Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter from Ontario, Canada didn't know what they were getting into when they adopted a pig named Esther.
"I saw a message on Facebook from a friend saying she had a 'mini pig' that wasn't getting along with her dogs, and she needed to get rid of it," Steve tells the Good News blog. "The following morning I met this person at my office and picked up a 2-3 pound piglet."
Steve was under the impression that Esther wouldn't get bigger than 70 pounds, max. Now at 385 pounds, it's apparent that Esther is no mini-pig. The couple eventually discovered that she once belonged to a factory farm where she likely would have been used for food.
Esther is now a loved member of their family, which includes dogs Shelby and Reuben and cats Finnegan and Delores. "Esther gets along great with their other animals," says Steve. "The dogs will sleep with her and they play occasionally, but Esther's size has made that a little harder as she got bigger. They do spend a lot of time grazing around the yard and nap together all the time."
Esther, nicknamed "The Wonder Pig," loves to play and wrestle - that is, when she's not sleeping 10 to 18 hours a day, depending on the season. She gets a bath every few weeks, though contrary to popular belief, she doesn't smell. She's also completely housebroken, just like her canine siblings.
Living with Esther has convinced Steve and Derek to adopt a vegan diet. "Derek was cooking dinner for us one night and we had Esther for a week or two by this point," he says. "For whatever reason he looked at the meat in the pan, and glanced down at Esther who was staring back up at him. He then looked at me and we pretty much had the same thought at the same time. He said, 'I can't do it', and that was that."
Steve says that Esther has an infectious personality and is "hysterical" to be around. "You can almost tell her mood just by looking at her," he tells us. "She hangs her head when she's sad or grumpy, and she makes the funniest noises depending on what she's doing. She's constant entertainment, but definitely a handful, too."
"Esther also has something about her that is impossible to properly describe," he adds. "There's something about looking into her eyes and this feeling of someone looking back at you. She seems to have a whole different sense of awareness when compared to our dogs, and it may sound strange, but it's like looking into human eyes, there's just 'something there'."
"She makes us feel like we've done good, and to know we likely literally saved her life is the most amazing feeling in the world."
The couple implores others to do their research before adopting a big. "Pigs make the most incredible pets if you're prepared for what you get," he says. "Please consider adopting from a sanctuary or shelter as many are abandoned every year and these facilities are overflowing with pigs who need forever homes."
"They definitely aren't for everyone but if you do consider a pig know they are amazing pets. They're a ton of work but being able to interact with Esther and get to know her has been the most rewarding experience of our lives."
All photos from Esther the Wonder Pig's Facebook page.