Funny how a serious and suddenly unexpected accident can alter someone’s life forever, isn’t it?
A hit-and-run driver changed a dog named Piggy’s life. Once a rambunctious pup, Piggy is now wheelchair-dependent. But that hasn’t stopped her from loving life and teaching others how to cope with life’s struggles.
When April Hollingsworth went to South Salt Lake shelter searching for her AWOL cat, the last thing she expected to take home was a Pit Bull/Boxer mix. But the 10-month-old female pup charmed her way into Hollingsworth’s heart by looking directly into her face — and simply smiling.
Full of mischief, the dog earned the name Piggy, and was a constant companion for Hollingsworth. Being an attorney, Hollingsworth logs long hours and Piggy helped her to maintain a sense of balance.
Then Piggy and Hollingsworth’s lives changed drastically.
Almost four years ago, Piggy sustained serious injuries when she was struck by a hit-and-run driver. Paralysis was immediately evident when Hollingsworth picked Piggy up after the accident. But not willing to give up, Hollingsworth pursued every avenue of treatment for her beloved dog.
The end result: a wheelchair that allows Piggy to walk on her own.
One Sunday morning while walking Piggy in her wheeled cart, the two met Scott Williams coming out of a church near their home.
Williams formed an immediate bond with Piggy. Having lost part of his feet from a rock climbing accident, Williams, too, lives life from a wheelchair.
“I’d never seen a dog with wheels for back legs,” said Williams in an NPR Story Corp broadcast. “And her licking my face … and she was happy!”
Williams went on to explain, “Most people I meet in wheelchairs aren’t happy very often.”
It was then that Hollingsworth realized Piggy had the power to make a difference for others.
The extraordinary relationship forged between Williams and Piggy spurred Hollingsworth to get Piggy certified as a therapy dog with Intermountain Therapy Animals. Piggy now visits Shriners Hospital for Children in Salt Lake City every other week, and the effect she has on the children is mesmerizing.
Piggy is beyond gentle with the patients, but most importantly, she is a role model for the kids going through a frightening illness or injury. Piggy’s attitude to just keep trying and be happy doing it is infectious!
Good girl, Piggy!
Photo of Piggy at Shriners Hospital for Children, with permission of April Hollingsworth