vegansaurus!

02/10/2014

Exclusive Interview: Meet the Dads of Esther the Wonder Pig!  »

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Thanks to her dads Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter, tens of thousands of fans (us included!) get to peek into the surprising and always adorable daily doings of Esther The Wonder Pig, the clever, undeniably photogenic 400-pound pig! It’s truly a delight each day to browse Steve and Derek’s witty status updates and glamorous pics of Esther living her genius, safe, and cozy life in Toronto with her loving dads and dog siblings!

Vegansaurus’ Sarah E. Brown interviewed Esther’s loving dads about life with Esther, how she came into their lives, and their future plans to continue spreading awareness about pigs as pets, not food.

Vegansaurus: What surprised you most about adopting Esther when she was a “mini-pig”?

Steve & Derek: How much attention she needed. It was like having a child running around the house. We couldn’t let her out of our sight or she would get into everything!

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V: How did you two meet? How long have you been together? How long into your relationship did Esther come into the picture?

S&D: We’ve been together for over 13 years now. Steve is a realtor, Derek is a professional magician. We met as teenagers working at a restaurant. Esther didn’t come along until about 12 years in.

V: On social media, we all get to see the amazing images of Esther in her full glory—we also get to see her sassy personality. How did you decide to start documenting her presence in your life through social media and your website? And who posts most of the updates?

S&D: We really only wanted somewhere to share her with family and friends. We had no idea she would become so popular, so quickly. This has been a really unexpected and sometimes overwhelming experience. We had no idea she would touch so many people in such a deep and profound way. It’s amazing. Steve mostly does the updates, but Derek adds in his fair share of input.

V: How did you decide to name her Esther?

S&D: We just wanted a fun and “comfortable” name. For whatever reason, Esther seemed like a very traditional, human name and it just clicked. There wasn’t really any sort if inspiration in particular, it just worked.

V: You’ve recently gotten a lot of press, and over 76,000 followers on Facebook (congrats!). In your recent Mercy For Animals (MFA) interview, you talked about how people have reached out to you. What’s the coolest connection you’ve made so far since adopting Esther and telling your story?

S&D: That’s really hard to answer. We’ve heard from some incredible people. Some that still make our heads spin to be honest. We got to do an interview with Sam Simon, and we’ve been on Ellen’s good news blog. Friends at Mercy for animals and PETA have shared about us. There have been some amazing people that run blogs of their own, and have become good friends already. We even have some celebrity followers on Twitter. It’s really crazy.

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V: Besides apples, what are Esther’s favorite foods?

S&D: She loves pretty much any fruit or candy. They’re just like humans so if it’s a treat for us, it’s a treat to her.

V: Do you recommend adopting a pig? What is your advice to someone thinking of adopting a pig in an urban setting?

S&D: Be super careful. They are a ton of work and will require some major life adjustments. We had to pig proof our house, learn how to manage and train her and it’s way different than a dog. Pigs are so smart! Esther can open doors, cupboards, and even our fridge. We had to re-evaluate where we keep everything! It was a huge learning curve. We wouldn’t really advise it only because if the work it took. She’s awesome now but caused many a soul searching conversations. It was tough. We wouldn’t trade her for the world but it definitely wasn’t easy. Our advice is do plenty of research and make sure you’re up for the challenge. If you do decide you’re up for it, know it is the most incredible and rewarding experience of our lives. She really opened our eyes and as far as we’re concerned, made us better people. We love her like you wouldn’t believe.

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V: Are there any resources that helped you when you first went vegan or first adopted Esther (i.e. pig care tips, etc.) that you’d like to share?

S&D: We found it really hard to get information and hope to change that. We learned on our own as we went along, taking the odd note from websites or our vet. That was the hardest part: How the hell do you teach a pig?

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V: Do you have any future plans you’d like to share with our readers?

S&D: We do want to start a sanctuary and will start fundraising very soon. We’ll be opening the Esther store on our website

Thanks so much, Esther’s Dads, Derek and Steve! And thanks to Esther for being so, well, wonderful!

All images included with permission by and courtesy of Derek and Steve and Esther the Wonder Pig.
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