We could all benefit from a little more tolerance and positive thinking. After all, if a tiny, pink, blind, and deaf puppy can overcome his anxiety, why can’t we?
It’s time for everyone to meet Piglet, the inspiring six-pound puppy who teaches kids about acceptance and how positive thinking can change your entire attitude. When she first adopted Piglet, Melissa never thought lesson plans and school meet-and-greets were going to happen. But her little pink dog changed the lives of many little kids.
Veterinarian Melissa Shapiro has always been one to help animals in need, so rescuing a puppy found in a hoarding situation was a no brainer — the dachshund-Chihuahua mix came from a house that had 37 puppies.
The poor animal was subjected to double dapple breeding, meaning he had a very good chance of coming out with a few birth defects. Piglet came out deaf, blind, and as it so happens, completely pink.
Double Dappling Has Consequences
Dapple is a very beautiful spotted pattern on a Dachshund dog. When one dapple is bred with another, you get double dapple breeding. Unfortunately, this type of breeding comes with consequences. Although the result can be a gorgeous dog, birth defects are a very real issue.
Puppies can be disfigured, have debilitating illnesses, and, in some horrible cases, they can come out stillborn. Luckily for Piglet, he survived the breeding, but not without side effects. Little did anyone know that those side effects would be inspirational.
The Day Everything Began To Change
In March 2017 everything changed for Piglet. He was going to be fostered by a veterinarian. Everything was going to be okay, right? When Melissa picked up the nearly-weightless puppy from a Petco adoption event she didn’t think too much of it. She had fostered animals before, how was this going to be any different?
“He brought chaos into our house and I’m embarrassed to admit that initially, I tried desperately to find him a home,” says Melissa.
Piglet Wasn’t Doing Too Well
Piglet wasn’t doing well during the initial rescue. He was one and a half pounds and had quite a loud squeal. He had severe separation anxiety after being taken away from his mom and siblings, not to mention that he was blind and deaf, leaving him even more confused.
Little did Melissa know, but the tiny pooch was about to become part of the family. Even if that wasn’t the initial thought process when she first brought him home.
His Integration Into The Family Was A Rocky One
Melissa decided to formally adopt Piglet. Overnight, he suddenly became number seven in her pack of six dogs. But to say Piglet meshed effortlessly with the rest of the family would be lying.
“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,” Melissa says.
Piglet Was Stronger Than He Knew
“It took a few months for him to gain control of his anxiety and settle into his routine with his dog and human family. But once things started to click, it was full speed ahead,” Melissa wrote on Instagram.
Piglet made strides very quickly, especially for one with such severe anxiety. He even became a mini-celebrity online because of all of the obstacles he had to overcome. Everyone wanted to be a part of Piglet’s milestones!
Piglet Looks Like A Pig Because Of His Breeding
One thing is for sure, once Piglet was rescued/adopted he started to look a whole lot healthier! But it’s strange, even as he grew stronger he stayed pink.
“Piggy’s hair coat is white, not pink. His white hair coat is due to the unfortunate fact that he is a double dapple. And due to his breed mix of doxie and chi, he has such thin short fur on his face and ears that his pretty pink skin shines through,” Melissa said.
Starting To Make A Difference
“When we kept him, I said he needs to have some bigger meaning,” Melissa says. Piglet started to become a celebrity of sorts. Especially with the young adult and kid community. His first “appearance” was in October 2017, when Piglet was invited to be a celebrity guest at a Halloween fundraiser.
The group that invited him is called Woofgang and Company. The thing about this company is that they employ disabled young adults to bake and sell dog treats.
A Disabled Puppy Helping Young Adults
Piglet and his 12-year-old adopted sister Susie wore pumpkin costumes and participated in Woofgang and Company’s Halloween parade. Both dogs showed the young adults that anything is possible if you put your mind to it.
Piglet was even invited back to celebrate his first birthday! A local Brownie troop joined in on the festivities, learning about disabilities and playing with Piglet. For a tiny pooch, he is sure making a big mark on the world!
Putting A Smile On People’s Faces
No matter where he goes, Piglet always seems to be putting a smile on people’s faces. Having a precious little face, huge eyes, and ears too big for your head probably doesn’t hurt things!
Over time, Piglet’s miraculous journey found its way to a third-grade classroom in Massachusetts. The teacher of the class used Piglet in one of the best ways possible. She told his story to her students to teach them about positive growth and acceptance.
The Piglet Mindset
The teacher gave the young students a role model in Piglet, explaining what the dog had to overcome to get where he is today. He represented a positive growth mindset, discouraging people from giving up and promoting the idea that personal struggles can lead to great things.
The Plainville, Massachusetts teacher used “The Story of Piglet, the deaf, blind pink puppy” PDF as a visual aid with her young students, never thinking that they were going to meet the real Piglet.
WWPD – What Would Piglet Do
She called her philosophy the “Piglet Mindset,” a phrase that would later mean something to people outside of the third-grade classroom. Her students even took the lessons home with them. Parents said that in difficult situations their kids would ask “what would Piglet do?”
The little dog didn’t even know the positive effect he was having on young minds. These students were facing each day with a”Piglet State of Mind” and they couldn’t have been more thrilled about it.
The Students Got A Little Big Surprise
Melissa was touched by the students taking Piglet’s positive mindset into their everyday lives. She went as far as to correspond with the teacher over the school year, planning on giving the students a big surprise.
“At the end of the year, we surprised the kids. 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,” Melissa says.
Melissa Learned About The Student’s Outreach
The students were having a “Pink Party” in honor of Piglet. The students were able to ask questions about the pink dog and personally meet and pet him. Talk about an awesome school day! The students even made Piglet ears, which they wore for a group picture with Piglet.
By the end of it, the kids were more than thrilled to talk about the fundraising project they started to help a mommy dog and her six puppies. It was something Piglet inspired them to do.
Piglet Is The Hero Kids Deserve
Melissa and Piglet had the honor to work with the third-grade class for a second year! Their teacher really wanted her students to learn the value of acceptance and tolerance. And who is a better ambassador for such things than Piglet, the blind, deaf, pink, puppy?
The students loved everything that Piglet represented. They even went as far as handwriting fan letters to him! It goes to show that not all heroes wear capes — some sport floppy pink ears.
Meeting With The Students Led To Something Big
The fact that Piglet’s story helped the students in Massachusetts gave Melissa an idea. She was going to take the teacher’s phrase “Piglet Mindset” and build an outreach program around it. Other students would be able to benefit from learning about kindness, tolerance, flexibility, and overcoming various challenges.
The Piglet Mindset Outreach program was developed to help teach children how to face challenges, to work with what they have, and to not worry about what they don’t have.
Piglet’s Mindset Outreach Program Is Spreading
The program consists of various online learning materials, such as, “the Story of Piglet, the deaf, blind, pink puppy,” “Piglet and the three senses,” “What’s so Special about Piglet, the deaf, blind, pink, puppy?,” “Piglet Mindset,” and”Piglet Mindset Lesson Plans.”
The important lessons have spread all over the globe, from classrooms in Alabama and Connecticut to some in Japan and Australia. People are able to experience the positive role model that is the tiny deaf, blind, and pink puppy.
People Are Growing Together Because Of Piglet
Piglet set out on a mission he didn’t know young kids needed. The now six-pound puppy is changing the way people think about themselves and disabilities. He is an exceptional model for children in the classroom, at home, and even in community service settings.
He’s an inspiration for kids who might be a bit different, letting them know that it’s okay and that they should celebrate their differences. Who wants to be the same as everyone else anyway?
Piglet’s Missions Is Succeeding
According to Piglet’s website, he has quite a few missions that he wants to accomplish. The good news is that he is hitting each one in stride. Two of his big missions are to “facilitate Piglet Mindset outreach to teachers and students,” and to “put a smile on faces all over the world.”
We think he is doing both of those in a spectacular fashion. Not to mention he is also bringing awareness to special needs animals.
Piglet Met All Expectations
Melissa never imagined that the screaming pink puppy was going to be so awe-inspiring to people around the world. Her only stipulation when she formally adopted Piglet was that she was going to make sure he had a meaningful and productive life.
Considering that Piglet is now a teaching tool for children to learn about positivity and acceptance, and the third-grade class held a fundraiser in Piglet’s honor, it’s safe to say he exceeding all expectations.