If Cuda the pit bull starred in a fairy tale, she'd be called The Ugly Duckling Dog. And if the afflicted rescue canine were a character in Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, she'd be mistaken for a toy on the Island of Misfit Toys.
However, she's much more than that; this pit bull terrier dog has a smile and a love for humans that dwarfs her outward features.
Cuda suffers from what is called Short Spine Syndrome, aka Baboon Dog Syndrome. Essentially, it is a genetic condition in which the sufferer -- in this case, the pit bull -- is born with a deformed spine or none at all, unlike the brawny pit bull terrier in this touching rescue video.
Doctors say dogs born with the condition have normal functioning organs, but they are compacted in the animal's tiny frame. This could later present problems and amount to shorter life spans in American pit bull terriers and other breeds.
As seen in the image below, this amazing animal has a drawn-in barreled chest and sloping rear. It's not discernible from the photo, but her paws lack symmetry. Moreover, the backyard-bred pit bull has diabetes and a bad case of gas.
In 2010, Julie LeRoy, who worked as an animal control worker in Durham, North Carolina, received a call that soon sent her on a new path in life.
Apparently, the callers said they had trouble with a stray dog. When LeRoy arrived, the residents, who said they were being stalked by gang members and had to leave in a hurry, brought out the tiny pit bull, just a puppy then.
LeRoy was astonished by the tiny pup and conflicted at the same time on how it would fit in her household among other adopted pets.
"They brought out this twisted little dog on a long piece of twine as a leash. They called her Cuda because of her underbite. They said she reminded them of a barracuda. They told me they had to get out of town fast because gangs were after them. I rolled my eyes to myself and took this picture of Cuda with my phone. I texted it to my husband [Scott] with these words: 'What do you think?'"After texting her husband, Scott, back and forth to seek his advice on what to do with the unwanted terrier dog, his final reply was simple: "Do what you're going to do because you're going to... do it anyway."
The deal was sealed after paying the couple the requisite $50 to offload Cuda. Upon the advice of her husband, LeRoy took their new companion to the local vet for a thorough checkup. X-rays confirmed the pit bull terrier likely had the congenital condition, but there was no immediate cause for alarm.
To LeRoy, the rescued pit bull was adorable and as happy as any other puppy. That's why she was suddenly taken off guard by the public that gawked at its gargoyle-like features, as if the tiny pup was a mutant from The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms or was some feral insectoid from a distant exoplanet. Alarmed by the public's response, LeRoy gathered her items and raced out of the store.
Over the years, Cuda has proven to be nothing less than a breath of fresh air to their home. Despite her "deformities," the pit bull with the shortened spine loves humans, is heavy on affection, has a huge smile, and loves to play at a moment's notice as The Huffington Post wrote.
Since rescuing the dog, the LeRoys have joined online communities with others whose companions suffer from the same birth defect. She and Cuda have connected with support groups and those who have a vested interest in stopping inbreeding and are interested in helping abandoned animals find good homes.
"Where we once thought Cuda was invincible, we now know even more that we must re-educate breeders who think inbreeding is a safe process to create superdogs. Through this journey, we have found many people whose dogs have one or two of the physical characteristics Cuda has. Cuda may have been a first-generation whoops or the result of several generations of inbreeding. This is not an uncommon practice among all breeders- and it's time we start educating the public to the secrets behind the show dog!!!"Cuda the pit bull even has her own Facebook fan page to help share her infectious joy for others, connect with other rescue animal owners, encourage pet adoption, and dispel the myth that all pit bull terriers are dangerous.
Certainly, this gassy, grinning, and burping pit bull terrier isn't.
[Image via: Imgur, Facebook]