"When we kept him, I said he needs to have some bigger meaning," says Piglet's mom.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on October 7, 2019. It has since been updated.
A pink puppy, who was born in a home in Georgia, is winning the internet and hearts of many kids with his way of life and unparalleled courage. Piglet was born blind and deaf but that did not make him different from any of his friends. According to his adoptive mother, Melissa Shapiro, Piglet is "like a little prince," reports People.
When Shapiro adopted Piglet from the shelter after he was rescued, she never thought that he will become an inseparable part of her life. A veterinarian, Shapiro intended to foster him for a couple of months until she realized that living without him was no more likely.
"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." While Piglet joined a pack of 7 other pups at Shapiro's home, adjusting to the new home and new family was not smooth.
"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. However, with the passage of time, Piglet accepted his new life and loved being around his brothers and sisters.
Shapiro says that he is like any other puppy who loves to travel like any other, play with his puppy siblings, stroll around the park in his doggie stroller and snuggle in his dad's arm.
He has also become a social media star with 1,00,000 followers on Instagram. Shapiro says, she knew that Piglet was meant for greater things and she wanted to enable the cause, "When we kept him, I said he needs to have some bigger meaning," she said.
His story inspired a school teacher in Massachusetts, who used Piglet as a positive growth model to teach third-graders the importance of positive outlook and growth through struggles. "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.
This made Shapiro realize the positive impact that Piglet is having on society, especially, kids. She, therefore, launched an official Piglet Mindset Outreach program that helps kids face challenges and inspires them to never give up. The program that consists of online learning material also encourages them to concentrate on what they have and not worry about what they don't.
The program is supporting people across the globe and has reached classrooms in Alabama, Connecticut, and even Japan and Australia. Shapiro also lets people download the reading for free from 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, reports People.
Piglet has not only made Shapiro's family happier with his presence, but he is also touching many lives in his own unique way. Shapiro plans to expand her outreach program to many other places, by eventually, turning into an NGO, in the future and impart knowledge about animals with special needs and how all of us can learn from them.
"It makes a lot of people really happy to know him," Shapiro says.