SEVIER COUNTY - "Charles the Pig," a symbol of hope after the Gatlinburg wildfires, is now back home where his journey began.
On Nov. 28, 2016, Charles' owners, Rob and Amy Holmes, escaped the wildfires with their family but had to leave everything in their home behind, including their prized pet pig.
They left not knowing if they had a home to return to or if Charles would be alive.
In the days following the wildfire, Charles was found alive. He had burrowed himself in mud as protection while the wildfires burned all around him.
He was treated at UT Veterinary Medical Center for smoke inhalation and burns.
Now, nearly six months after the wildfires, Charles and the Holmes' returned to their property.
"We didn't know how Charles was actually going to react to coming back to where he nearly feared for his life and survived, but he's been great," Rob said. "You can tell he's home."
The Holmes' home burned to the ground. Now they are in the beginning stages of starting to rebuild.
"He survived the smoke inhalation," said Rob. "He survived the fire, and so did all of us. Everybody that's alive right now that made it through this fire, we're all moving forward slowly."
Insurance won't completely cover the cost to rebuild, so now the family is relying on their miracle pet to help them through the tough times.
"If it wasn't for Charles right now, we would be in a lot of trouble," Rob said. "We've been able to create this merchandise. Basically, it's going to a good cause. It's going to our family to help us rebuild."
The Holmes' wrote and illustrated a book called "The Miraculous Story of Charles the Pig," which details the brave and inspiring story of Charles living through the wildfires. They also have an Etsy store with other merchandise.
The family is living in an RV on their property while their home is rebuilt and they hope to have it finished within the next six months if they can fund it.
In the meantime, Rob said he is just grateful that their family, including Charles, is back together at home.
"His story is helping us rebuild," Rob said. "You know, he's the answer to our prayers."
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