Two-thirds of all homes in the United States have air conditioners. For many, it’s important to have that tool to keep cool during the hot summer months. For one Tennessee family and their pet pig, having a place to put their new air conditioner means more than the unit itself.
The Holmes family, which includes parents Robert and Amy and their kids Nathan, Andrea, and Wyatt, live in a town right near Gatlinburg. And then we have Charles, the star of the family, but more formally known as the family’s pet pig.
Today, Charles may seem like your average pig. He runs around, loves to eat food, and does other things that pigs do. But just one year ago, Charles was surrounded by flames and trapped at his family’s home. The Gatlinburg wildfires were quickly spreading, and Charles had no choice but to bury himself in mud and hope that he survived the tragedy.
Robert, the patriarch of the family, spoke with WBIR about his miracle pig.
“They said a human nor animal could have survived that,” Robert said, “and here’s Charles.”
Charles the pig quickly became a sense of inspiration for those who were dealing with their own struggles following the fires. Robert and Amy knew he was something big, so they decided to write and illustrate a book all about Charles. They titled the book, “The Miraculous Story of Charles the Pig.”
The book has gone nationally viral, and already a copy has been sold in almost every U.S. state.
“He has followers all over the world,” Robert said. “I just got an order from Switzerland, I’ve had calls from Germany, from Canada, we even sent a book to Japan.”
While roughly 38.9 million American households include cats, who are frequent stars of viral videos, pet pigs don’t get nearly as much attention as their feline and canine counterparts. Fortunately, thanks to this heartwarming viral story, that’s slowly starting to change.
The money made from the book, as well as from any purchases of stuffed animal versions of Charles the big, goes directly to the family as they attempt to rebuild post-wildfire. With the help of a family friend, the Holmes family is building their new home on the land where their former home once stood. Robert says they hope to have their project completed by Easter 2018.
The Holmes family is very grateful that their Charles is still around and that he’s able to help them raise so much money to rebuild their former lives. As a token of their appreciation, they are building Charles his own home, which will come equipped with heating and air conditioning.