Short Spine Dog Stands Tall

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Short Spine Dog Stands Tall
“Frog dog” Ivy takes social media by storm!

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“DOG OF THE YEAR!” reads the top comment on one of @frogqueenivy’s Instagram posts. Like any dog, Ivy, a tiny Pitbull mix, jumps to catch a ball. Unlike other dogs, her leap is less agile and more like, well, a frog.

The little dog has gained 3.6 million followers on TikTok (@ivyvibing) and 149K followers on Instagram. “Since the day I got her, I started taking pictures of her just for the memories. I had hundreds for myself and friends before I decided to post a few on TikTok,” says Ivy’s owner Luis (last name withheld for privacy). “I think it was our third video that went viral, and I was definitely surprised about the number of views.” (The video has over 12.3 million views to date.)

@ivyvibing

Frog queen

♬ Day 'N' Nite (nightmare) - Kid Cudi

Many of Ivy’s videos show her playing with Luis, his partner Maria, and fellow pets Ortley and Gio, or relaxing in the sun. It’s easy to see why her accounts are popular. Ivy’s expressive face and mischievous tendencies are adorable. But Ivy’s unique, frog-like build, due to Short Spine Syndrome, is also something that interests viewers.

A rare condition that can affect animals and humans, Short Spine Syndrome (SSS), causes spine vertebrae to remain in a cartilage state and fuse together, compressing and shortening the spine. The result is dogs like Ivy have restricted movement and are at greater risk for an ingrown or infected tail. Despite their physical limitations, dogs with SSS can live long, healthy lives. To Luis, Ivy is completely normal, despite her unique looks. “I expected a few people to notice she looked different but was surprised that nearly everyone could see it. I suppose after spending days with her 24/7, I didn’t see that she looked very different anymore.”

Ivy found her way to Luis and Maria when Ivy was rehomed through family friends. At first, Luis wasn’t sure about affording the cost of future treatments. “But after a day of having her, it didn’t matter,” Luis recalls. “She has brought only happiness to us and our other dog. Caring for her has been the highlight of our year!”

Social media comments range anywhere from support and encouragement to genuine offers to buy the little dog (rejected, of course). Other users comment on how Ivy’s content has given them hope, helping them through challenging times. “A lot of people use her as their strength, their motivation to keep trying despite the odds against them because Ivy does it too. We have gotten a few comments telling us that seeing our account, and knowing that dogs with disabilities can live happily if taken care of, has inspired them to adopt one and try to give them their best life.”

Luis is optimistic about the interest Ivy has sparked in studying and treating SSS. “Ivy and many other short spine dogs are involved in research done at Purdue University, which aims to determine the cause of SSS. It may help them figure out why it happens to humans, as well.”

Ivy’s fans don’t have to worry about a shortage of Ivy content, as her owners plan to continue her social media feeds. “We will definitely continue posting regular updates to our fans—it brings us happiness to bring joy through Ivy’s posts. People just like seeing a dog be happy and enjoy life, even with her disability. People like seeing her enjoying things that other dogs do. She’s just a funny gal!”

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