Blind, Deaf Pup Named Piglet, Beloved for Teaching Acceptance, Is Coming Out with His Own Book
PIGLET: The Unexpected Story of a Deaf, Blind, Pink Puppy and His Family is due to hit shelves on August 3, 2021
Piglet is starting a new chapter of his life, literally.
The blind, deaf, and pink pooch, known to many as a canine teacher that helps kids celebrate their differences, is about to have his own book. PIGLET: The Unexpected Story of a Deaf, Blind, Pink Puppy and His Family (from Simon & Schuster/Atria Books). is due to hit shelves on August 3, 2021, but PEOPLE has an exclusive look at the cover of the book right now.
The cover features a stunning shot of Piglet himself donning a blue shirt and a serious look. While Piglet may be alone on the cover, the dog isn't taking on this big step solo, his upcoming book is a family affair. Melissa Shapiro, a Connecticut veterinarian and Piglet's owner, is writing the story of Piglet's life, a fitting choice since she has such a big part in it.
When Piglet was just a puppy, Shapiro got a call from his rescuers at Colbert Veterinary Rescue Services asking if she would foster the blind, deaf dog, who wasn't even two pounds when he first met Shapiro. The vet quickly accepted the offer to take Piglet, and just as fast the little dog changed her life. Upon his arrival at Shapiro's home, which she shared with her husband, three college-aged kids, and 6 rescue dogs at the time, Piglet was one of the most anxious and traumatized dogs the vet ever met.
"He screamed his way through the first few weeks of our 'foster project'. We held him, taught him tap signals, and reassured him with a comfortable, reliable routine. In turn, Piglet connected with his human and dog family, gained confidence, and started to settle down," Shapiro told PEOPLE about her first few weeks with the pup, who was rescued from an animal hoarding situation.
Through patient, consistent, and compassionate work, and with plenty of help from her family and other dogs, Shapiro was able to help Piglet emerge from his shell and gain confidence and strength. This partnership also formed a bond between the pair that is so strong, they don't need visual or sound cues to communicate.
Thanks to this love and support from Shapiro and her family, Piglet grew into a vibrant and caring 6-pound pet, and by the time Piglet was ready to be adopted, Shapiro knew she was willing to rearrange her life to make Piglet a part of it forever.
"It became very clear that he was already home," she added.
Over three years later, Piglet is still "profoundly disabled," which requires Shapiro to center her life "around his need to be cuddled, his basic day to day routine, and his active social calendar." But she is more than happy to put in the work since Piglet shows up and does the same every day too. All of the details of this amazing story of survival and sweet success are shared in PIGLET: The Unexpected Story of a Deaf, Blind, Pink Puppy and His Family, which also covers the canine's rise to social media fame after Shapiro started posting peeks at Piglet's positive world view on Facebook. Now, Piglet has thousands of followers on Facebook and Instagram, who learn about all kinds of important animal causes from the pooch's pages.
"I made a promise to myself, that I would make sure Piglet would have a meaningful, productive life. Since Piglet’s Facebook following was already growing into the thousands, I saw his popularity as an opportunity to raise awareness and funding for special needs dog rescue groups," Shapiro said.
And this public platform opened up even more opportunities to do good. In 2017, a Facebook comment from a 3rd-grade teacher on Piglet's page inspired Shapiro to create the Piglet Mindset Educational Outreach Program, which provides teaching resources that help kids learn how to accept and work through life challenges with a positive attitude, just like Piglet!
Only three-and-a-half years old, Piglet is just getting started on his quest to make the world a better place with Shapiro's help. Along with PIGLET: The Unexpected Story of a Deaf, Blind, Pink Puppy and His Family, which is available from pre-order, Shapiro and her pup are working on another book, Piglet Comes Home, which is Shapiro’s picture book for children that comes out in Fall 2021 from Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing/Aladdin Books.