There are so many dogs that are just begging for homes; shelters and rescues are full of them. They might not be fancy dogs with papers, but they have so much love and friendship to give. Sometimes, though, those fancy dogs need rescuing, too. Such was the case for little Willow, a Neapolitan Mastiff puppy. Born to a breeder along with healthy brothers and sisters, Willow could fetch a price of up to $3,000 ... if it weren't for a birth defect. While her siblings were up and walking by about three weeks of age, Willow couldn't get on her feet.
Willow's inability to stand was caused by Swimmer Syndrome, a condition that results in weak development of the limbs. The name of the disease comes from the fact that affected pups look as though they're swimming when they move their limbs while lying flat on their stomachs. There is hope, however; normal movement can be achieved through a regimen of physiotherapy to help the limbs and joints fully develop. Because of this, euthanasia is not recommended for pups with Swimmer Syndrome.
While Willow's breeder was ready to throw in the towel rather than dealing with what could be extensive veterinary bills, Jennifer Decker Williams was ready to step up and take care of the pup. Williams founded 2nd Chances Rescue, an organization in Norco, California dedicated to rescuing dogs from the streets and shelters and rehoming them safely. Since she was rescued, Willow's recovery has gone absolutely swimmingly!