Many people would have taken one look at Piglet the dog and written him off as a lost cause, but not Warren and Melissa Shapiro who rescued the deaf and blind pink puppy from a hoarding situation alongside his mother and three litter mates.
“We ended up adopting Piglet after a two month course of fostering,” explains Melissa. “The initial days were quite miserable. He was very anxious and he screamed all the time.”
After a rough start with the little Dachshund Chihuahua mix, who is the result of breeding between two dappled colored parents that have given him his double dappled pink coat, Melissa started to notice how their other dogs started to rally around Piglet.
“We had six dogs at the time Piglet came. They were surprisingly sensitive and considerate of this little puppy who was deaf and blind, they accepted him really with open arms and after a few weeks, things started to improve. His confidence was really boosted and he started to feel like he was really part of the group here.”
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Melissa, who is a vet, was soon taking Piglet with her on house calls and he has since gone on to become the face of Piglet International Inc. (opens in new tab), and educational outreach program that focuses on teaching children about empathy, kindness, inclusion and acceptance.
“A Piglet Mindset is facing and overcoming challenges with a positive attitude. It is focusing on what you have and moving past what you don’t. It is accepting individuals for who they are and including them despite their differences. It is having empathy and understanding towards others and following up with positive actions. And it is being kind to all people and animals.”
Melissa says that what started as her posting photos on her Facebook page to share details of Piglet’s disability has turned the sweet dog into a global sensation with a reach that has gone far beyond what she ever thought possible.
“The page grew and what we found was that as were posting and gaining followers, people that were following him weren’t just looking at his pictures because he was cute, they were inspired to get out of bed in the morning,” she explains.
Warren believes Piglet is a role model to others and loves every opportunity he gets to engage with people about the kind of life Piglet leads.
“When we introduce Piglet to people and we say he’s deaf and blind, some people will say ‘oh that’s so sad’ and it’s fun and it’s educational to explain to them and then to show them that it’s not sad at all and he’s not sad and maybe he’s as happy as the happiest dog you’ve ever seen.”
If you want to learn more about Piglet, Melissa has just written and released a book called Piglet: The Unexpected Story of a Deaf Blind Pink Puppy and His Family (opens in new tab). The inspirational memoir has quickly become a bestseller, but despite all the fuss and attention, Piglet remains the same cheerful and humble little dog he’s always been.
“He really finds joy in life, despite his challenges, despite what for most people and dogs would be a really really bad set of circumstances,” says Warren. “He’s really happy.”
Kathryn is a freelance writer who has spent the past two years dividing her writing time between her two great loves - pets and health and wellness. When she’s not busy crafting the perfect sentence for her features, buying guides and news pieces, she can be found hanging out with one very mischievous Cocker Spaniel, drinking copious amounts of Jasmine tea and attempting to set numerous world records for the longest ever FaceTime calls with her family back home in NZ.
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