Allow us to introduce you to Pig, one of the most unusual — and inspirational — dogs you will ever meet. Pig is such a sweetheart, and such an uplifting example of surviving and finding happiness against all odds, the she’s now become a canine celebrity in Helena, Alabama, where she now lives with Kim Dillenbeck, the woman who rescued her.
Now eight months old, it’s amazing that Pig has made it this far — but she’s still going strong. Pig was found in the woods outside of Atlanta, one of a litter born to a mom who was not only stray, but feral. Any newborn puppy would find it difficult to survive in those circumstances. But Pig, despite her heartbreaking handicaps, was determined to live.
She was the one who barked and barked until someone found her, and the other dogs in the litter, and took them in. But Pig had such severe birth defects that the first veterinarian who saw Pig had one medical recommendation: Put the dog down.
The little dog was born in the wild with extreme birth defects. Part of her spine is simply missing. Other vertebrae are fused and twisted. Pig’s hips and joints rotate in the wrong positions. When you look at her from the side, Pig looks less like a dog and more like, well, a pig.
But Pig has one big advantage going for her.
“Pig doesn’t know there’s anything wrong with her,” said Dillenbeck, who adopted Pig after meeting her on a family visit to Georgia. The cheerful little dog has never known life any other way. She runs and stands on her back legs. She does not appear to be suffering in any way.
“The only time she ever cried out was when I got her (micro)chipped. Or when I accidentally stepped on her toe — and you have to step on it really hard,” Dillenbeck said. “But she’s vocal. She barks when she wants your attention. She makes a weird sort of sound when she’s playful.”
She is now eight months old and weighs just 15 pounds. Pig’s sisters, who developed normally, are at least twice that weight already.
“She’s not fully grown,” Dillenbeck said. “She’s still gaining weight. At this point, she has the potential to gain another 20 pounds, and that would probably kill her.”
Because her body is compressed from her shortened spine, Pig can choke very easily. Her lungs have little room to expand, and putting on much more weight could cut off her breathing.
How long will Pig live? The vets don’t know. They say they’ve never seen a dog like Pig. But Dillenbeck says that every moment she spends with Pig is a gift.
“I’m the lucky one,” says Dillenbeck about the incredible little dog. “She makes me laugh every day.”