When Gema was born, her family noticed that she was about three times smaller than the rest of her Great Dane siblings. But her uniqueness didn’t stop there: They also quickly noticed that, despite all the odds, the tiny puppy had an extra paw.
Gema’s family was worried about caring for the five-pawed puppy and unsure that they would be able to give her everything she needed, so they reached out to Stray Rescue of St. Louis, who eagerly agreed to take Gema in.
“They surrendered her to us so they could give her a fighting chance,” Natalie Thomson, director of marketing at Stray Rescue of St. Louis, told The Dodo.
As soon as the puppy arrived, no one could get enough of her. Everyone who meets her can see that she’s perfect just the way she is, and all of her new rescue friends were immediately so excited to help care for her.
“Everyone seems to squeal and say, ‘Awe, she is perfect,’” Thomson said.
While Gema’s back legs are completely typical, one of her front legs is unusually short, and the other front leg has two paws. The sweet puppy has learned to adjust by standing on her back legs like a kangaroo, and so far, she seems to have no idea that she’s any different.
“She doesn’t know what all the hype is about,” Thomson said. “This is all she’s known and she’s just as happy as any other puppy. She’s an angel! She loves to be held and cuddled.”
From the moment Gema arrived at the rescue, her tail hasn’t stopped wagging, and she can’t get enough of all the extra attention she’s getting. Currently, Gema is with a foster family while she grows and the rescue can better assess what she needs, and she’s loving every minute of her journey so far.
“They have two other dogs, two cats and three young boys who love to hold her and play with her,” Thomson said. “Life is good!”
While Gema could need surgery down the line, her rescuers are taking her care one day at a time for now. Besides her front legs, Gema is completely healthy and happy, and everyone invested in her care plans to do whatever it takes to make sure she stays that way. Eventually she’ll be up for adoption, but for now she’s loving life in her foster home, hopping around on her back paws and being perfect just the way she is.
“We’re thankful she is bringing awareness to special needs dogs,” Thomson said.
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