Sometimes dogs are born with disabilities or look a little different, but that doesn’t mean they can’t do extraordinary things.
One perfect example is Piglet, a pink Dachshund Chihuahua mix who was born deaf and blind, but is now thriving as an inspiration for people around the world.
Piglet, the deaf, blind, pink puppy
Piglet’s disabilities are the result of a breeding anomaly: his parents were both dapple colored Dachshunds, a pairing that can lead to a puppy being a “double dapple,” characterized by a unique fur coating but also frequently resulting in deafness and blindness.
Piglet was born completely deaf and blind, and also with a bright pink coat. Making things even worse for the pup, he was born into a hoarding situation in Georgia, until he was rescued in 2017.
Piglet, described as a “1-pound screaming baby,” needed special care due to his disabilities. He was fostered by Melissa Shapiro, a practicing veteran with experience caring for special-needs pets.
A new home
But Shapiro already had her hands full with six other dogs, and worried she couldn’t care for Piglet. “We were reluctant to add another dog,” she told AL.com. “We were especially concerned with how much of a commitment Piglet would be.”
But the tiny pink puppy quickly warmed his way into their hearts: “After two months, we and he decided he was already home.”
It was not a decision they made lightly: Piglet required a lot of care and attention. “He was so anxious, he was screaming constantly,” Shapiro told People. “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.”
Despite the challenges, she knew Piglet was special: “I said he needs to have some bigger meaning.”
Soon, Piglet began making major strides. Since the dog is unable to see or hear, Dr. Shapiro made use of Piglet’s other senses to communicate. She was able to communicate using touch and tap signals. Soon, Piglet was at ease and settled into his new home.
Becoming an inspiration to others
After seeing him overcome so many challenges, Dr. Shapiro realized that Piglet could be an inspiration for others, and soon this unique pup was on his way to fame.
Piglet became a star on social media, and Shapiro started bringing him to visit classrooms, nonprofits and other groups. In his appearances, Piglet both promotes a positive attitude towards life’s challenges, while also advocating for rescuing disabled animals.
Shapiro recalls how Piglet made a big impact on a classroom of Massachusetts third graders, whose teacher coined the term the “Piglet Mindset” for the dog’s message of perseverance.
The kids were overjoyed when she and Piglet made a surprise visit to their class: “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,” she told People.
Shapiro and Piglet have now visited schools across the country, using the “Piglet Mindset” program to help inspire students who have faced setbacks.
“[It’s] a newish way of teaching kids they can overcome challenges and there are different learning styles and different ways to achieve a goal,” Shapiro told Patch.
“He really is a lesson in determination and facing challenges with a positive attitude. He has great challenges. He’s a tiny little dog, and very disabled. He’s learned how to compensate for his disabilities.”
“It’s the way he approaches his life,” Shapiro told AL.com. “He has this mindset of, he’s optimistic. He’s happy. He’s not looking at anything negative… he’s going forward. He does have his times of frustration, but he figures it out.”
Piglet the superstar
While he can’t see or hear, Piglet seems to know that he’s making a difference, and enjoys all the attention he gets from his appearances: Shapiro called her dog a “rock star.”
“I don’t know how he knows, but he knows,” she told Patch. “When there are hundreds of people around, he knows how to pose.
Piglet has also used his fame and attention to spread awareness about dangerous breeding practices, like the ones that led to his disabilities.
It’s incredible what an impact one dog can make. Piglet has overcome so many obstacles and is now an inspiration to people everywhere.
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