All dogs are beautiful in their own way, and are deserving of good, loving homes — even the ones that look a little unusual.
Like one very unique dog born with no neck and half a spine, who struggled due to his differences but ultimately found the perfect home.
Cooper, an American foxhound, has a genetic condition referred to as “short spine syndrome” in which his vertebrae are fused together and compressed. According to Daily Mail, he’s one of only 30 dogs in the world with the condition.
“[His spine] is fused in two places – on his neck and on his rear,” owner Elly Keegan explained, per the Daily Mail “He looks like he has no neck and to look behind him he has to turn his whole body.”
The unique-looking dog had a rough start to life. He likely came from a puppy farm in Halifax, Virginia and was abandoned due to his birth defect. It’s also likely his disability was the result of inbreeding at the puppy mill.
Rescuers found him in 2017, and he was taken to Secondhand Hounds, a shelter in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out in the first home he was placed in, as he liked to chase their cats.
But Cooper soon found his perfect home with Elly Keegan and her family. While many people would pass over such a unique-looking dog — or even worse, he could’ve been euthanized for his disability — Elly has a warm heart towards differently-abled dogs and committed to giving Cooper all the love and help he needs.
Elly says she was aware Cooper would need medical attention but had the support of Secondhand Hounds. Early on, the dog had a few medical setbacks, including a fall that fractured his neck in five places and a bone infection.
But in other ways Cooper’s condition has seen improvements. Elly says that his birth defect left it so he essential had his “butt on his back,” but a surgery has made it easier for him to go to the bathroom on his own.
Elly says that despite everything, Cooper is the “happiest dog,” and people are always happy to see him, too.
“Wherever he goes he draws attention but he really revels in it. He has a lot of fans on Facebook,” Elly told Daily Mail. “He’s such a friendly dog.”