The story of Quasimodo the stray dog has gone viral after he was taken in by Secondhand Hounds, an animal rescue center in Eden Prairie, Minnesota. Quasimodo, named by the shelter after the hunchback of Notre Dame, is one of only 13 dogs in the world who has been diagnosed with a condition known as short spine syndrome.
"We think a genetic defect—not sure if it's inbreeding,” Dr. Susan Miller told Fox 9 about what may have caused it. "Something along the way caused his spine not to fully harden, so they think the softened vertebrate just compressed either in utero or very soon after birth, and then at some point it hardened, but it didn't harden soon enough.” Quasimodo is also part of a study at University of California, Davis, to find out what causes short spine syndrome.
The condition gives him an uncommon appearance to most German Shepherds because of the compression of the vertebrae.
Although he may look different the shelter says that he can run and walk like other dogs, has all the same organs but they're just crammed into his belly "like an accordion"—and doesn't seem to be in any pain either.
The shelter wants to rehome him once he's recovered from surgery he's had on his tail, neck and genitals.
"He's a great dog, he's just a little different than other 'normal' dogs,” Secondhand Hounds' founder and executive director Rachel Mairose said. “He'll have a lot of trials and tribulations, but he's a lover and he's going to find a home, I'm sure.”
Quasimodo is definitely a big hit with the internet community and even has his own Facebook page which now has over 60,000 likes.