Piglet, the deaf blind pink puppy was rescued from a hoarding situation in Georgia along with his mother and 3 litter mates. He is a Dachshund Chihuahua mix, and the product of two dapple colored parents. Dapple to dapple breeding results in a 25% chance of each puppy being “double dapple.” This double dapple color pattern is linked to congenital ear and eye defects that may result in partially or completely deaf/blind puppies. Piglet is deaf and blind. After a lot of love and attention, Piglet is now a happy, healthy dog who raises awareness and fundraises around the world. Here, his mom shares a recent adventure.
I am a small animal house call veterinarian. I am also a lifelong, devoted dog lover, and have quite a few. Seven dogs provide plenty of drama, but one of my dogs is extra special.
In March of 2017, I agreed to foster a tiny deaf blind double dapple doxie chihuahua mix rescued from a hoarding situation. While I have raised many puppies over the years, I had no idea what I was in store for when I picked up the screaming 1.5 pound baby from a Petco dog adoption event in Milford, CT.
We named him Piglet because he looked like a baby pig. He also looks like Piglet from Winnie the Pooh. He brought chaos into our house and I’m embarrassed to admit that initially, I tried desperately to find him a home. But in the end, after reviewing many adoption applications, it became clear that he had already found his home and he was here to stay.
When we finally made the decision to formally adopt Piglet, I promised to give our tiny pink Piglet puppy a meaningful, productive life. I created his Facebook page and contacted a variety of social media networks. Soon, he landed his first The Dodo video. We began educating, inspiring, fundraising, and spreading smiles all around the world.
A year later, Piglet has raised thousands of dollars for special needs dog rescues through Piglet merchandise sales and generous donations. I created two educational PowerPoint presentations that can be easily accessed in video format on YouTube. The Story of Piglet, the deaf blind pink puppy focuses on Piglet’s ability to overcome challenges using what he has and not what he is missing.
A number of elementary school teachers have used our video to teach their students about kindness, tolerance, flexibility, and overcoming challenges. Despite his profound disabilities, Piglet maps his environment using his senses of smell, touch, taste, extra sensory perception, and proprioception. He has learned to run up stairs, he loves to take walks in our neighborhood and on college campuses, he visits friends at the bank and vet hospital where I work, and he makes people smile wherever he goes. Our classroom visits leave children and teachers feeling inspired and motivated to work on their own challenges. The children also learn to respect Piglet’s limitations. They understand that he becomes overwhelmed if he is crowded by too many friends all at once. He meets and recognizes people by smelling their mouths and faces. So, when twenty kids are breathing around him, even though he can’t see or hear them, he knows they are there!
An outstanding, creative third grade teacher in Plainville, MA shared Piglet’s videos with her class. They discussed how Piglet’s positive mindset has helped him overcome challenges. They decided to use Piglet as a role model and face each day with a “Piglet State of Mind” in order to grow as students and individuals. The children were so inspired with Piglet’s positive attitude towards learning, growing, and overcoming challenges that they adopted Piglet as their Growth Mindset mascot. And they coined the phrases A Piglet State of Mind and A Piglet Mindset.
The children fell in love with Piglet. Their parents reported that when difficult situations came up at home, the children would ask What would Piglet do? They purchased Piglet T-shirts to wear as they share Piglet’s story with others.
On June 7, 2018 we took a 2 1/2 hour road trip to make a surprise visit to meet the class. The kids had no idea they were going to meet Piglet in person. They were told they would be FaceTiming with us so they were enthusiastically sitting in front of a smart board when we walked into the classroom for the elaborate Pink Party which had been set up by their parents. Needless to say, the excitement in the room was palpable. Parents had iPhones pointed in every direction and there were quite a few emotional tears.
The pink party was the culmination of a year of correspondence with this inquisitive, insightful, sweet group of children and their creative, innovative, lovely teacher. We talked about Piglet and answered all of their questions. Piglet did his repertoire of tricks with his sister dogs Susie, Zoey, and Evie. We all put on our Pink Piglet ears and got into a Piglet State of Mind for a group picture. Then everyone got to meet Piglet and pet him. The children ate pink popcorn and other pink snacks and we gave each of them a pink Piglet flashlight and wristband. We learned about their class fundraising project which was sent to Arkansas to help a very special rescued mama dog and her six puppies.
Piglet came to us as a screaming, anxious, tiny puppy. He didn’t know where he was or how to maneuver in his environment. Over time, with patience and careful accommodation, he has overcome great obstacles to become a happy, confident, active little dog. He is an example of a positive growth mindset that children easily embrace. He is also extremely adorable, which only adds to his magnetic charm.
Our experiences sharing and observing Piglet as a teaching tool for children have become a highlight that I could never have imagined when I met the tiny screaming pink puppy. When we decided to formally adopt Piglet the only stipulation I made was that he would have a meaningful, productive life. Our inspiring 3rd grade friends in Massachusetts confirmed that the pink puppy is more than meeting my hopes for him.
Read more about Piglet’s mission and adventures here!
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