Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter lived in a tiny, 1,000-square foot house with a roommate, two dogs, two cats and a micro piglet.
Or so they thought. Derek had re-homed the adorable micropiglet named Esther for an old friend who told him she’d top out at 70 pounds. And as a trusting soul, he had no reason to expect otherwise.
Until, that is, she hit 70 pounds and just kept on growing. And growing, and growing.
Esther, who’d actually been bred for the commercial meat market, finally stopped growing at 650 pounds. Steve and Derek’s little bundle of piglet joy was now more than nine times larger than they expected her to be.
And as the partners describe her in their book Esther the Wonder Pig, Esther has the smarts to match her formidable frame:
“If you could describe her in two words, you couldn’t go wrong with smart … and opportunistic. People always say pigs are smarter than dogs or cats. The truth is, it goes way beyond that.”
Many people, including Derek’s family, thought the two were completely nuts for inviting such a large pet to share their modest home. As Steve writes:
“[His] parents had had to come around to our being a couple, and now this family of hunters and farmers were supposed to accept that we were living with a pig? As a pet? They thought we were insane. Pigs are food! Pigs are dirty!”
Then, as Derek prepared bacon for their supper one evening, the true irony of their situation struck home. Esther stood next to Derek, oinking softly to ask what he was cooking. And it hit Steve:
“Realizing Esther had once literally been intended for someone’s dinner removed my ability to compartmentalize eating bacon while having a pig as a family member. Eating bacon now would be like eating one of our dogs. Or any dog.”
As it turned out, Derek was thinking exactly the same thing!
The bacon never made it into their sandwiches that night. And the couple shortly embraced a vegan lifestyle. They also started a Facebook page for Esther, who quickly achieved celebrity status.
So, thanks to their micropiglet-who-wasn’t, Steve and Derek have been able to save many more commercial pigs from becoming bacon!
My review of their follow up title, Happily Ever Esther, about their animal sanctuary – will be coming soon!