Princess Thumbelina is on the search for her castle.
After an adventurous journey from Texas to New York City, this rescue dog is in search of her perfect forever family. She was surrendered to Stone Creek Vet, a veterinary clinic in a remote area outside of Dallas. Heart and Bones, a foster-based rescue organization operating in Texas and New York City, stepped in to take her in.
“Right away, they noticed that her front legs were malformed, making it challenging for her to use them. They’re quite short. She has paws, but they don’t function in the same way as a typical dog’s front paws,” says Allison Seelig of Hearts and Bones about Thumbelina’s initial evaluation by the vet. The veterinarians suspected that her condition was likely a result of irresponsible breeding practices and that she was born with a genetic abnormality affecting her legs.
Despite her previous owner’s inability to care for her, Heart and Bones believes that there’s a special person out there longing for a companion just like this “super” special-needs pup. Thumbelina spent about a year experiencing the world before coming into the care of Hearts and Bones. During that time, this husky/German shepherd mix adapted to getting around by walking on the backs of her paws due to her shorter front legs. Unfortunately, a visit to the vet revealed that Thumbelina’s self-learned gait could lead to significant health issues in the long run.
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“For a whole year, she had become quite adept at getting around mostly by scooting on her front legs and using her back legs. She’d sit up like a meerkat on her back legs,” Seelig explained. “She felt comfortable moving this way. However, since she’s not walking on paw pads, our vet partner was concerned that the constant friction on her front legs could cause issues. Walking on fur puts her at an odd angle and strains her front torso. They worried this might eventually lead to spinal problems,” the animal rescuer added.
Thumbelina was adopted by Hearts and Bones in the spring, and the rescue raised funds to purchase a hot pink wheelchair to support her while she moves around using her rear legs. She moved to the founder of Heart and Bones’ home in Dallas to receive intensive training in using her wheelchair.
With the assistance of her wheelchair, Thumbelina quickly adapted and even made friends with other dogs in the neighborhood. Once the rescue’s founder was confident in Thumbelina’s ability to navigate the world with her wheelchair, Hearts and Bones transported her from Texas, where many shelters are overwhelmed, to New York City in early August.
Thumbelina entered the care of pet foster Megan Penney upon her arrival in NYC, making Thumbelina Penney’s 200th foster dog. Penney, who has taken on Thumbelina’s care, only has positive remarks about the pup. Thumbelina has shown improvement in using her wheelchair and socializing with other dogs, including Penney’s own pets.
Thumbelina has captivated everyone she’s encountered during outings to the beach, parks, and the streets of NYC. She is eagerly awaiting the moment she meets her forever family.
Potential adopters of Thumbelina should be aware that the dog might be a bit reserved at first. “I believe she would thrive in any family as long as someone is ready to be patient,” says Seeling.
Caring for a pet with special needs isn’t as challenging as some might think, according to Penney, who knows what it takes to care for Thumbelina. Adopters of Thumbelina should be capable of lifting 42 pounds, have a home with an elevator, ramp, or even ground level, and be able to assist the dog with getting in and out of her wheelchair. Beyond these considerations, Penney asserts that caring for Thumbelina is much like caring for any dog with fully developed front legs.
Recently, Thumbelina enjoyed a special visit to Squeaky Clean Dog Grooming in NYC to get ready for her new home. Pride + Groom, a pet care company, covered the expenses for her spa day and provided the necessary supplies for her makeover. Among the items used was the One Fur All conditioning shampoo from Pride + Groom, designed to benefit animal shelters and rescues.
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Now fully prepared, Thumbelina is ready to embark on the next chapter of her life with her forever family. Those who believe that Thumbelina is the perfect pup princess for them can submit an adoption application through the Hearts and Bones website.
The animal shelter hopes that individuals who cannot adopt a pet right now might consider fostering one instead. “Even if you can only foster for two to three weeks, you can truly save a dog’s life. There are too many dogs without homes for shelters to handle. As more people step up to foster pets, there will be fewer dogs in shelters,” Seeling expressed. “And since they’re already accustomed to a home environment, it increases their chances of finding a permanent home. It’s a great way to alleviate strain on shelters,” she added.
Remember, a concrete kennel in an animal shelter is still much better than a studio apartment, Penney suggests.