Meet Esther the Wonder Pig, the 595-Pound Pig Turned Family Pet and Farm Animal Advocate
When Steve Jenkins adopted his pet pig Esther, famously known as Esther the Wonder Pig on social media, he had no idea she would change his life forever.
Esther's adoption story began when a friend of Jenkins' messaged him on Facebook asking if he was interested in adopting a mini pig. He didn't know *quite* what they were in for when he agreed, but Jenkins brought home Esther the next day.
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Jenkins and his partner, Derek Walter, took her in and quickly became attached to the small pink piglet. When they took her to her first veterinary appointment a few weeks later, they told the vet what they knew about the sweet little piggy—that she was a mini piglet expected to grow up to 70 pounds.
Turns out, there wasn't anything 'mini' about Esther. Her vet told Jenkins that she likely came from a commercial farm and had the potential to grow up to 800 pounds!
"[The vet] turned Esther around and showed me her little tail and he said, 'Nobody that breeds pigs for pets would ever cut off a pig's tail,'" Jenkins tells Daily Paws.
"At that point, we had her for a few weeks. We had fallen in love with her. We knew we were keeping her," Jenkins says.
Jenkins and Walter knew they couldn't care for Esther at their home if she was going to grow into an animal the size of a male grizzly bear. So to keep up with their growing pig (who now tips the scale at an impressive 595 pounds), the couple decided to move to a farm, where they could give Esther the space she needed and even adopt other animals in need of a home. To do so, they started a fundraiser—and it raised $440,000 in just 60 days.
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Because of the fundraiser, the couple were able to start Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary with the mission of rescuing abused, neglected and abandoned farm animals. Jenkins tells Daily Paws the farm currently homes around 100 animals—pigs, chickens, goats, cows, horses, donkeys and even peacocks—all with the purpose of giving them a better life.
"We're trying to create a connection with animals that people don't usually get to know," Jenkins tells Daily Paws. "It's giving a name and a face and a personality to these animals."
Online, Esther does just that. As the face of the sanctuary and their mission, her Instagram account showcases her life as a pet pig—and how it's not all too different than one of a typical dog or cat. The sweet piggy patiently waits for table scraps to drop, happily takes over the entire couch, and even dresses in silly costumes just like the rest of our dogs.
With over 1.5 million Facebook followers, Jenkins hopes Esther and her social media stardom inspires others to view all farm animals in a different light. "I feel like Esther is more human than any other animal I've had the privilege of getting to know…We're just very lucky to be able to spend time with her," he says.