Born with short spine syndrome, this dog could have easily been the first to be euthanized after arriving at the shelter. But a compassionate animal control worker couldn’t stand the thought of that and took her home instead. Six years later, Cuda is living a happy life and making a difference.
Julie LeRoy was working as an animal control officer in Durham, North Carolina when she received a call that ended up changing her life. Cuda had been bought from Craigslist by some people that couldn’t care for her anymore. Knowing she would end up at a shelter and wouldn’t stand a chance, LeRoy decided to made her part of her family.
Her husband, Scott LeRoy, was not really thrilled at the beginning of bringing another dog into their family since they already had four dogs. But soon enough he fell in love with her and admits Cuda changed their life for the better.
After a first visit to the vet, they discovered she suffers from short spine syndrome, which is a condition that due to the vertebrae being compressed, the spine is shortened and the back looks hunched. In addition to that she suffers from diabetes, which presents another challenge for the couple.
But that hasn’t stopped them from giving Cuda a great life and turning her into an inspiration for many. She lives a normal life with lots of love and cuddles.
Cuda generates all sorts of reactions from people, from the ones that think she is in pain and that Julie is being cruel for keeping her alive and exploiting her like a circus act, to the ones that are more accepting towards her being different.
In 2011, the LeRoy signed her in to the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest in Petaluma, California. Even though they were criticized for their decision, they claim it was based on education. Julie says:
“We thought we could show people that she was not bred for her appearance like so many dogs who end up in that contest are. We wanted to bring a pit bull into the contest. We wanted people to learn about acceptance, tolerance and diversity”.
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They started her Facebook page, “Cuda Cares” to create awareness towards her condition so people stop thinking she is deformed and suffering, but also towards adoption, spay and neuter and towards irresponsible breeding –the guy that sold her was breeding dogs at his house.
As part of educating people, Julie decided to focus on children and used Cuda as a symbol to write a children’s book about acceptance and diversity. She contacted a young artist called Sydney Koehl to make the pictures for the book and “Cuda, the most special Pitbull” was born. It aims to teach children to look at what’s inside someone before judging their outsides.
It seems to me that she got a really good second chance and her life found a great family and a noble purpose. What do you think?