Deaf and blind pink puppy inspires kids to deal with their differences
Meet Piglet! He can’t hear or see, but he’s the most adorable pink-toned puppy you’ve ever seen.
And he has an important message to share.
His story begins in a Georgia home, sharing it with 37 other puppies. He was born deaf and blind, with a weight of only 1lb. Soon after, the pastel puppy was rescued and sent to a shelter, where he was adopted by Melissa Shapiro, veterinarian from Connecticut.
Melissa’s intentions weren’t to be Piglet’s full-time mom, but spending only 2 months with this little pup, she couldn’t imagine living without him. He quickly got used to his new home, and he loved traveling and going to work with his owners. In an interview for PEOPLE, Melissa shared:
“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.”
Unfortunately, not everything was as lovely as it seems. Piglet was the 7th dog Melissa had, and it wasn’t easy for him to get along with the others.
In the beginning, the pink puppy was constantly anxious, and he was afraid to play with his brothers and sisters.
Melissa says that the first month was a bumpy ride. However, Piglet got over his anxiety, and now he’s an important part of the family and an Instagram celebrity with over 120,000 followers.
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We were excited to open an envelope filled with letters from our 2nd grade friends We were excited to open an envelope filled with letters from our 2nd grade friends in Alabama. The children asked if Piglet is happy in his home. The answer- Absolutely! Despite being deaf and blind and tiny, Piglet is a happy little dog. He loves his home and his life. He loves his mom and dad and dog pack family, he loves going to work, he loves to travel, and he loves to visit classrooms to teach children about his Piglet Mindset. The children also asked why Piglet is deaf and blind. This is a complicated question with a complicated answer. Piglet was born in a hoarding situation. In his case, the people had three non-neutered dogs that bred to make more dogs, who bred to make more dogs, who bred to make even more dogs… and so it went that 3 dogs became 37 dogs in their small apartment. One of those 37 was Piglet. With an overpopulation of unwanted dogs, we should not be allowing dogs to breed in this way. Making matters worse, many of the dogs in Piglet’s situation were dapple color patterned. When two dapple colored dogs breed there is a 25% chance that the babies will be “double dapple” meaning that they receive a dominant dapple gene from each parent. Double dapple dogs are white or mostly white and many have congenital ear and eye defects which cause them to be deaf and or blind. Piglet has both- he is deaf and blind. Piglet’s original people did not intentionally breed two dapples. They were in over their heads and things got out of control. Thankfully a rescue group came in to help. Piglet is one of the lucky ones. Many dogs like Piglet are euthanized by breeders if rescue groups don’t come forward. Many end up in shelters or abandoned on the streets. Piglet’s Mission includes educating about the severe consequences of double dapple breeding, and encouraging people to adopt special needs pets. We have created educational PDFs and lesson plans for teachers to incorporate Piglet Mindset into their curriculum. Learn more about our Piglet Mindset Educational Outreach Program. Pinkpigletpuppy.org
One day, a Massachusetts teacher promoted Piglet’s inspirational story to her third-graders. She showed it as an example of how sometimes our struggles and disabilities can lead to self-growth. She called this idea Piglet Mindset.
Melissa and the teacher kept in touch throughout the year, and they decided to surprise the kids. At the end of the year, the children were promised that they’ll have a video chat with their favorite little puppy. Then, instead of a video-chat, Melissa walked in the classroom, holding Piglet and three of her other dogs. The kids couldn’t believe their eyes. They were so happy, some of them were even crying.
The idea of the Piglet Mindset grew even further. Melissa created a Piglet Mindset Outreach program. In this program, she teaches kids how to deal with their challenges, and uses the deaf and blind puppy as an inspiration. The online courses are free, and they have spread all over the world. Besides, Melissa released adorable Piglet-themed merchandise. With the money she gets from the merch and social media advertising, she helps special-needs animal shelters.
“It’s rewarding to know that people are taking the lead and being inspired by Piggy.”
In the future, Melissa Shapiro is planning to expand her program into more classrooms and to develop a non-profit so she could help even more shelters. Piglet’s uplifting story is making children believe that anything is possible, despite their differences.