Meet Esther the Wonder Pig, A 'Teacup Pig' That Grew To 650 Pounds
From Esther the Wonder Pig's social media following to her impact on her owners' lives, there's nothing small about this 650-pound so-called "teacup pig."
When Steve Jenkins brought Esther home, he was under the impression that she would stay tiny, he told InsideEdition.com.
Jenkins said an acquaintance had told him she could no longer handle her teacup pig because she had just given birth, and already had dogs at home. So Jenkins took Esther off her hands without consulting his partner, Derek Walter.
Soon, the pig started growing.
"At no point until [Esther] had really started growing could anybody give us a concrete answer, just because there were so many inaccurate facts," Jenkins told IE.com. They were originally told that Esther was 6 months old and spayed. They say the vet also told the couple that Esther could reach a maximum weight of 200 pounds.
Jenkins and Walter soon found out that none of that was true when Esther reached a whopping 650 pounds.
But they took it in stride, and adapted their life to accommodate the giant addition to their life.
"By the time we had learned all of that, [Walter] had already kind of fallen for her the way I had," Jenkins said.
Jenkins said one of the biggest challenges was potty training: "We started with a litter box. The last box we used was a kiddy pool, until we had to stop and take her outside."
The trio soon had to relocate -- not because she was too big, but because her social media following had gotten too big.
"We used to live in a little bungalow. Our house was 1,000 square feet but Esther had a little backyard," Jenkins said. "It was her popularity online that got us to move, because we lived in a town where she was illegal [even though] we did a good job keeping it quiet."
They had been thinking of opening an animal sanctuary, so in May 2014, they made moves to fund it. They began an Indiegogo campaign, where fans from all over the world donated a whopping $440,000 within two months.
Walter and Jenkins used the money to purchase a 50-acre farm in Campbellville, Ontario they aptly named Happily Ever Esther.
But purchasing the land was only beginning. Neither of them had experience working on a farm.
"Every day there's something else to figure out. Little things, like learning to drive a tractor. Derek and I have never operated a tractor!" the former real estate agent said. Jenkins also said his partner used to be an electrician.
"We're not farmers," Jenkins laughed, "I've never met a cow until we got here, and three of them arrived at the farm a few months later."
Now, a year and a half after they moved in, Happily Ever Esther is home to almost 40 animals, including cows, horses, donkeys, goats, sheep, chickens, a peacock, a rooster and, of course, pigs.
"We have had a crazy amount of help from both professional and regular people that want to help," Jenkins said.
Volunteers from around the world also flock to Happily Ever Esther to the point where Walter and Jenkins had to begin turning people away: "We only allow a certain number of volunteers. We're not equipped to handle more than 100 people."
But people have been more than happy to help in other ways. In addition to the crowdfunding campaign to raise money for a farm, Jenkins and Walter also enlisted the help of Esther's fans to raise money to cover bills and animal feed, where people donated over $100,000 to the cause.
"Esther has a reach," Jenkins said.
She now has over 600,000 followers on Facebook, where Jenkins and Walter actively post various photos and videos of their beloved pig.
Her stories will also be recounted in a book, "Esther The Wonder Pig: Changing The World One Heart at a Time," due to be released in May.
Even with her new celebrity status, Jenkins said Esther still lives in their home, though she loves to visit the barn.
"She just had foot surgery and she's climbing up on our king-sized bed," Jenkins said. "Derek and I had to move bedrooms."