Deformed puppy defies stats by staying alive well past three years

Ernie Altamirano of Long Island wanted to adopt a puppy from the animal shelter and, kindhearted soul that he is, he chose Sassy, a tiny little pit bull.

Shelter employees warned him that, probably due to inbreeding, she suffered from congenital malformations that would probably shorten her life to three years, maximum. Not only was she born with dwarfism, she had bow legs, malformed feet, a tongue too big for her mouth, and more.

Inbreeding is what some breeders do in order to “fix” certain traits genetically. The result is that a dog’s family tree would feature grandparents who were actually brother and sister, a mother who was also a grandmother, etc. It can have positive effects from the breeder’s perspective — keeping the dogs “pure” and retaining certain attractive qualities — but also many negative genetic effects that damage such dogs' health prospects and can cause difficult personalities.

But Ernie wasn’t turning back, he fell in love with Sassy. She came home with him and met her new family. (Including canine playmates, Ernie’s other two dogs Chiqui Gonzalez and Dolly Parton. This guy has a way with names!)

Sassy’s new life transformed her. She's been so happy, her handicaps hardly seem like obstacles. 

And guess what? It’s been four and a half years and she’s still going strong! 

Yes, well past her maximum life expectancy, proving Ernie’s faith in her was justified.

Let’s hope she continues to defy the odds and, surrounded by such a loving family of humans and canines, stays healthy and keeps enjoying life!


Little things


Also hefty