This fuzzy ball of smush can’t stand or walk, but he’s learning to take one step at a time with the help of the humans at the Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
Bueller was dumped at the SSPCA by his breeder, who told staff that the entire litter had Swimmer’s Syndrome, also known as flat-puppy syndrome or turtle pup. The uncommon disorder causes a deformity in the legs of newborn puppies and kittens, causing them to have trouble standing up. Of his littermates, Bueller was the only one who could not walk, so the breeder surrendered him.
In an interview with Fox40 News, Dr. Laura Siperstein-Cook, Chief of Shelter Medicine at SSPCA, said the following about the rare condition:
“The exact cause isn’t really known except we know that there’s a genetic component to it, and it has a lot to do with the breed and the breeding.”
Bueller has swimmers syndrome & is unable to walk or stand. He started therapy this weekend https://t.co/0fRTAX2Oe2 pic.twitter.com/ABffaHy9PQ
— Sacramento SPCA (@SacramentoSPCA) January 19, 2016
Bueller’s story brings to light the problem with backyard breeding and the need for the public to be informed when looking to add a dog to the family. Gina Knepp, manager of the Front Street Animal Shelter in Sacramento told Fox40 that “a really good breeder never ends up bringing their unwanted or medically unsound offspring to a shelter, [where the] sick ones are either adopted by an unsuspecting person, who usually ends up here.” The business of backyard breeding feeds the cycle of unwanted animals for whom a home and a family are never a reality.
But things are looking up for Bueller, thanks in large part to the kindness of humans who are giving him a second chance.
Someone donated an @outwardhound_ life jacket for Bueller's therapy for his swimmers syndrome! Works great! #foster pic.twitter.com/B0IaUfbZ8y
— Sacramento SPCA (@SacramentoSPCA) January 28, 2016
Bueller’s story went viral, and now the world is watching this pup take his first steps!
This just in–someone is WALKING in his new puppy stroller! #bueller pic.twitter.com/acuWEaiAWi
— Sacramento SPCA (@SacramentoSPCA) February 1, 2016
To follow Bueller’s story and the stories of other animals like him, follow the SSPCA on Facebook and Twitter. To donate towards Bueller’s therapy, click here. You can watch Bueller’s appearance on the news below.