Emma Has Deformed Legs and Can’t Walk — But That Didn’t Stop Her When Daddy Returned from Deployment

The Bulldog-Pit Bull mix usually waits to be picked up, but not after a six-month separation.

Liz Acosta  |  Apr 8th 2013


Grab a tissue — you’re going to need it. Emma is a sweet 1-year-old American Bulldog and Pit Bull mix. She’s a pretty normal dog — she loves her human friends, Melissa Swanson and her husband, as well as her dog friends, Mikey and Jesse — but if you look at these photos of Emma you might notice there’s something special about her.

Emma suffers from a congenital vertebrae anomaly called hemivertebrae, as well as a neurological disorder similar to cerebral palsy. Her combined conditions mean her front legs are bowed out and her hind legs are essentially useless. Swanson has talked to wheelchair providers about outfitting Emma with a cart, but because her front legs are not quite normal, none of the available options have worked so far. But Swanson is still trying.

However, her lack of mobility didn’t stop Emma from eagerly greeting Swanson’s husband upon his return from deployment. Before he left for six months, he and Emma developed a special bond. According to Swanson, Emma usually waits at the end of the hall for him to come pick her up, but on the day of his return, Emma simply could not hold still.

The video of their reunion can be a little difficult to watch — indeed, it’s a little painful to watch Emma drag her limp hind legs, but it’s also touching to see how much she loves her human friend, and how she’s willing to do anything to be near him.

Swanson originally took Emma in as a foster, but fell in love with the dog, and now they are a happy family.

If you’re interested in learning more about Emma and what you can do to help, check out her Facebook page, as well as the site for the Special Needs Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation organization that originally found Emma.

Photos via Emma’s Facebook page

Have you met Lentil? He’s a French Bulldog with a cleft palate who eats through a tube. There’s also Shadi, a three-legged dog who got a new set of wheels. Don’t have a dog but would like to adopt one? Consider a deaf dog.

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