Not everyone wanted to give little Herbie the French bulldog a chance at life.
Herbie, now 9 weeks old, was born with hydrocephalus, said Nikki Carvey, who runs the Los Angeles bulldog rescue group Road Dogs & Rescue. The condition means fluid builds up inside the skull, potentially causing issues like head swelling, lack of balance and even blindness.
“His breeder brought him to be euthanized but someone intervened and got him to Road Dogs & Rescue instead,” Carvey told The Huffington Post in an email.
And Carvey didn’t feel the puppy deserved to have his life ended so soon.
“I wanted to give Herbie a chance because when you meet him, you can see he has a feisty spirit,” she said. “When he first saw the neurologist a month ago, they said to see how he did in the next couple of weeks … Herbie has kept fighting so we’ll continue to fight with him!”
She explained that while the condition is usually fatal if untreated, “some dogs with hydrocephalus can go on to live happy lives if they get the care they need.”
Now, Herbie, who suffers from the inability to stand or walk, is undergoing physical therapy with canine rehabilitation center Two Hands Four Paws. He's on medication to reduce the fluid in his skull and he will also likely need brain surgery when he’s 6 months old.
But despite his disabilities, Herbie has the personality of a totally normal little dog.
“He is a sweet, playful puppy,” Carvey said. “He wants to run around but because he hasn’t been able to stand or walk, he scoots himself along his side.”
Carvey says that Herbie will likely be available for adoption after he's had surgery. (However, Road Dogs & Rescue has other animals up for adoption, and there are literally millions of pets in shelters around the country looking for homes.)
Herbie exemplifies the issues that can occur when people breed dogs irresponsibly, Carvey said. And bulldogs are especially susceptible to a variety of health problems. As a dog rescuer, she recommends adopting a dog in need of a home. But for people who do go to a breeder, she stresses the importance of making sure they find a responsible one.
“People need to research the breed - and the breeder!” she said. “There are way too many backyard breeders out there who just want to make a buck and don't care about the health of the dogs,” she wrote.