Here's someone you haven't seen in a while ... our wobbling, dancing girl Soba. I took these photos on Sunday afternoon. Soba is the one who was born with cerebellar hypoplasia, which means her cerebellum -- the part of the brain that helps with motor skills and balance -- wasn't fully developed. Soba came to us many years ago from a shelter in Iowa, along with her sister Noodle, who we subsequently lost to another medical condition.
Cerebellar hypoplasia can happen if the mother contracts a virus while pregnant, and it can affect the entire litter in different degrees. In Soba's case, one brother in the litter was almost completely paralyzed, one was unaffected at all, and the three puppies in the middle of the spectrum -- including Soba and Noodle -- had varying degrees of it. Noodle was hunched over and could only walk in short bursts, then tumble over.
Soba, on the other hand, though distinctly compromised in her coordination, rarely falls over and prefers to get around under her own power. We tried wheelchairs with Soba and Noodle a long time ago but found that Noodle's body was too bent to use one effectively, while Soba chafed at being confined to the wheelchair and wanted to be free to wobble and dance around.
The funny thing is that Soba, the most physically challenged of our animals these days, still considers herself the watchdog of the pack. (She says, "Hey, at least I can see, unlike those other guys!") So she'll be quick to start barking as soon as anyone shows up in the driveway above the dog yards.
Whoever is visiting will look down at the barking dog, who is wobbling and looking like she's going to tip over at any moment, and ask, "What's wrong with that dog?"
"Nothing," we say. "She's just been drinking again."
(Yes, then we go on and explain.)
In the photo at top, you can see the wide stance of her front and back legs. As a puppy, cerebellar hypoplasia dogs learn to make these kinds of adjustments to increase their stability. They also use their tails a lot more for balance, so their tails are frequently in motion. Here's another view of Soba:
She doesn't stay that way for long, but it's the classic stance for a dog with cerebellar hypoplasia.
New Shelter Challenge Contest -- Please Vote for the Farm!
The latest Shelter Challenge started Monday, January 7 and ends on April 28. Grand prize in this round is $10,000, $3,000 for second place and $1,000 for third place, plus $1,000 for weekly winners and $1,000 for state winners. There are also other categories ... please see the Shelter Challenge website for details.
*** You will find us listed as Rolling Dog Farm. The state is NH for New Hampshire. ***
Please remember, you can vote every day ... consider bookmarking the voting page to make it easy.
We just won $1,000 as a weekly winner in the last contest, and thousands more in the previous contests. The Shelter Challenge really does bring in a lot of money for the animals here!
You can vote in the Shelter Challenge here.
Thank you for your votes!