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Friday 9 June 2023 Dublin: 15°C
# esther the wonder pig
Her owners thought she was a micro-pig... but Esther's now 240kg and has raised $400k
This pet ‘Wonder Pig’ sparked a fundraising campaign to build an animal sanctuary.

Esther Thewonderpig / YouTube

DO YOU THINK your dog, cat, or whatever your pet of choice is, could have as profound an effect on people to spark a six-figure fundraising campaign?

A single rescued farm pig in Canada has done just that, raising $400,000 to help buy a farm that will be turned into an animal sanctuary.

Esther, a 240kg house-trained pet sow, currently has 155,000 fans on Facebook who her owners hope will see the animals in a different light after witnessing her antics.

She lives in the home of a Canadian couple, Steve and Derek, alongside their dogs and two cats. She sleeps on the couch, begs for food or a scratch, and acts exactly like any other pet would.

However, Esther has completely changed the course of her owners’ lives. Both have become vegan, and aim to give up the day job to open a pig sanctuary.

“The whole space will be designed to break down barriers and level the playing field between our companion animals, and those we see as products,” Steve wrote on their Indiegogo campaign page.

Dubbed a Wonder Pig, her story began in 2011, when Steve was offered to a adopt a micro-pig, and as an animal-lover found it the offer hard to turn down (like most people would, in fairness).

Esther Thewonderpig / YouTube

Esther, seen here during her “micro” days.

However, during her first vet visit it was discovered that she had a docked-tail, indicting that she was in fact a commercially-bred pig. She is a breed known as a Large White Pig, and in another life would have probably ended up on someone’s dinner plate.

Esther was destined to be anything but micro, but despite her large size, Derek and Steve let her live alongside them.

“She is completely house trained asking us to go outside, and letting us know when she wants back in,” Steve explained on their Indiegogo page.

“She has a bed in the living room where she sleeps at night, and big bin of toys that she plays with constantly.  She even sits for her treats and climbs in and out of the bath when its time for a scrub down… even at her current weight of approximately 530lbs or more.”

Esther Thewonderpig / YouTube

Having secured a mortgage on a farm, and set in motion the process of opening a registered charity, the couple launched a campaign to raise money for a down-payment.

After hundreds of donations, with incentives for larger donations such as a Skype call with the woman herself, they have now raised in excess of $400,000 (€290,000).

Now the task is to finalise the purchase of the farm and begin renovations. The couple say that all pigs at the sanctuary will be trained just like Esther was in order to showcase their striking personality and intelligence, and all will be kept in a homely environment.

Esther Thewonderpig / YouTube

The fundraising campaign ends within a matter of hours (more details here), having exceeded its target, but with an anonymous donor willing to put an extra $5,000 if they can raise a further $10,000.

Read: You WISH someone had woken you up today like this pig did >

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