Piglet: The Unexpected Story of a Deaf Blind Pink Puppy and His Family

          Melissa Shapiro could have said no when asked to foster a deaf, blind, and traumatized puppy. After all, Shapiro, a veterinarian with a busy practice already had six rescue dogs, a husband and three college-aged children in her home. She certainly didn’t have the time, energy, or room to take on a highly anxious  puppy who weighed less than two pound and whose pink color has earned him the name of Piglet.

         But Shapiro said yes to the dog. And though it initially wasn’t easy she and her family didn’t give up. She recounts Piglet’s transformation from a fearful and reclusive animal into a happy, confident pooch with his own Facebook page and Instagram account in her just released book, Piglet: The Unexpected Story of a Deaf Blind Pink Puppy and His Family.

         “I am a very routine oriented person,” says Shapiro who lives in Connecticut. “My other dogs happily integrate into my daily schedule which makes having so many relatively easy. When Piglet arrived, he literally turned things upside down. He had no idea where he was or what to expect, so he screamed and carried on for hours a day.”

         And so to help Piglet adapt, Shapiro adapted as well, changing her schedule to accommodate Piglet’s needs. It was tough at first and the family, though dedicated to doing what was best for Piglet, worried just how much attention and accommodation he would continue to need as he got older. But like the Beatle song, “All You Need is Love,” the Shapiros  found that Piglet quickly responded  to lots of hugs, a predictable daily schedule, and their friendly pack of rescued canines.

         “The other dogs were very accommodating to Piglet,” says Shapiro. “They learned to play with him  gently, and they brought him into their playtime, being careful to include him when he lost track of where they were.”

         In three months, his screams had subsided as he became more and more comfortable with his new life. Videos on Piglet’s You Tube Channel happily playing with dogs at least twice his size. And his endearing, sweet personality has made Piglet a rock star with a large social media reach including 256,000 Instagram and 181,000 Facebook followers.

         “My initial idea when adopting Piglet was to raise awareness for rescued dogs and specifically disabled dogs and other animals,” says Shapiro. “Piglet’s Facebook page and then Instagram account were effective platforms for increasing exposure and fundraising for rescue organizations. Our Piglet Mindset™ educational program began early on so we had a dual purpose for our social media accounts. As the educational outreach grew and expanded, followers were eager to support our work with donations. Creating our nonprofit organization, Piglet International Inc., was the next step in growing Piglet Mindset and continuing to educate and advocate for dogs with disabilities.”

         Like many stars, Piglet loves having an audience and laps up being the center of attention. Because he needs all that plus almost constant physical affection, the family takes him almost everywhere they go.

Though that can be somewhat limiting, Shapiro says she doesn’t mind.

“He is a happy little dog,” she says. “He brings joy to everything he does, and he has a way of making sure we all join him and pause for a smile. Piglet has turned out to be a sweet, happy, and inspiring little dog for people all around the world. I have absolutely no regrets. It’s a lot of fun to be his mom.”

To learn more about Piglet, Piglet Mindset™ educational outreach, visit PigletMindset.org. Follow Piglet on Facebook at Piglet, the deaf blind pink puppy, and Instagram- @pinkpigletpuppy

Piglet Virtual Events

What: Join Piglet and Melissa Shapiro at upcoming Zoom events. The events are free. To register, visit www.pigletthedog.com and go to the events page.

W. Bruce Cameron: A Dog’s Promise

W. Bruce Cameron continues the story of Bailey, now an angel dog, in his latest book, A Dog’s Promise.

            W. Bruce Cameron continues the story of Bailey, now an angel dog, in his latest book, A Dog’s Promise.

            “Bailey has been sent to a boy in a wheelchair whose family is really struggling with many issues and is being torn apart,” says Cameron, who’s other two books featuring Bailey are the bestsellers A Dog’s Purpose and A Dog’s Journey. “Bailey’s mission to fulfill a promise to help these people out.”

            Cameron’s last two books have been made into movies starring Dennis Quaid, the scripts of which he and his wife, author and comedian Cathryn Michon, co-authored with several other writers. There’s little doubt that A Dog’s Promise will be too. But these wonderful heartwarming stories about Bailey (who is joined by another special dog name Lacey in this book) might never have been written if Cameron’s first writing dream had come true.

            “I started off thinking I’d write thrillers for adults,” he says. “I’d turn out one once a year just like Michael Connelly.”

            Bailey as a cop, government agent or spy?

            Luckily it didn’t happen that way. Instead, hoping to convince Michon, who was heartbroken over her loss of a beloved dog, to let them adopt another dog, Cameron spun a canine tale to tell her. She was so taken that she insisted he should turn his story into a book. That morphed into his A Dog’s Purpose series (there’s also a puppy’s purpose series as well). The two married and now have adopted what Cameron describes as a “mixed DNA” dog they named Tucker.

            “He’s sitting here right now as we’re talking,” says Cameron who is currently working on a Christmas novella about a dog and a new series, Lily’s to The Rescue starting in 2020. “He may be expecting me to cook for him.”

            Ah, a dog’s life.

            If writing all these books, many of which are New York Times and USA Today best sellers, seems to indicate a well-organized mind, Cameron disagrees.

            “My brain has always been a cluttered attic full of stories,” he says. “I was the kid who instead of paying attention in class, was writing stories.”

            But just as Bailey has a purpose, so does Cameron. One of the take-aways he’d like readers to get from his books is this: if people would adopt canine values—respect, love, support and caring—the world would be a much better place.

            “I think A Dog’s Promise is a story that can help us come together,” he says. “We build up all these barriers. But if you just follow the path of this dog or any dog, you can overcome what keeps us apart.”

Ifyougo:

What: W. Bruce Cameron presentation and book signing

When: Tuesday, October 15 at 7 p.m.

Where: Stevenson Hall in the Wentz Science Center on the campus of North Central College, 131 S. Loomis St., Napier, IL

Cost: A ticket for one person cost $32.00 ($34.59 w/service fee). Includes a copy of the new book with a personalized signing and photo. The ticket package for two is $42.00 ($45.09 w/service fee). Admits two people and includes one copy of the new book with a personalized signing and photo. To purchase tickets, brownpapertickets.com/event/4343095

FYI: (630) 355-2665; andersonsbookshop.com

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