Some people believe that certain objects can bring us luck, like a four-leaf clover or a lucky coin. However, for these four lucky animals, it wasn’t an object, but some very special people who came to their rescue at just the right moment to save their lives.
Esther the Wonder Pig
Image via Facebook/Esther the Wonder Pig
Imagine taking your new pet into the veterinarian and being told she would get to be at least 600 pounds. That’s what happened when Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter took what they thought was a baby pet mini-pig to their veterinarian for the first time.
“A friend gave her to us and told us she was a pet mini-pig, and the veterinarian knew right away because of her cropped tail that she was a commercial pig meant to be raised to eat,” says Jenkins.
By that time, the couple had spent two months becoming attached to Esther and knew that she was already a part of their family. “Pigs are very smart and have personalities that are their own; we loved her,” says Jenkins.
The problem was that they lived in a town in Ontario, Canada, that didn’t allow pigs. So in 2013—a year after getting Esther—they started the Esther the Wonder Pig Facebook page, which immediately went viral.
Jenkins and Walter were able to crowdsource close to $500,000 dollars to purchase a farm in Campbellville, a nearby town, where they moved in 2014.
Their newfound space enabled them to establish the Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, which saves other animals that were meant to be livestock. Their rescue efforts of these livestock pets also inspired the couple to go completely vegan.
Escaping the slaughterhouse hasn’t been the only time Esther’s cheated death. Just after Esther’s fans helped raise $650,000 dollars in funds in 2017 for a special large animal scanner, Esther was diagnosed with breast cancer. Esther underwent surgery in 2018 and, so far, is cancer-free.
Jenkins describes Esther’s personality as “larger than life,” and when she’s not playing with her favorite animal pals, Cornelius the turkey and Phil the dog, on the farm, she loves solving treat puzzles with her KONG classic biscuit ball toy.
Esther is truly one lucky animal! And her star just keeps shining brighter. Esther currently has 4.5 million followers on Facebook, 510,000 on Instagram and 60,000 on Twitter. She even has a movie about her life that’s in production.
Pippa the Kitten
Image Courtesy of Sharri Keveson
Pippa was only about two days old when she was found in a garbage bag in a park in Brooklyn, New York. Angels for Mistreated Animals (AMA) took her in, but she needed a special foster to bottle-feed her until she grew big enough to eat on her own.
“Her foster immediately saw a wound on her hind leg, and it had maggots in it,” explains Pippa’s mom, Sharri Keveson, who lives in Astoria, New York. “The vet wanted to euthanize her because he thought the damage to her bottom would be too great.”
Pippa’s foster mom refused and kept nursing Pippa back to health. She had problems at first and was defecating on herself. “The scar tissues caused her to have a prolapsed rectum, and it pushed her rectum to the side,” says Keveson. “However, when she was able to grow a little and was switched to a raw food diet, she got better.”
Keveson adopted Pippa and Patch—another kitten who was found in a different area on the same day—on New Year’s Eve 2018.
Pippa had some developmental problems; she was underweight for her age for a while and had some issues getting around. However, Keveson says that Pippa is now a normal kitten, running and playing with her cat toys—her favorite being the JW Pet Cataction mouse toy.
“She’s amazing. She’s definitely the playful one—she always wakes me up, nuzzling my face, and she’s always grooming her brother,” says Keveson. “She’s not as agile as Patch, but she tries to keep up with him.”
Pippa and Patch their own Instagram that you can follow. Keveson says there’s no downside to having a social media star in the family; everyone seems to take joy in Pippa’s photos.
Pistachio the Dog
Image Courtesy of Riley Children's Health
Pistachio the Maltese is a dog that’s so full of spunk that you would never have thought that he was once a very sick little pup suffering from a liver shunt.
A liver shunt is when there is an abnormal blood vessel in the liver that doesn’t allow the liver to clean contaminants from the body. Luckily, Dr. Tara Harris, founder of Every Dog Counts Rescue in Indianapolis, knew when the breeder contacted her that liver shunts are treatable with the right surgery.
Dr. Harris was able to find a surgeon to close off the shunt. However, before they could do the surgery, she had to get Pistachio up from his 1.5-pound body weight to at least two pounds.
Pistachio came through the surgery with flying colors. “We then put him on social media, and he was an instant success,” says Dr. Harris.
She even applied for the 4-month old to star in Animal Planet’s 2019 Puppy Bowl. “He did great,” says Dr. Harris. “He even scored several touchdowns and was a candidate for MVP.”
When Pistachio isn’t being cute on his Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages, he is living life to the fullest. “He is fearless,” says Dr. Harris. “He has no problem running up to 80-pound dogs and trying to play with them.”
Dr. Harris hopes that Pistachio’s social media accounts will get the word out to pet parents that a liver shunt doesn’t have to be a death sentence because it is a treatable condition.
Justin the Kitten
Image Courtesy of Kelly Peters
There can be unspeakable cruelty in this world, and Justin was a victim of a truly horrible act of violence. When Justin was just a 5-week-old kitten, he was intentionally set on fire.
Kelly Peters, Justin’s adoptive mom, who lives in Montclair, New Jersey, says the little guy was lit while in a paper bag nearly six years ago.
“People just walked by and no one helped, but someone finally stepped up and helped him,” says Peters.
Justin was taken to the Animal Alliance of New Jersey, who found the medical attention he needed. He suffered second and third degree burns over two thirds of his body and lost his ears. “We say he is ‘earless and fearless,” says Peters.
When Peters adopted Justin in 2013, he was healed, although he was suffering from a few residual issues. Now, Justin is just a playful 6-year-old cat that loves catnip and cat toys.
Peters was so inspired by Justin and his story of survival that she created Justin’s social media accounts to raise funds her rescue, The Kitty Krusade, which assists the most severely injured or ill cats and helps get them into foster homes for recovery.
By: Kerri Fivecoat Campbell
Featured Image: Facebook/Esther the Wonder Pig