Meet The 31 MPS Animals
Nickname: Little Darling Ayita
March, 2017, New York Bully Crew received a call from a previous adopter about an 8 month old pup, living her life in a crate in an almost completely condemned part of New Jersey, and her owners were about to euthanize her because they were told from friends that was their only choice. At first, she was thought to have some sort of dwarfism, or a deformity from living in a small, confined space. Even NYBC’s highly-educated vet was not familiar with what this sweet, tiny girl is afflicted with, but luckily the owner surrendered her to New York Bully Crew and her life has taken on a different path.
She is now named Ayita, meaning “little one” in Sioux. Craig, @c.legit5, founder and director of NYBC, has taken on the role of Ayita’s surrogate dad. She has won over the hearts of his entire pack and brings joy to whoever she meets. Because of an aware and educated follower of NYBC pointing us in the MPS direction, we researched and sent samples out for lab work. It has been confirmed through genetic testing that Ayita does indeed have MPS. This only confirms her condition but not her fate.
Right now, Ayita is a happy, adorable puppy that is experiencing a new life filled with daily adventures and unconditional love. Craig and New York Bully Crew believe that this specific call to rescue Ayita was divine intervention. It was an opportunity to to be part of a greater cause. Since Ayita’s arrival, New York Bully Crew feels compelled to help raise awareness about this genetic condition, make owners of MPS dogs informed that these dogs can still live lives filled with quality and experience the joy that they give. To make people understand that euthanization is not necessary and these pups can thrive during their lives. Also, to stress the importance of responsible breeding. The only way to end MPS is to not breed dogs that carry the gene. It is that simple. MPS effects a multitude of breeds, most commonly Miniature Pinchers. It is important to keep an eye out for characteristics of this genetic condition and to continue to raise awareness so this trait can be eradicated.
Ayita was surrendered to New York Bully Crew because of desperation, but we believe she came to us so we can expand our knowledge and hearts and let learning and compassion guide Ayita on her incredible journey.
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Nickname: Bella Roku, Rokita
Adopted: December 2014 at 8 weeks old
Grew Angel Wings: January 2017
Age: Born on October 9th, was MPS Strong for 3 years and 3 months
As a newly married couple, my husband and I were eager to grow our little family. When we found Bella through a rescue, we immediately set up a meet and greet. Upon first sight, our love for her was instant! We brought her home and the journey began. Bella struggled to walk during her first few days at home. We didn't think think much of it. To be honest, we just figured it was a mixture of our hardwood floors and her being a puppy. Looking back, that could have been a sign that something was different. However, Bella was a resilient little lady and didn't let anything stop her. Slowly but surely, she started walking. Within weeks she was running. Nothing seemed abnormal during puppyhood until she turned one and a half. We started noticing small deposits on her eyes. After taking her to multiple vets, to get answers on what was going on with her eyes, we were met with a series of other medical concerns. None of the vets could give us answers on questions we had, so Bella's quirks just became the new normal. We adjusted to her needs as she changed. She was our little angel, we did anything and everything for her.
It wasn't until one of Bella's Instagram followers asked us if she had MPS, that we started to connect the dots to what her "quirks" could be. MPS Army reached out to us and we were not interested. We couldn't face the reality of the situation and struggled with the possibility of our little baby girl having MPS. After months of contemplating, we finally agreed to testing Bella. The results came in and her MPS was confirmed.
After being an emotional wreck, we realized that this didn't change anything. We were already adjusting to her constant changes and did our best to always keep her comfortable. The more connected we became with the MPS Army community, the easier it became to accept her diagnosis and care for her with expert advice. Connecting with fellow MPS families changed our world. The support and encouragement was everything we didn't know we needed.
Bella was a warrior. She was our first kid and taught us so much about life. Bella was fearless. She never gave up despite the many obstacles she was constantly faced with. Bella was deeply loved and made it known that she loved us too. Through her thousands of kisses, warm snuggles, and soft purring while being held, she would return the love. We'll forever cherish our time with Bella and will continue to honor her by spreading MPS awareness.
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Grew Angel Wings: November 3, 2017
Frankie and Oscar were born October 11, 2011. They were part of a litter of six miniature schnauzers. In mid April, Oscar passed away from MPS after a rapid degeneration. Frankie was diagnosed with MPS about a week after, and the doctors told us to brace for the worst. This wasn’t the first time doctors were mistaken about Frankie; he was born with swimmer’s chest and they said he would never be able to walk. After wearing a cast on his torso for the first few weeks of his life, Frankie soon joined the other puppies in play and defied the odds.
Over the past five years, Frankie has had his ups and downs (including ear, eye, and skin infections, seizures, limited mobility, weight loss, hair loss, and cloudy eyes) but his spirit never wavers. We are so grateful to have a community of people in town including his vet, groomer, and pet sitter, who love, protect, and accept our special baby. To meet Frankie is to love him.
After many years of being an only child, Frankie welcomed Luigi the Standard Poodle as his little brother this May. Since then, Frankie has been more engaged, energetic, hungry, and sociable than we’ve seen him in years.
Frankie’s lucky family
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Nickname: Princess Grimmy
Adopted: November 16, 2013
Grew Angel Wings: December 31, 2015
Grimmy was fortunate to wind up at Seminole County Animal Services where they recognized she was unique and needed special care. She came in as a stray “over the counter” which means a citizen brought her in. They claimed to have found her. Though I’ve officially been out of rescue for many years, they called me. I will be forever grateful they did. Upon getting this teeny girl home, a Minpin breeder friend said I should look into MPS-VI. She’d recently seen a presentation on the disease and knew Grimmy exhibited all the signs. Radiographs were taken and sent out to several Veterinarians. All said there was no way the dog was alive.
Grimmy’s trachea was displaced with calcified rings surrounding it. Her sternum was a pile of sticks tossed about haphazardly. Her spine was permanently dipped down at the neck. She was unable to raise her head above her shoulders. Her paws resembled flippers and were arched to the inside. She had absolutely no muscles, whatsoever, in her backside. Legge-calve Perthes was suspected but we never took hip/leg radiographs. She could slowly frog walk on her own but rested frequently. Grimmy’s bottom jaw was jutted forward giving her a blunt muzzle. Her nose constantly blew bubbles. Her tongue was oversized and she had thick saliva. It was impossible to age her. Thanks to MPS-VI her corneas were pools of lipid deposits, rendering her blind. Her teeth resembled candy corns. Her breathing was always labored. Ultrasound showed her heart was unexpectedly normal.
A simple DNA test was done through VetNostic Laboratories to confirm if she was affected by MPS-VI. She was. Why did we not euthanize a dog in this condition? I’m sure my husband and I considered it briefly. Despite the obvious struggles, Grimmy’s bright spirit and determination were undeniable. We brought her home knowing it was a Hospice situation but Grimmy had other plans. She was happy, funny, playful, smart, fabulous and loving. Her mangled body could not contain the distinctive charisma we know as being a Minpin! She held her own amongst 3 Australian Cattledogs. She was fearless. She was a miracle. Grimmy instantly bonded to our Sphynx cat, Gertie, who also happens to live with a chronic illness. They were never far from one another.
Once I began researching MPS-VI, I quickly learned there is scarcely any information out there. There is certainly none explaining how to graciously LIVE with an MPS-VI dog. For 774 days my life revolved around caring for this dog. Sounds daunting but it wasn’t. Even after seeing a Veterinary Specialist who had only seen one other MPS-VI dog in 30 years, all I could do was feed her, adore her and keep her safe. She showed me how things needed to be done. Every day was an adventure. Every day there were challenges and problems to solve. We figured things out as we went. Every single day was a blessing.
We documented Grimmy’s life and death on Facebook. She was a natural Supermodel. Her endearing nature came crashing through every photograph. Her popularity grew and she began inspiring people from all parts of the world. Grimmy was able to channel her strength and determination to those who needed a little boost in the morning. They saw her live a wonderful and full life despite the fact her own body was turning against her. They wept with us as the fatal disease took her. Grimmy died exactly as I knew she would. There were countless times she would wake in a panic, unable to breathe. I slept with her cradled in my arm so was always able to calm her down and pat away the saliva choking her. This particular day, 774 days after she claimed my heart, nothing unusual was happening. We were having a great day. Grimmy was doing what she loved doing more than anything, chewing on a chewy stick. One second she was walking, carrying the chewy stick to a different part of the bed. The next second, she was gone. As soon as I grabbed her, I knew. I tried in vain to bring her back but she was gone. As if a candle, that brightest of lights known as Princess Grimmy, was blown out. Poof! Gone.
One of Grimmy’s friends wrote this to us after her passing: “Thank you for giving Grimmy the best, most normal life possible. You guys made her so happy. When many would have put her down for simply being different or disabled, you decided to lift her as high as possible and declare her a Princess! You gave her a crown and she became Princess Grimmy.”
We are forever changed after loving this incredible dog.
Mommy, Daddy & Gerts
Grew Angel Wings:
After making the big move from New York to California, it took some time before Horus’ person, Hilary, was settled enough to have a dog in her life. Then, in August of 2014, she saw Horus’ picture on the Mutt Scouts adoption page. She kept his picture open in her browser for a week and in the following, forms were filled out and an appointment to meet was set.
Hilary’s love for senior dogs was a perfect fit with Horus’ initial description as being an old timer that would need some extra love. That, along with his charming personality, made signing the adoption papers a no brainer. But a few months in and many many vet trips later, it became very clear that he needed special attention in the way none of her senior dogs before had needed. Both she and vet were puzzled by how his body was assembled. His vet suspected some type of enzyme deficiency because his heart was arrhythmic and enlarged with a large murmur, his teeth in poor condition, and is bones and joints abnormally shaped.
Horus received treatments for each issue but it wasn’t until Hilary was contacted over Instagram by other dogs with MPS-VI that she found out about the disease that connected them all. It turned out Horus wasn’t old and there were other dogs out there who were just like him!
Horus spends his days glued to Hilary’s side. He loves being with people and traveling all over LA in his tote bag. His hobbies include eating, sleeping on Hilary’s lap while she works at the computer and playing with a tiny, squeaky tennis ball. Both he and Hilary are forever grateful that they’ve been able to learn about and meet other families with MPS dogs.
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Adopted: Dec, 2017
Age: 1.5 years old
Lemon Pancake was brought in as stray to the hospital where my husband is a veterinarian in December of 2017. We decided to give her a chance, despite her many medical issues, because we fell in love with her huge, sassy personality. She is obsessed with the dog park, and will throw tantrums if we make her walk by it without going inside. She loves our other dog, an 11 year old pitbull named Dill Pickle, who is very tolerant of her constantly needing to be near him (or on top of him). She is great with people, especially kids, and we are currently working with Pet Partners to become registered as a therapy dog team. She is a good sport about all the medical treatments she has to go through, and loves going to physical therapy every week. She has custom leg braces that help her walk without her legs hyper-extending, and she puts up with them like a trooper. She loves going on long walks to Central Park, and when she gets tired she rolls around in her stroller, or a little red wagon. We are trying to take her diagnosis in stride, while making each day something special for her to enjoy.
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Lucy was adopted on Valentines Day, Feb 14th 2015. She was 10 weeks old. We were told she was a German Pinscher with a deformed clavicle. It didn’t take long to figure out she wasn’t a German Pinscher, or that she was special. We ran multiple tests at the vet and got a lot of assumptions/guesses. One idea was she mixed with a breed that caused her chest to stick out like it does. At that point we had a DNA test to determine she was a pure bread minpin. Then we kind of stopped trying to worry about Lucy’s specialness, we thought some of it had to do with being a small dog, it was our first experience with such a tiny breed (her sister is a 70b Boxer named Roxy). Then we noticed things progressing, she use to go up the stairs (never down), but that stopped, people started asking questions etc. My step mom, Dianne, who is apart of New Beginnings for Animals in O.C. had seen Walter’s story and she put two and two together. She showed us Walter and I contacted his mommy. From there we had the University Of Penn test her and they confirmed Lucy is MPS VI positive.
Today Lucy is 1yr 7 months old, she is healthy, still walks and likes to play with her sister and her chew toys when she has the energy. Lucy’s favorite things are soft blankies and cuddles. She requires a lot of attention and she gets it! Our theory is we’re going to cram the 15 years of love the average minpin gets into the time she has. Were hoping she has many more years as apart of our family.
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Grew Angel Wings: August 15, 2017
Mort is a 5-year old Staffie-Min Pin mix. He was rescued from a ditch in Mexico when he was 3 months old, where he was found starving and very close to death. He was diagnosed with multiple health conditions and upon his arrival at our home with his forever family, we began treatment for these conditions. Mort is just about the sweetest dog; he has been definitively diagnosed with MPSVI; as well as epilepsy, cognitive delay, and a dental condition that causes him to grow multiple sets of teeth. He will spend the rest of his life on various medications for these conditions and thanks to this treatment, as of today (March 16, 2017), he has over 98 days seizure free!
Mort loves to play with his adopted fur siblings and to snuggle with his human mom. He loves to watch colourful childrens shows on TV (as long as there aren’t flashing lights), he loves his little cheese treat that he gets with his meds three times a day and his favourite food is watermelon. He loves his little walks in the neighbourhood but he does have joint problems that cause him some discomfort.
Mort is a precious little boy and everyone who meets him loves him immediately. He is gentle and fun-loving and is as snuggly as they come and our lives are so much richer for the love he shares with us.
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Grew Angel Wings: April 2012
Age: 6 months
Frankie and Oscar were born October 11, 2011. They were part of a litter of six miniature schnauzers. In mid April, Oscar passed away from MPS after a rapid degeneration.
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Nickname: Peter Pan
Adopted: December 2012
Grew Angel Wings: April 17, 2015
Late December 2012 the shelter received a phone call from a local vet hospital, 2 dog had been dropped off in their parking lot and they were going to bring them to us. Not an unusual phone call, but a sad one none the less. When the tech arrived close to closing, he brought a Chihuahua mix and a 3.5 pound, black and tan mess of a dog who couldn’t walk. I immediately put down my lunch and grabbed this pitiful creature. This dog was nothing more than bones with a light sheet of skin and fur, a beating heart, breath that could be smelled 5 feet away and cloudy eyes. He was so malnourished, he weighed only 3.5 pounds. The spaces between his ribs were sunken in, his hip bones could be seen from across the room. His front feet were odd looking, almost like flippers, all of his leg joints were swollen. The coloring and general size of this dog made me believe him to be a geriatric min pin.
This Chihuahua was given intake vaccines and placed in a kennel. The one still in my arms was given half of cheeseburger, a stack of pillows, wrapped in a blanket and set next to my desk in the lobby. As I locked up and left for the night, I was sure this guy wouldn’t be alive when I came in the following morning, I gave him kisses, tried to make him comfortable as comfortable as possible and told him that I hoped he could forgive humans, not all of us would treat a dog so badly.
The next morning as I drove to work, I prepared myself for the worst. I got out of my truck, walked to the front doors, and almost pooped myself when I saw a little black and tan thing standing at the front door, wagging a crooked tail. When I opened the door he barked, though it sounded like someone stepped on a duck, and did a little happy dance. I picked him up and he licked my face and made a little strange whining noise. That was it, this guy wasn’t going anywhere, and he was mine.
He was examined by our shelter vet who thought he was around 9 years old due to his eyes being so cloudy and teeth which were covered in green and brown. On Purina Body Condition System, this guys was a 1. To be considered a #1 on this scale a dog must show, “Ribs, lumbar, vertebrae, pelvic bones and all bony prominences evident from a distance. No discernible body fat. Obvious loss of muscle mass.” Our vet also recommended x-rays of his joints and chest which was abnormally large and oddly shaped.
It was then we decided on the name Peter Pan. In the movie, Peter Pan sang a song about never growing up.
I scheduled an appointment with my vet and added blood work. Dr. Shaw walked in the room and took one look at Pan, gave a good chuckle and adoringly called Pan a “creature.” After the first x-ray had been taken I was advised to have an EKG performed, Peter Pan had an abnormally large heart. Shockingly all of his blood work and EKG were all normal, and his x-rays showed what looked to be his joints slowly disintegrating. Since his blood work and EKG were all clear, and once he gained some weight, we were clear to have his teeth cleaned and a much needed neuter.
After a few months, we finally got Pan up to 5.5 pounds. Pan became known as the shelter mascot and people came from all over to see him and bring him clothes and treats. Have I mentioned that since the day he ate cheeseburger, Pan never touched dog food again? I know people food is bad for dogs, we all know that but this dog pulled at peoples heart strings! He had us all wrapped around his crooked paw.
Pan was featured on the front page of our local newspaper, promoting our shelters new transport van. He was asked to come to classrooms and teach responsible pet ownership to elementary students. Pan was invited to numerous galas, events and benefits for animal wellbeing, rescue and care. This local celebrity also received presents from folks all over. Most people would sent home made goodies or clothes, Pan had great fashion sense and always dressed for the occasion.
Another Animal Control Officer, Mark Miracle, came in one day and asked if I had seen “Pan’s cousin.” I laughed because I had never seen another dog look anything like our Pan Man. That is when we found Walter. Mark had been sent a link to the Facebook page, All About Walter. We were all absolutely floored when we saw Walter! He looked so much like Pan. The face, the feet, the body, all Pan. We HAD to find out more about this dog. We sent Walter’s mommy, Gabi, a message and a photo of Pan. Gabi recommended we have Pan tested for MPS type VI and introduced us to so many people who knew about MPS. We made a Facebook page for Peter Pan, the life and times of the Pan, and shared his story.
Pan was tested and deemed to have MPS VI. Medically, there wasn’t anything that could be done about it, but at least we knew what was going on. We were gathering so much information through Facebook and other, other dogs were found and tested.
April 17th, 2015, Pan was dressed in his tux and ready to mingle at 2015’s SARG Paws for life Gala. When pulling into the parking lot, Pam started breathing heavily and within minutes, he was gone. CPR was attempted but did not revive him. Pan was immediately taken to Dr. Shaw, who took him to the University of Tennessee for necropsy.
Results showed that Pan’s body just gave out. He went into heart and respiratory failure. There was nothing that could’ve been done to save him.
Adopted: September 2015
Jeffrey and I (Genevieve) adopted her from a local shelter in Oregon in September, 2015. She was an adorable little kitten, who stole my heart immediately. While we noticed that she was not very fond of jumping up and off things like furniture, we did not notice anything out of the ordinary with her until she started growing. As first we noticed she was starting to walk a little funky, and when our vet could not determine the cause and an xray was done, they found she had severe hip dysplasia (her hips were basically not in her sockets), which was incredibly bizarre for a kitten a couple months in age. From there, she deteriorated very quickly, and soon could not use her back legs. Our vet finally dug up some research on MPS and we had her tested through UPenn Vet, which came back positive.
Although she could not use her back legs, nothing seemed to stop little Pepper. She still got herself around pretty much everywhere she wanted, was quite playful and seemed very happy, cuddly (and purrs and awful lot) – she just kept going! While our vets were preparing us for the worst – that she may not live to be a year old – we found that Pepper had soon stabilized, and did not appear to be in any pain, and was still mobile (and had figured out a remarkable bathroom routine with her humans). In fact, she had slowly started regaining strength in her back legs, and started getting herself up on her back legs again and walking. She seems to have settled and found out how to use her new body, and while she is not able to completely stand up, today she is more or less completely mobile and independent. She is celebrating her second birthday on June 26th! She even braved the cross-country road trip when Jeffrey and I moved to NYC last fall. While this journey has not always been easy for us, she has taught us so much about resilience and unconditional love. We are celebrating every day we get with her, and hoping she will continue to thrive despite the odds, as she has her whole little life so far. We’re obsessed with this little nugget! Peppers favorite things are freeze dried minnows, bird watching, climbing into boxes and paper bags, ribbons, and cuddling up close with her humans.
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Grew Angel Wings: March 8, 2016
A life ended too soon.
We don’t fully know Smooshy’s story, but we will share with you the families time with her.
We do know that Smooshy was under a year old and everyone was unsure of her breed, it was a question to all of them. The vets were thinking she was supposed to be a large breed pup, but due to the MPS her growth was stunted tremendously. If she was to grow any bigger it would have damaged her limbs and spine even more than it already affected them.
Smooshy was surrendered to Maricopa County Animal Care & Countrol in Phoenix, AZ by her previous owner! Her owner no longer was able to care for her. Smooshy was scheduled to be euthanized the day they brought her in. The owner, Angie Hopson, of the rescue “Arizona Dog Adoptions” was contacted to see if she would take Smooshy. Angi, with the enormous heart she has, couldn’t say no. Angi brought this cute puppy to her rescue and gave her the sweet name Smooshy. Due to Smooshy’s condition she had to remain in a kennel while she healed from kennel cough.
Smooshy was at the rescue and a week later her mommy to be, Michelle, met her. When Michelle met Smooshy her heart sank. She spent some time petting Smooshy and then had to head back home. Michelle already had a foster at home at the time, and couldn’t risk her foster or her 8 personal dogs getting sick from Smooshy’s kennel cough.
The following weekend Michelle’s foster was adopted, and she went back to the rescue, and there she still was, beautiful Smooshy. Michelle fell in love instantly. A few volunteers told her that Smooshy’s kennel didn’t have to be latched shut because she wouldn’t leave it. Well, while Michelle was leaving the room Smooshy was in, she looked down and Smooshy ran/wobbled out of the kennel to her feet. Michelle’s heart broke into pieces for the second time. Michelle picked her up, gave her lots of kisses, and told her how much she loved her already. She told Smooshy that she would be back for her.
Michelle hurried home to discuss Smooshy with her Mother. Her mother agreed that they had to have her. From this point it was a LONG two days before she was able to bring Smooshy home. Michelle couldn’t sleep, all she could see was Smooshy. Her heart longed for her.
Finally, Smooshy was home with Michelle! Everyone in the family had an instant connection for her. Including Michelle’s dog pack!
Smooshy would take a few steps and stop, they had to carry her around majority of the time. Shehad a hard time walking for long periods of time on the hard wood floors, so they put area rugs out for her to walk on.
Smooshy had a deformed spine, deformed legs, as well as a crazy long tongue, and hardly any teeth. Smooshy’s teeth resembled shark teeth (layered) and nubs. None of her teeth had fully grown out, but that didn’t stop her from eating kibble one bit.
Michelle and her family loved Smooshy like they had her forever. The family only had her for a short two weeks, which was ultimately the best two weeks in their home. She brought so much laughter and joy. Smooshy LOVED hard. Smooshy loved the outdoors, the breeze, the fresh air. She loved being in Michelle’s bed, she loved being held, she loved giving millions of kisses, she loved trying to slap the other dogs with her crooked paws. Smooshy just LOVED life. Nothing slowed her down.
Until – the day of her check up. This was the day they had to say goodbye. This day was completely unexpected for the family. Everything had deteriorated quickly for Smooshy. They had NO clue of any of it. Smooshy showed no signs of pain of discomfort until the night before her Dr. appointment, when her breathing got tougher and started to worry the family.
“I will never forget my sweet girl. Yes, we only had her for two weeks, but that two weeks felt like a lifetime of pure happiness. I still get choked up talking about her, or when I look at her pictures, or her URN. (The family had her cremated and brought her home). A part of me feels like I shouldn’t have made the decision I made. I feel a tremendous amount of guilt. Did I end her life too soon? Could she have lived a few more years? The what if’s, could have’s, should have’s kill me. Then again, I think of what the Vet told me. Smooshy is slowly suffocating. Her lungs are deteriorating. And I couldn’t let my baby girl continue to live like that, to where she ultimately suffocates to death. I wish I had someone to blame? Her previous owners, or the ones who let the bad breeding take effect? Life isn’t fair. I pray that she forgives me for the choice I made.
Until I see my baby again. – Michelle”
One good thing out of this is that now there are three more Vet’s in Phoenix now know about MPS-VI and are learning more.
Smooshy is running around with a handful of Michelle’s other furbabies, as well as yours.
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Nickname: Tucker Wears Goggles
Adopted: July 2013
Grew Angel Wings: November 6, 2017
In July of 2013 Tucker’s mom, Brittany, had spent weeks looking online for the first puppy she would care for herself. When she stumbled across a little albino pup with blue eyes, named “Snowball,” she immediately knew the two of them had to meet. The following weekend Brittany entered a Woodland Hills Petco in Los Angeles, CA and met the love of her life, a pup she would call, Tucker. Tucker was a very mellow, shy, little guy who fit perfectly in Brittany’s arms and she knew that day that he would be coming home with her.
A few days later when the woman from the pet adoption agency dropped Tucker off she let Brittany know the 6 month old puppy would need to learn how to walk. Brittany, having never raised a dog on her own, didn’t realize that a 6-month old pup should already be running and jumping around. Brittany had no problem taking on the responsibility of teaching little Tuck how to walk, and after only a few days she taught him to walk on his own. Even though Tucker was walking, something was very noticeable about him. He walked very slow and never ran or jumped. At the time Tucker’s mom didn’t really think much of it, she figured him getting around differently was due to the fact that he was still a puppy.
After about a month had passed Tucker slowly started showing signs of noticeable differences when compared to most other dogs. For example, only being able to walk slowly, not being able to sit up straight on his bottom, and other physical differences with his bones and muscles. So, the journey started to find a vet, not only with answers, but one that would actually be willing to help them. In the begining they had very little luck. Brittany and Tucker decided the best direction was to focus on allowing Tuck to receive unconditional love and the best life possible.
In January, 2015 while getting his heart checked, a vet suggested that Tuck may have a disease called MPS VI (Mucopolysaccharidosis type VI). The kind vet informed Brittany that there was no cure, or proven treatment for the disease, and that not many vets had a lot of knowledge on the disease. The vet suggested that Brittany go home and research the disease and manage complications as they occurred. So, she did just that. She went home and started researching and learning as much as possible about MPS VI. During her research, Brittany came across a few other dogs with MPS VI, Grimmy, Walter, and Pan. This was a huge relief for the two because they had finally found people and dogs to relate to and receive help and support from.
Fast forward to today. Tucker leads a very happy life with a sweet, and sometimes feisty personality. He is such a strong little man and doesn’t let anything get in his way of what he wants to do. Tucker has adapted so well to the changes MPS has made on his body throughout his 3 years and he continues to take on any changes that come his way with ease.
A great example of his strong spirit would be the way he gets around today, seeing as he lost ability to walk with his front legs in March of 2015. Soon after, he taught himself to crawl around on his bent front legs while walking/pushing himself with his back legs. His family and friends call this his “Army Crawl.”
Tucker and Brittany take his condition day by day and make sure to always celebrate his life by living in the now. They see no reason to worry or stress about the disease he is living with. Tucker starts and ends every day with a wagging tail and a handsome underbite smile. Tucker is currently not taking any medication, however he does attend annual vet visits where his blood is tested, and the vet performs regular EKG’s to check his heart.
Some of Tucker’s favorite things include: Turkey (and LOTS of it!), going for “walks” in his red stroller, and sunbathing. You can usually catch Tucker and his mom walking around their neighborhood with his stroller or soaking up the L.A. rays in their front yard in Sherman Oaks, CA.
Birthday: February 2, 2012
Adopted: April 2012
Grew Angel Wings: February 8, 2016
Vader was a handi-capable 4 year old Miniature Pinscher that lived in Orange County, CA.
Vader was born with a rare genetic disorder known as MPS-VI.
Vader’s story is shared with the world so that everyone may understand that Vader had an amazing life even though he dealt with the challenges of MPS-VI. Vader’s life was not focused on his limitations from his disease, but highlighted on the possibilities a dog can have while living with MPS-VI. His family choose to celebrate the good moments and greet each day with a smile and an opportunity for new adventures. Vader was a happy MPS dog and his family was proud to say he lived to the fullest everyday!
A little background on Vader:
When Vader’s parents got ready to adopt a dog they looked all over the internet for the perfect pet. They came across a litter of Miniature Pinschers and one specifically caught their eye. When mom went to pick up Vader she was surprised to find he was the only puppy left for adoption and he was the one she wanted all along. Vader seemed like a happy healthy puppy when they brought him home.
It wasn’t until Vader started to grow that his parents really noticed things changing. He started to cry a lot and his legs started to grow “funny”. When Vader’s parents took him to the vet they noticed his back hips weren’t connected to the sockets. They gave the family pain meds in hopes it was just growing pain and sent them home. As Vader grew he adapted to his legs and the didn’t seem to give him too many issues.
Vader’s family was also concerned that he had additional issues because of the look of his entire body. After many nights of searching on the internet, Vader’s dad found other dogs that looked just like Vader. The family learned they had a rare genetic disorder called MPS-VI. As rare as MPS is, it happens to be the same disorder Vader’s human aunt passed away from in 2014. Once the family learned that Vader could have this disorder they had him tested right away through VetNostics Laboratories. The test results came back positive for MPS.
Vader lived a fully happy life. He experienced more than most of us can say we have. He changed many lives for the better and he always found a way to smile. Vader’s legacy will carry on through his family and friends.
Many conditions of MPS in dogs are Runny noses, lots of yawning, lack of oxygen, lots of sleeping, curved back bone, enlarged organs, fragile bones, bad teeth, and our favorite – amazing personalities!
What were Vader’s favorite treats? Gummy Bears & French Fries
What are 3 things Vader enjoyed most? Sunshine, Car Rides, and Attention
If Vader went to high school what senior superlative would he have been? The Ladies Man
What did you feed Vader? Vader ate dry puppy food. He did eat a lot but MPS made him look thin, and he was on puppy food because it was soft for his delicate teeth.
Where did Vader love to go? Vader loved to go to car meets in So-Cal
Did Vader bark? Yes, but it sounded more like a tiny quack
Did Vader know any tricks? Yes, Vader could sit, shake, roll over, play dead, and balance treats on his nose.
Vader’s Goodbye Letter:
We feel so honored that we got to call Vader our son. From the first moment we looked at his tiny puppy face on Craigslist to the last time we felt his little heart beat he was perfect in our eyes.
Because of Vader our hearts know everlasting love and we are so proud to have watched him grow and bless others. We are so happy and honored to have been given the opportunity to be his parents.
Vader didn’t miss out on any opportunity life presented him. He went for amazing car rides, ate all sorts of gummy bears, got free French fries at drive throughs, helped a dog get her wheels, had an audition for a tv show, spent many beautiful hours cuddling with many of you, had some epic birthday parties, lived in an RV for a while, kept his sisters in check, and got to be the mascot of an entire website.
Vader lived more than most of us can say we have.
MPS-VI did not kill Vader, Vader overcame the expectations of MPS and kicked it in the pants! We are so proud of our little boy! Now it is his time to continue his adventures in heaven. We are excited to know that Vader will be joining so many others that overcame the expectations of MPS. We take comfort in knowing his aunt Tiffany, cousins Pan, Scooby, Polly, Tigger, and Grimmy will all be there to welcome him home.
Vader spent every day proving life was worth fighting for. Every day should be a reason to smile, even a tiny pup with dislocated legs and a rare disorder could find that reason.
Vader was able to touch and improve so many lives and our wish is that his courage and inspiration continues to inspire others to help those in need. Sometimes even words aren’t necessary. A simple smile can make someone’s day.
Vader was put into this world not just for us but he was sent here for all of you. He was just as much your dog as he was ours. If everyone could take something away from Vader’s life it’s that time is precious and every moment is a gift worth celebrating.
This will not be the end of Vader’s legacy. In honor of him we will continue to help those that are disabled or in need and we will continue to prove that even with disabilities life is still worth enjoying.
We personally would like to thank everyone for the continued support, love, and joy you shared with Vader. He was able to help make so many lives better because of you.
We send you love and blessings and we thank you for sharing Vader with us! – Mommy & Daddy