May 24, 2013 at 3:04 PM ET
Chris P. Bacon is some pig. The paralyzed piglet became a viral sensation last February, when a YouTube video of him in his homemade wheelchair captured the hearts of many. Now, Chris P. Bacon (say it out loud) is a bona fide Internet star with his own book deal and thousands of fans around the world.
“I took a bunch of footage and put it on YouTube to show my family,” Chris P.’s owner Dr. Len Lucero told TODAY.com. “It took off from there, and I wasn’t expecting it. It was something I couldn’t even imagine.”
When Chris P. first came into Lucero’s life, he was a tiny piglet, born weighing less than a pound with a congenital deformity that prevents the use of his hind legs. His owner could no longer care for him, but instead of considering euthanasia, Lucero, a veterinarian, decided to adopt and raise the pig himself. Now, at 5 months old and 22 pounds, the pig is a healthy adolescent with a penchant for snuggling up to people and exploring the yard in his upgraded wheelchair.
“He doesn’t think he’s a pig, much less handicapped,” Lucero said. “He thinks he’s a little human; if he had four legs, he would be a lap pig.”
Chris P. loves all the attention, and he should get much more next fall, when a book starring the pig hits bookshelves. Lucero can’t provide many details just yet, but rest assured he will be a part of the great canon of pig-inspired literature.
But for now Lucero is chronicling all of Chris P.’s adorable adventures on his Facebook page, which has over 50,000 fans. And, like any thoughtful celebrity, Chris P. is using his fame for good with the help of Lucero.
Since his story went viral, the piglet has taken part in fundraisers and nonprofit events for disabled children. Lucero hopes to start a foundation someday that will enable Chris P. to bring smiles to children’s faces across the country, in hospitals and schools.
“It feels so good to see those kids and how excited they are,” Lucero said. “That’s continued to inspire me to do it. And Chris P. likes it because he tends to get a little more to eat.”
The celebrity pig can make a child’s day, but he’s also opened up a world of possibility for his owner.
“It’s beautiful – he’s opened my eyes,” Lucero said. “He’s brought me awareness and inspired me to do things that I wouldn’t typically do.”
Where does Lucero see Chris P. in the future? Where all the other great pigs end up: On the big screen.