Thumbelina is a husky/German shepherd mix that is looking for the perfect forever family to help her cruise through life in her custom hot pink ᴡʜᴇᴇʟᴄʜᴀɪʀ. The ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇ dog is on the ʜᴜɴᴛ for the perfect forever family after an eventful journey from Tᴇxᴀs to New York City. Her story starts outside Dallas, where Hᴇᴀʀᴛ and Bones — a foster-based ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇ group operating out of Tᴇxᴀs and New York City — took in the canine after she was surrendered to Stone Creek ᴠᴇᴛ, a ᴠᴇᴛᴇʀɪɴᴀʀʏ office in a rural area outside Dallas.
Allison Seelig of Hᴇᴀʀᴛs and Bones tells people of what the ᴠᴇᴛ noticed after first meeting Thumbelina: “They quickly observed, she couldn’t really use her front ʟᴇɢs because they’re ᴅᴇꜰᴏʀᴍᴇᴅ. They’re very short. She has paws, but she can’t really use them the way a dog normally could use their front paws. So they suspected that the reason she’s like that is probably ɪʀʀᴇsᴘᴏɴsɪʙʟᴇ breeding practices, and her ʟᴇɢs must have been some sort of ɢᴇɴᴇᴛɪᴄ ᴅᴇꜰᴇᴄᴛ that she was just born with.”
While Thumbelina’s former owner isn’t in a place to care for the dog, Hᴇᴀʀᴛ and Bones knows there is someone out there looking for a companion just like this “sᴜᴘᴇʀ” special needs pup. Estimated to be around one year old, Thumbelina had some time to explore the world before meeting Hᴇᴀʀᴛs and Bones. During that time, the husky/German shepherd mix learned how to get around with her shorter front ʟᴇɢs by walking on the backs of her paws.
Unfortunately, a visit to the ᴠᴇᴛᴇʀɪɴᴀʀɪᴀɴ revealed that Thumbelina’s self-taught way of walking could lead to ᴘᴀɪɴꜰᴜʟ ʜᴇᴀʟᴛʜ ɪssᴜᴇs in the future. Seelig explains: “She had been getting around basically just using her back ʟᴇɢs and crawling on her front ʟᴇɢs for a whole year and had gotten quite good at that. She’ll sit on her back ʟᴇɢs, like a meerkat. She was fine moving around that way. But our ᴠᴇᴛ partner was concerned that all of that ᴡᴇᴀʀ ᴀɴᴅ ᴛᴇᴀʀ on her front arms over time could lead to ɪɴᴊᴜʀɪᴇs because she’s not walking on paw-pads. She’s walking on fur. The animal ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇʀ adds: “And then also, it ᴘɪᴛᴄʜᴇs her down at a strange angle so that she’s putting a lot of ᴘʀᴇssᴜʀᴇ on her front body, and they were worried that over time that might lead to sᴘɪɴᴀʟ ɪssᴜᴇs for her.”
With this support, Thumbelina quickly mastered her new wheels and befriended several neighborhood dogs in the process. In early August, once the ʀᴇsᴄᴜᴇ’s founder felt confident that Thumbelina could navigate the world with her ᴡʜᴇᴇʟᴄʜᴀɪʀ, Hᴇᴀʀᴛs and Bones drove the pup from Tᴇxᴀs — where many shelters are overwhelmed and overcrowded — to New York City to prepare for adoption. Thumbelina has been to the beach, the park, the streets of and has charmed everyone she has met. Now she is waiting to meet her forever family. Seeling says: “I think she’d do great in any home as long as someone’s willing to be patient,” adding that Thumbelina’s adopters should be prepared for the dog to be a bit shy at first. Penney, who understands what’s needed to care for Thumbelina, adds that having a special needs pet is not as daunting as some think.
Thumbelina’s adopters should be able to lift 42 pounds — since the canine needs help to get in and out of her ᴡʜᴇᴇʟᴄʜᴀɪʀ — and should have a home accessible by an elevator, ramp, or flat surface. Penney says caring for Thumbelina is similar to looking after a dog with fully formed front ʟᴇɢs outside of these considerations. Thumbelina is now fully ready to start the next chapter of her life with her forever family. Animal lovers who think Thumbelina is the pup princess they’ve been waiting for can apply to adopt her through the Hᴇᴀʀᴛs and Bones website. Seeling says: “Even if you can foster for two to three weeks, you can literally sᴀᴠᴇ a dog’s life. Because the shelters don’t have enough space to care for all the dogs that need homes right now. And the more people who sign up to foster, the fewer dogs we have to have in shelters. And it gives them a better chance of finding a forever home because they are used to living in a home at that point, and it’s really great to relieve ᴘʀᴇssᴜʀᴇ on the shelters.” Penney adds: “You just have to remember, even your studio apartment is much nicer than a concrete kennel in an animal shelter.”