People working with animals for a living are often quite used to seeing dogs of all sorts of shapes and sizes. Even then, there are still some things that could surprise them.
Julie LeRoy was working as an animal control officer when she went on what she assumed would be a routine call to pick up a dog. A couple had recently adopted a pit bull puppy, but she would have to get rid of her.
They asked if Julie would like to take a look at her, and she said yes. What she saw, however, shocked her…
Much like with their own children, dog owners want to know that their furry friends are as healthy and “normal” as possible. After all, caring for dogs with any sort of health problem isn’t always easy, and you never want them to suffer.
That being said, there’s absolutely no reason why a dog who looks different from others can’t still be incredibly sweet and lovable! That was certainly the case with one special dog named Cuda…
When animal control officer Julie LeRoy responded to a call about a puppy being abandoned by his owners, she realized that the dog was unlike any she’d ever encountered. Cuda had a serious underbite and her body appeared to be “squished.”
Julie knew if she didn’t adopt her, the dog would likely be euthanized. So that’s exactly what she did! Julie then began to research Cuda’s condition, which she suspected had to do with inbreeding. Still, she wasn’t sure… until she entered Cuda in a World’s Ugliest Dog Contest.
It was at that point that people began to reach out to Julie about Cuda’s condition, hoping to help answer her questions. That’s how she soon learned about Quasi, a dog living in Italy with the very same problem.
Quasi’s owner directed Julie to an academic paper entitled “Historical Evidence of an Unusual Deformity in Dogs (Short‐Spine Dog).” Apparently, the condition had been documented as early as the 17th century!
The article led Julie to a book called Genetics of the Dog, written by Elaine Ostrander and published in 2001. Ostrander confirmed what Julie has suspected all along: short-spine syndrome was linked to inbreeding, and it not only affected the dogs’ quality of life, but females’ ability to have puppies as well.
As more time passed following Julie’s discovery, more and more people reached out to her about other special pups with short-spine syndrome. One such pup was named Mojo and lived in Ohio.
Another, Pig the dog in Alabama, clearly suffered from the same genetic defect. Just like Cuda, Quasi, and Mojo, though, Pig’s condition couldn’t stop him from being super cute and loving!
Julie continued to educate herself about the dangers and complications of inbreeding, but she also learned that, like Cuda, most dogs with short-spine syndrome can live happy lives with the help of loving owners.
Lucky for dogs like Cuda, there are dedicated pet owners like Julie to love and care for them. It’s what she deserves after all!
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