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Tink + Pink

Hero Dachshund mothers orphaned piglet

By: Melissa Barr

Last Updated:

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Johanna Kerby

Born prematurely on a frigid February night
in West Virginia along with 11 healthy,
hungry piglet siblings, tiny Pink, his eyes
sealed shut, was not breathing on his own. Johanna
Kerby cleaned him up and got him breathing, but he
was rejected by his littermates, who had no time or
patience for a piglet so small. Unable to eat or stand
without help, Pink could do little more than whimper
quietly. The other piglets pushed him from the
pen; it was too cold and he was too small to survive


Luckily for little Pink, heroes come in all sorts
of shapes and sizes. His rescuer came in the form
of Tink, short for Tinkerbelle, an extraordinary
Dachshund who makes a habit of fostering “pups”
of all types.

Tink’s story isn’t without its heroes, either. After
the Kerbys bought her through a newspaper ad,
Tink arrived ragged, raw in places, and flea-infested.
With love and care, she grew up to become an
amazing foster mother who doesn’t discriminate.

When Pink was born, Tink was already taking
care of her own pup as well as a few other fosters
from another Dachshund momma overburdened
with too many pups. Though Tink already had a
brood to look after, she didn’t hesitate, kissing the tiny piglet all over and snuggling up close, tucking him under her
chin to keep him warm while he slept. She nursed him, encouraged
him to eat, and became even more protective of him than of
her other pups.

Pink stayed with Tink for five and a half weeks, cuddling up
close to his new puppy littermates, sleeping in piles of pups, kept
warm by their fur and their snuggling. He learned some dog tricks,
too, before joining the other pigs in the barn. Now, at a heavy 250
pounds, he barely resembles the tiny,
helpless piglet he once was.

Life with Tink and the pups left its
mark, however. Pink still remembers
how to sit like a dog, especially when
bribed with marshmallows. And he’s
very friendly and loves people. Pink
has earned himself a forever home on
the Kerbys’ farm.

“Pink is a happy, easy-going pig
and we all love him very much,”
Kerby says. “We will keep him forever.”

Pink celebrated his first birthday in grand style, complete with
a marshmallow and gummy worm cake, a dog bone, and his very
own birthday hat.

As for Tink, she still gets down to the barn to visit her baby
every now and again, though she is intimidated by his large size,
and only visits him through the fence. She still loves baby piglets,
though, wiggling all over and licking them whenever a new litter
is born.

Since adopting baby Pink, Tink has gone on to save the life of
a goat, Spencer, who lost his mother soon after birth. The Kerby
children found the baby goat almost frozen and unable to walk.
They brought him inside and Tink snuggled up with him, licked
him until he was warm and nudged him with her little nose until
he could walk again.

Inspired by the story of Tink and Pink, Kerby wrote a children’s
book titled Little Pink Pup (available June, 2010). To catch up on
farm life in West Virginia and to see how Pink and Tink are doing,
go to


Last Updated:

By: Melissa Barr
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