Pink Puppy Who Can’t Hear or See Is Inspiring Kids to Deal with Differences: Meet Piglet!

Piglet the pink puppy is spreading an important message

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Piglet
Piglet

Now very happy and living “like a little prince,” according to his owner, Piglet was born deaf and blind in a Georgia home with 37 other puppies in a hoarding situation. 

The dachshund-Chihuahua mix was rescued and sent to a shelter, then adopted by Melissa Shapiro, a Connecticut veterinarian who offered to foster the 1-lb. puppy. 

While she never intended to become his full-time mom, after two months with Piglet, Shapiro couldn’t imagine the dog living anywhere else.

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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

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“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,” Shapiro tells PEOPLE. “But he’s so cute, and we couldn’t give him away at that point.”

Piglet became No. 7 in Shapiro’s pack of pups, but his transition into the family was a rocky one. 

“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,” Shapiro says. 

Since then, Piglet has made strides, overcoming his anxiety to play with his brothers and sisters and become a mini-celebrity with more than 100,000 followers on Instagram. 

“When we kept him, I said he needs to have some bigger meaning,” Shapiro says. 

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Capping off an amazing day with this little pink boy. He is as versatile as any dog I know; in his own way. He doesn’t necessarily enjoy activities the same way other dogs do- he can’t see and he can’t hear. So when he gets to new places it takes him a lot longer to acclimate and adjust. He has 3/5 processing power compared to others. But what he has he uses to the max. That is a Piglet Mindset. Some would ask why I would drag him on a train and subway all the way to NYC to eat a few dog treats. Then drag him back home again in a Lyft car and another train. What does he get out of all of that? He enjoys experiencing the world just like any other individual does. He travels in the comfort of his own doggie stroller and he has his mom there to keep him centered. He absolutely does not want to be left home. Now we are heading out for our second dog walk at the beach. I first came down here with Gina and Dean, and Piggy. Now I’m here with Susie, Annie, Evie, and Zoey, and Piggy. He is aware of everything that goes on around him. He loves his routine and he is open to new adventures as long as he maintains some consistency like having his stroller as a home base. Piglet knows when we are off on an adventure and he makes sure he is included. I enjoy helping him live a productive, meaningful, happy life. Here he is looking as handsome as ever on a beautiful night at the beach. Have a great night. . . . #pinkpigletpuppy #beachdog #dogsdoingthings #adventuredog #dogfeatures #dogshavingfun #disableddogs #cutestever #ilovemydog #blinddogsofinstagram #deafdogsofinstagram #disableddogs

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His story found its way through social media to a third-grade classroom in Massachusetts, where a teacher used Piglet as a model for a positive growth mindset, which discourages students from giving up and instead promotes the idea that struggles, like Piglet’s, can lead to growth.

“She called it Piglet Mindset, and we corresponded throughout the year. 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,” she says. 

Shapiro now has an official Piglet Mindset Outreach program to teach children how to face challenges, work with what they have and not worry about what they don’t have.

The program, which consists of online learning materials, has spread to classrooms in Alabama, Connecticut and even Japan and Australia, and Shapiro offers it for free download on her website. 

“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,” Shapiro says.  

The money she earns from ads on social media and Piglet-themed merchandise goes to special-needs animal shelters; so far, Piglet has raised more than $30,000. 

In the future, Shapiro hopes to expand into more classrooms and eventually create a non-profit to give more to rescues. 

“It makes a lot of people really happy to know him,” Shapiro says. 

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