are you going to spend it?
Start on Oak Street. Browse around in Blue Cypress Books, find a weird book of short stories or poetry. Take a walk down the street in my stroller and meet friends along the way. Get something to eat on a patio somewhere on Carrollton Avenue. End up in Audubon park to get my zoomies out.
Describe the best meal you’ve eaten in New Orleans.
I like anywhere that has cheese plates because mom and dad will share the fruits and nuts with me. One time they took me to Ye Olde College Inn and gave me a bunch of apple slices; that was dope.
Where’s your favorite brunch spot?
St. James Cheese Company. Very dependable cheese plate. Almost always get blueberries there.
What’s your favorite type of po-boy? Where do you get it?
I like the french fry po-boy from Shortstop in Metairie. But no gravy for me; I’m vegetarian. And this one’s not technically a po-boy, but one of the best sandwiches I ever had was the yam sandwich at the Milk Bar on Carrollton Avenue.
You’ve got friends visiting, and it’s their first time in New Orleans — where are you taking them?
Hmmm… probably to walk around the French Quarter during the day, just to throw them right into it, get the big stuff out of the way. You can see street performers, great music, great art, cool shops, and weird museums all on the same day. Also, I will make them buy me beignets.
What’s your favorite neighborhood bar?
I’m not old enough to drink, but I like when mom and dad take me to Port Orleans on Tchoupitoulas Street. There’s grass in the back for me to run around in, and they have good pretzel bites.
What is your favorite New Orleans cocktail, and where do you go to get it?
Like I said, I’m not old enough to drink, but I have a feeling I’m a Bloody Mary kinda guy. My dad says the Bloody Mary at Reginelli’s is really underrated.
What’s your favorite dessert or sweet treat in the city?
Man, I lose my mind any time they let me have king cake or beignets, and I know my dad loves the cannolis from Brocato’s. But, if I had to recommend a specific dessert in the city, it’s the fried bread pudding po-boy at Ye Olde College Inn.
Best spot to see live music?
Depends on what you’re into. If you’re looking for classic New Orleans, you can’t go wrong seeing Rebirth at Maple Leaf Bar. But if you’re in the mood to just catch something different, Gasa Gasa [on Freret Street] is a decent bet. Also, Cure is right across the street from Gasa Gasa, and they have cheese plates, so.
Favorite New Orleans musician or band?
Tank and the Bangas, easy. If they’re playing and you’re in town, go see ’em.
Favorite New Orleans festival?
One of the food ones, probably. I like food. Beignet Fest or King Cake Fest. I mean, unless Mardi Gras counts. Because then it’s Mardi Gras.
What’s your ideal New Orleans date night?
Try a new restaurant I haven’t been to. When mom and dad go to places with outside patios, I get to come along. Last time was Lebanon’s Cafe, and I got some pita bread! So anyway, yeah — try a new restaurant, then go home and fall asleep watching The Lion King.
What are your favorite local shops?
Blue Cypress Books and La Boulangerie. I also like MM Feed because they sell me food, and Jefferson Feed because they make these sweet potato treats I like.
What is your favorite New Orleans museum?
The National World War II Museum. I love the aesthetic from that era, and the exhibits are very moving. The events at the Stage Door Canteen are really fun, too. I also like the Voodoo Museum, but I’m scared to get cursed so, you know.
Where do you go to watch The Saints play?
My bubbe’s house. She has good snacks.
Describe New Orleans in one word.
When was the last time you fell in love with New Orleans, and why?
My mom and dad took me to walk around in the French Quarter, and I met people who’d come from all over the world to see New Orleans. People told me they were from Australia, England, China. A big, tough guy with a green mohawk came running up to me about to cry because he was so excited to meet a pig in person. It was really great to see such a diverse group of really sweet people brought together by this magical city and just excited to be around each other.