Deformed puppy receiving treatment in Richmond

By Tara Morgan - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A German Shepherd-mix puppy, born with a severe head deformity, is getting a new lease on life.

The dog was brought to Richmond from Mississippi for rehabilitation. Animal rescuers say the case highlights the importance of spaying or neutering your pets.

Emily is a six week old puppy born with a deformity that animal rescuers say could have been avoided had the pup's mom not been allowed to breed with a much larger dog.

She sounds like any other puppy and has a healthy appetite. But Emily can't walk straight.

"Her mother was a 20 pound mixed breed dog and that dog was allowed to breed with an 80 pound German shepherd and apparently that was a disaster in the making," said Sharon Cornett with Richmond Animal League.

Emily's mother, Duchess, gave birth to four puppies. While in the cramped womb, Emily's right neck muscle didn't lengthen properly. Rescuers don't believe the breeding was intentional. Pam Perez says Emily came from what's known as a collector.

"She picks up dogs on the road but she does not do any spaying or neutering or any medical," said Perez with St. Francis Animal Sanctuary in rural Mississippi.

Perez says she convinced the dog's owner to give up the puppies. But knew giving Emily the rehabilitation she needed would be difficult. While on an animal rescue run, Richmond Animal League's Sharon Cornett spotted Emily and couldn't leave without her.

"She just needs some physical rehab to make it right and those types of services are just not available in Mississippi," said Cornett.

Emily will soon visit with a veterinarian.

"We need to know how much more damage is done," said dog trainer Jemi Hodge with Jemi Hodge and Associates.

Hodge already started rehabilitation.

"You massage these muscles and over and over with hot compresses," said Hodge.

For as long as it takes.

"I think we should give her every chance," said Hodge.

Three to four months from now, Emily will be put up for adoption at Richmond Animal League and you can check on her progress at the RAL web site at

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