Piglet is 2 and a half years old. And Piglet is not even a piglet. Piglet is a pinkish dog… a deaf and blind one at that. But even with that, the young dog is giving great comfort and hope to a lot of children.
The scrawny dachshund-Chihuahua mix came from a litter of 37 pups and Melissa Shapiro, a mother of three children, initially fostered the dog and eventually adopted and took him back home to Connecticut. She fell in love with Piglet, and as Piglet’s health improved, so did his online profile. And when that happened, a teacher in Massachusetts started using the dog as an example to her third-grade students. And she called it the “Piglet Mindset.” She and Melissa corresponded quite a bit, and one day, the teacher had a big surprise for her class – Piglet was coming to visit them.
Says Melissa: “They thought we were going to FaceTime, and we walked in with Piggy in his stroller and three of my other dogs, and everyone was crying.” When it came to adopting Piglet, that was a decision that troubled Melissa because she already had six other dogs to deal with. Says Melissa: “It was quite a decision to make. He is a lot of work and he is like a full-time job, taking care of a little disabled baby. But he’s so cute, and we couldn’t give him away at that point.” One of the other major hurdles Melissa had to contend with was dealing with Piglet’s anxiety. Says Melissa: “He was so anxious, he was screaming constantly. He would play, then go to sleep, but when he wasn’t doing either of those, he was screaming. I couldn’t leave the house the first month I had the dog here. When we kept him, I said he needs to have some bigger meaning.” And Piglet soon found that deeper meaning through more than 120,000 Instagram followers. And with that, Melissa formed the Piglet Outreach Mindset Program to help children across the United States and beyond.
That program is offered free on the website, with classrooms in Alabama, Connecticut, Japan and Australia picking up on it. Says Melissa: “People are afraid to adopt these animals, they think that it’s going to be too much work. But people see Piglet’s page and I get so many notes from people that because of him, they just adopted. It’s rewarding to know that people are taking the lead and being inspired by Piggy.” So far, the program has raised more than $30,000 to help with many other special-needs animals. And that’s always a good thing.