When it's cold outside, it's important to bundle up - especially if you're a pig.
Steve Jenkins, the dad of Esther the Wonder Pig, told The Dodo that pigs are particularly susceptible to the cold. "They're very prone to frostbite, especially on the ear tips," Jenkins explained. "Just like we would be with fingertips or ear tips ourselves."
Jenkins and his partner Derek Walter adopted Esther over four years ago when a friend told them about a "mini" pig who needed a home. Turns out, Esther was not so "mini" - she grew to become a whopping 650 pounds. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence - people are often duped to believe that they're adopting a "mini" or "teacup" pig. But in reality, the pig's growth might have been deliberately stunted, or the pig just isn't fully grown yet.
But Jenkins and Walter love every bit of Esther, and she clearly adores them. Esther lives inside the house with Jenkins and Walter, but if they go outside, she often wants to go with them.
"Last year we were moving stuff from a van outside," Jenkins said. "The door was open, and Esther came out, and was out there while we were there - maybe a half hour or 40 minutes. She's just so curious - she likes to be where the action is."
When Esther came back in, Jenkins and Walter noticed something was wrong with her ears. "Her ear tips were very, very pink," Jenkins said. "The next morning, they had some of these brownish spots on them."
They consulted a vet, and learned that Esther had gotten frostbite.
After getting Esther medical treatment, Jenkins wrote a post on Facebook about the incident. Not long after, a parcel arrived. Inside was a special Esther-sized hat that would cover her head as well as her ears.
"Somebody made it," Jenkins said. "I think the person who made it also makes pig coats, and she's a piggy parent herself."
Now every time Esther goes out into the cold, Jenkins and Walter insist that Esther wears her hat, as well as her coat.
"[The hat's] hilarious," Jenkins said. "It's quilted and lined inside. It's absolutely gorgeous. The craftsmanship is incredible."
Besides looking incredibly adorable, it's practical. "It definitely does extend her time outside," Jenkins said. "She went for a pee this morning without her coat and hat, but she wanted to come right back inside. When she has her coat and hat on, she'll cruise around like she does in the summertime."
Even with a coat and hat, Esther still prefers to be inside the house. "She's a fair weather piggy," Jenkins said. "She doesn't particularly like the snow. I think it's the cold. It's not uncommon for her. Even in the summer - if it's raining, she'll stay in bed until the rain stops."