Her smitten owners, Julie and Scott LeRoy, adopted Cuda when Julie was working as an animal control officer. Desperate to take her home, especially as she feared poor Cuda would die in a shelter, Julie quickly texted Scott a picture of her new four-legged friend. Luckily, Scott agreed to take her in, as long as Cuda saw a vet first.

Despite her best efforts, Julie hasn’t been able to find a vet that’s seen a dog like Cuda before – especially as she has such a long list of illnesses!

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‘She literally has a compressed spine. She’s not missing vertebrae but her spine is compressed at her neckline and at her tail,’ Julie explains. ‘Her ribs are normal sized which is why they look so expanded. She’s got a sloped back, her back legs bear the weight so they’re more muscular than her front legs, her one paw is bigger than the other, her ears actually don’t sit on her head the exact way and she has a bob tail.’

Thanks to her distinctive look, strangers often stop Julie to ask about Cuda – and she’s more than happy to share their story!

‘People will run from across the street to come up and pet her, and meet her,’ Julie says.

But she’s not just popular in person – and has plenty of followers on the Facebook page Julie set her up back in 2010.

‘I wanted to share her, and I wanted to find others like her. We thought she was the only dog like this in the world,’ Julie adds.

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‘Sometime after we did that a photo of another dog started circulating. It took about 6 months, but I located that dog in Italy. Since I got in touch with the other dog’s owner I keep looking for research, and I’ve tried to learn everything I can about it.’

Vets still aren’t able to tell Julie and Scott what the future holds for Cuda – but they have high hopes, as Julie recently managed to find a dog with short spine syndrome that lived to age 14.

‘What I hope for her, is a long healthy, happy life,’ Julie says.

‘What I hope for anybody else who comes across a dog with short spine syndrome, is the memory that they’ve seen one of these dogs before, and they don’t take it to the vet to euthanise it.’

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