At 10 weeks old, a tiny pup was found abandoned in a Heineken box on the beach with her four legs splayed out flat, making her look like a starfish—hence, how she got her name.
Starfish didn’t have the ability to walk due to the condition of her legs; furthermore, it would later be discovered that she also has flattened organs.
“Her body was flat, her organs were flat and the vet recommended euthanasia,” Starfish’s mom, Leigh Anne Gray, wrote on GoFundMe.
However, the head of the animal shelter objected and sought a specialist’s opinion.
Upon examination, the specialist recognized the symptoms and stated that Starfish had swimmer puppy syndrome—a developmental deformity of newborn dogs.
Now knowing what condition Starfish had, the family placed her in rehabilitation.
“She responded to everything they taught her because she wanted it so bad,” Gray said.Even though Starfish moved like she was swimming, she never gave up.
“All we had to do was to get her feet up underneath her, and as soon as we got her onto the grass, and she had a little something to hold onto, she’d just—she’d follow us anywhere,” Gray told The Dodo.
The strong-willed Starfish showed much determination. Even when she stumbled down a flight of stairs, she attempted to climb it again five minutes later.“The fact that she works at it so hard gives me hope,” Gray said.After two months of physical rehabilitation, Starfish’s efforts paid off—she was walking!
Starfish’s tenacious spirit has been an inspiration to Gray and her family.“That determination, that excitement for life was missing for me,” Gray said. “I feel lucky that she came our way.”
Watch Starfish’s story in the video below: