Now and again, someone comes into our lives and changes everything. For Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter, Esther was one such someone. Little did they all know Esther the Wonder Pig, with her undeniable charm and spirit, was destined for greatness.
Steve Jenkins and Derek Walter thought they were bringing a micro pig into their family when they brought home tiny Esther in 2012. They believed she would grow to no larger than 70 pounds. So, when Esther tipped the scales at 600 pounds just three years later, she was already an integral part of the family, and there was no way they were giving her up.
With Esther such an important part of the family, Steve and Derek began to realize that the bacon on their plates could easily have been Esther under other circumstances. Appalled at the idea, they decided to go vegan and have advocated for others to do the same ever since, “encouraging people to think about who was on their plate.” She quickly became famous on Instagram, impacting animal and human lives worldwide with her daily antics. Over the years Esther’s life inspired a children’s book and autobiography titled “Esther the Wonder Pig”, a sanctuary called Happily Ever Esther, an entire activist network with Esther’s Army, an inspirational plant-based food community named Esther’s Kitchen, and more.
Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary
Esther’s size prompted Steve and Derek to open Happily Ever Esther Farm Sanctuary, where they could care for Esther and other animals in need. Their website states, “Our mission is to rescue abused, neglected, and abandoned farmed animals; provide a safe, life-long home for all of our sanctuary residents; educated the public about the true nature of farmed animals; and promote the health and well-being of farmed animals everywhere.” Because of Esther, innumerable animals have been saved since 2014.
Esther’s incredible personality touched the hearts of millions, but her unintended role as a vegan ambassador truly set her apart. As her social media followers laughed at her antics and fell in love with her, many also began their own personal journey towards a more compassionate lifestyle, reducing or ending their consumption of animal products and embracing veganism. Esther’s life story is a heartwarming testament to the power of one individual to inspire a never-ending ripple of positive change in the world.
Fans Mourn Esther the Wonder Pig
On October 18th, the world became a little less bright as Esther’s guardians announced she had passed away at 11 years old.
“There’s no easy way to say this, but the day we all wished would never come has arrived. Esther has passed away. She was calm and peaceful, and fell asleep with her dad Steve by her side.
While we understand many of you will have questions, and we will have the answers for you , but we are going to take a little break to process the situation. Even though Esther is no longer physically with us, her memory and legacy will live forever. Esther is immortal, and we will continue to show the world that all animals deserve to be loved just like she was.
Sending love and happy thoughts to each and every one of you. We know you all loved her just as much as we did, and we thank you for that. Xoxoxox.” – Esther the Wonder Pig on Facebook
Devastated fans immediately took to Instagram, offering condolences to Steve and Derek while also paying tribute to Esther. A longtime friend of Esther and animal rights activist, John Oberg wrote, “She inspired more people to choose compassion than possibly any single animal in history.”
Mercy for Animals said Esther “brought joy, humor, and undeniable warmth to all who followed her adventures. But more importantly, she undoubtedly saved countless animals by educating and inspiring people to make the connection and make more compassionate choices.” They ended by thanking Steve and Derek for sharing Esther’s life with the world.
The family stated they would be taking a break while processing this loss, noting that Esther’s legacy would forever show the world how much animals deserve to be loved. Esther may no longer be physically among us, but her impact will continue to make positive impacts for years to come.
The Esther Effect Changed the World
Esther the Wonder Pig shone brightly as a beacon of lasting impact in our world of endless, stressful news cycles and fleeting moments. Her life’s journey, from an unexpected surprise to a global phenomenon, highlights the power of love, understanding those we discount as less than, and the impact of advocacy. Esther’s legacy will always be more than just a sanctuary or social media accounts; it champions a world where animals, respected as individuals, are deemed worthy of love, care, and freedom. While we say goodbye to Esther today, we also say thank you—for every smile, lesson, and moment of introspection she brought to us all.
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