What’s cuter than a puppy? A pink puppy. And what’s cuter than that? A pink puppy who’s setting an example to kids around the world, that’s what.
It’s no secret that dogs can improve kids’ emotional wellbeing. But Piglet, an adorably pastel-colored Dachshund-chihuahua mix, goes even further. He uses his ever-expanding social media platform to spread an important message of acceptance — embrace what makes you different.
Piglet has plenty of differences himself: He can’t see or hear. But this isn’t stopping the pastel pup from spreading an important message of acceptance.
Life hasn’t come easy for Piglet. He was born in a Georgia home, joining 37 other puppies in a hoarding situation. After being rescued and taken to a shelter, he was fostered by veterinarian Melissa Shapiro from Connecticut. What was initially a temporary arrangement quickly became permanent as Shapiro fell in love with her truly unique canine companion.
According to Shapiro, when two dapple-patterned dogs breed, there is a 25% chance that each of their pups will receive two dapple genes, which is known as “double dapple” or “double merle” and is linked to congenital ear and eye defects.
“Piglet faces his challenges with a positive mindset,” Shapiro wrote on Instagram.
This mindset has come to be known as the “Piglet Mindset,” a concept created by a third-grade teacher in Massachusetts who was inspired by Piglet’s can-do attitude. The teacher used this model to teach her students about positive growth, which promotes the idea that instead of giving up, struggling can actually lead to growth. Shapiro has since created the Piglet Mindset Educational Outreach Program, which includes learning materials that are free to download, and which teaches kids how to face challenges, make the most of what they have and not dwell on what they don’t have.
The pup has even become something of a celebrity, making his New York debut at the New York Pet Fashion Show in Feb. 2018, taking part in the first annual Special K9 Games in Columbus, Ohio, in May 2018 and attending The Body Shop Forever Against Animal Testing parade as an invited guest in October 2018 to help deliver over 8 million signatures against animal testing to the United Nations.
Advertising revenue and sales of Piglet-themed merchandise have raised more than $30,000 from special-needs animal shelters.
And Shapiro hopes Piglet’s story will encourage more people to give special-needs animals their forever homes.
“People are afraid to adopt these animals, they think that it’s going to be too much work,” she told People. “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.”