This social media sensation was adopted as a baby and when one of her dads first saw her, she had sunburned ears and chipped (pink) nail polish. Flash forward to five years later and she is a social media icon with over 1.1 million followers on FB alone, superstar fans like Ricky Gervais and Josh Groban, and a NY Times Best Seller, written by her dads, all about her early years.
Who is this Queen of the smart phone screens? I'm talking about Esther The Wonder Pig. Truth be told, we drove nearly 9 hours this past weekend to the Ontario, Canada area to volunteer at the animal sanctuary her two dads Steve (mentioned above) & Derek named for her - Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary. Long story short-ish, since Esther became part of their lives, Steve and Derek have dedicated themselves to saving other animals and living a cruelty free lifestyle, including going completely vegan. (Oh yeah, dad Steve was told initially that she was a "mini" pig. Nope. She currently weighs in around 650 lbs.)
Neither of us had any previous experience with the kind of outdoor labor synonymous with keeping a farm sanctuary running smoothly, but being major fans of Esther, we were inspired, unloading two trucks of hay (Hay, those bails are heavy!) and later, helping relocate a rather large (and prickly) pile of brush.
Now, we knew going in that just because we had signed on to help out on the property for the day, there was still no guarantee we'd see the big star herself, who lives in the main house along with her dads, dog siblings (Reuben and Shelby - We met them yesterday and can confirm that they are indeed good dogs.), and two cats. There's also her newest friend, and head of security, who patrols the outskirts of the house, a turkey named Corneilus, rescued from a nearby former hobby farm that could no longer care for him. (He's developed quite the following during the short time he's been at HEEFS btw.)
We met a lot of fantastic first time volunteers and regulars, shopped The Esther Store (We bought 2 t-shirts, but Esther has a whole collection of merch, from hoodies to jewelry and pillows to a fan photo with her hoof print and a message of love.), and took a few much needed water and Gatorade breaks. But the question was - would we see her or not? With our day due to wrap in about an hour, we strolled the path that runs by Esther's backyard, and famous blue plastic pool (I dare you to watch one of the videos of her "piggy swimming", as Steve calls it, and not smile or laugh out loud.), to see most of the other volunteers gathered. Wait, What?!? Could it be? Was Esther going to grace us?
Again, we had been told in advance that there was a good chance we would NOT see her because Steve and Derek don't force the animals to do anything (Can't blame them!), but Esther did make her way out of the parlor, where she has a day bed, into the garden and eventually, yes, into that blue plastic pool for a quick mid-afternoon dip. Much to the thrill of us super fans, waiting behind the fence, then suddenly snapping dozens of pics and videos to share on social.
So, maybe it's completely corny, but Esther makes me happy. She's an adorable distraction who's definitely worth a follow on FB, IG or even Twitter. I mean, even our old friend Josh Groban (from paragraph 1) credits her as such, tweeting not too long ago about how he binge watches Esther videos whenever he has song writer's block in the studio.
PS - Esther also has a children's book coming out soon and it's already breaking records over on Amazon for the most pre-orders.