VetVet Pet Pals Spotlight: Dr Melissa Shapiro and Piglet
December 15, 2021
This month on the VetVet blog, we're excited to bring you an interview with Dr. Melissa Shapiro of the Visiting Vet Service.
Dr. Shapiro graduated from Purdue University School of Veterinary Medicine. She completed her rotation at the Animal Medical Center in New York City, followed by a residency in Small Animal Internal Medicine at the Veterinary Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.
She worked in a number of small animal practices in Massachusetts and Connecticut before opening the Visiting Vet Service in 1991.
Now, she's dog mom to Piglet, a deaf blind puppy with a huge Instagram following, and the hero and inspiration for her new book: Piglet: The Unexpected Story of a Deaf, Blind, Pink Puppy and His Family.
When did you know that you wanted to become a veterinarian?
The first account of my wanting to become a vet was when I was 6 years old. We had gotten a puppy and when we took her to see our veterinarian, I was immediately drawn in!
There are many lessons that a person can learn from “Piglet: The Unexpected Story of a Deaf, Blind, Pink Puppy and His Family”, which one would you like people to remember most?
The subtitle of the book has the word unexpected in it because the whole story of Piglet was completely unexpected. The last thing I was planning when I agreed to foster a tiny deaf blind puppy was that he would so drastically change my life. Saying yes, when everyone including myself wanted me to say “no”, was one of the best decisions of my life. Accepting the unexpected is a lesson we all should embrace.
The overall message of the book is positivity, resilience, inclusion, and being kind. The book is filled with stories about my life as a veterinarian, caring for and about animals, parenting our three kids, my husband Warren and our family in general, and a long list of dog and birds leading up to Piglet’s rescue and rise to become an ambassador for disabled animals and people.
Piglet is also a role model for kids through our Piglet Mindset educational outreach program. I hope that readers will come away feeling inspired to do something positive for themselves and for someone else.
What do you think that our communities can learn from animals in general?
Animals are an ideal teaching model for kids and adults. They are a disarming example of the way we should all live our lives- in the present, with a positive attitude.
People relate to specific aspects of any animal as well as the bigger more objective view. Dogs, cats, and other animals aren’t all perfect role models but they all try hard to live their lives with what they have. They don’t worry about what they’re missing- whether it is sight, hearing, missing a limb, or any other disability or illness. They face challenges with a positive attitude, they are generous with their love and affection, and they inspire people to do the same on a simple, easy to understand level.
You have a very busy life, how do you manage it all?
I was always good at multitasking. When you are passionate about something or things, the motivation is there and the work gets done!
A huge thank you for Dr. Shapiro for sharing her time, expertise, and wisdom with us here at VetVet. It's thanks to excellent vets like her that we pride ourselves on helping pet parents find a great vet!
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