Dog Is Half The Normal Length Due To Extremely Rare Spine Condition
A dog's life is one that many of us envy. If they're not playing, eating or sleeping, then they're sniffing their arse. Truly, what's not to envy?
But things haven't been so easy for Cooper.
The two-year-old American foxhound was born with half a spine, making him half the length of a normal dog of his breed. Rather unimaginatively, the condition is called short spine syndrome, a genetic condition caused by inbreeding, which results in vertebrae fusing together and compressing.
As if this wasn't a hard enough start in life for Cooper, he was also abandoned as a pup.
Animal control officers rescued him in the summer of 2017, close to a suspected puppy farm in Halifax, Virginia, USA. The officers believed the two-month-old was most likely abandoned as a result of his birth defect.
Fortunately, he was taken in by Secondhand Hounds, a shelter in Minnetonka, Minnesota, who treated the neglected dog for ear mites, worms and a hernia.
After suffering horribly for his first two months on this earth, things took a further dramatic turn for the better when he was adopted from the shelter by Elly Keegan, 32, and her husband Andy, 33.
The couple took Cooper to live with their other three dogs: Skylar, 13, Waylon, three, and Tuva, four.
But there was more misfortune around the corner for Cooper, who fractured his neck in five places after falling over.
Elly said Cooper is 'the happiest dog' despite all of his problems.
She said: "The condition means that Cooper has a screwing and corkscrewing of his spine. It is fused in two places - on his neck and on his rear.
"He looks like he has no neck and to look behind him he has to turn his whole body.
"When he was found he was in very poor condition. His butt is on his back and it was all matted. He couldn't go to the bathroom properly which was causing him a lot of issues.
"I am lucky to have the support of Secondhand Hounds and the right environment for a special needs dog."
She added: "That's not to say we don't have incidences. A few months after he came he had a fall and fractured his neck in five places.
"A couple months ago he was starting to show signs of pain again and he actually had a bone infection called osteomyelitis.
"Because his spine is so compromised, it was dangerous but luckily we got it under control with antibiotics.
"But he's still the happiest dog."
Cooper is now being considered for a study at Purdue University in Indiana, and project manager, Elly said it's 'unconscionable' that breeders abandoned him.
She said: "Wherever he goes he draws attention but he really revels in it. He's such a friendly dog.
"His condition is caused by inbreeding and it is unconscionable to me that he was just thrown away when the breeders realised he wouldn't make them money.
"Many dogs with conditions like Cooper's are euthanized which makes me so, so sad.
"They have so much living to do and Cooper is a real example of that. He has a happy, normal little life now and is a key member of our family."
Keep on keeping on Cooper, you little trooper.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS