Dogs
Brave ‘starfish’ puppy is so determined to run
It's so inspiring to watch Hugo's journey.
Elijah Chan
12.22.21

You can create miracles out of sheer will.

Life can deal us with a set of bad hands, but sometimes, we can dig our way out and into a better story just as long as we keep faith to ourselves and those around us.


YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo

While things can indeed be challenging, and some days will be much worse than others, we just need to keep on showing up until the world shows up for us.

Hugo was born as a “starfish”.

The adorable grey pit bull was splayed down on the floor when he emerged into this world. According to his Facebook page, the affliction is called “swimmer’s syndrome.”


YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo

It is known by many names, like “swimming puppy syndrome”, “flat puppy syndrome”, or “turtle pup”. But all of those are characterized by a deformity in the limbs, most commonly the hind limbs, where they are “splayed laterally”.


YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo

This deformity can render any dog disabled. There’s no known treatment for the affliction and it’s for this reason that some puppies are euthanized at birth. But luckily, Hugo was given the chance to rise to the odds.

From a very young age, Hugo displayed the immense will to walk.

At first, he could only push himself forward by either dragging his hind legs behind him or pushing himself forward using his hind legs.


YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo

It’s not much at first but it gave him the mindset needed to stand up on his own. He fed his curiosities with short-range adventures. If his travels take him far or near, he doesn’t care. All he needs to do is keep on moving.

And when you help yourself, people pitch in to prop you up.

Waddling and crawling on the ground can practice his body and recognize sensations on his legs. But eventually, he needs to practice putting weight on them if he wants to use them fully.


YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo

With this, he underwent water therapy where he can float and use all of his legs to lift himself up. They also used underwater treadmills so they could simulate standing. They also used resistance bands to tie his legs together so he wouldn’t split or splay.

Every day is practice day, but he was determined,

He might be a little puppy but he has repeatedly proved that his heart is much bigger than people imagined.

If the other dogs ran, he did too. He doesn’t mind that he can’t catch up. All he knows is that he can and he will run alongside them.

Days turned to weeks and weeks into months.

Hugo was fortunate enough to be adopted into a loving family. This gave him a place to be himself, most especially when it’s easy to limit him into his disability.

After constant training and guidance, his wobbly legs slowly began to take shape. It would’ve been easy to give up early but how can they when Hugo is not giving up on himself?

Soon enough, his determination bore fruit. Hugo is now seen not only walking but sprinting around dogs twice his size. He can also jump and lunge at other dogs – things that were deemed impossible when he was just growing up.

YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo
Source:
YouTube Screenshot - The Dodo

It’s easy to say that it’s a miracle. But for Hugo, it’s all about pushing. It’s all about running when you’re told you can’t. And it’s all about determination.

Watch how this pitbull become a miracle when he gave in to his desire to run.

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By Elijah Chan
hi@sbly.com
Elijah Chan is a contributor at SBLY Media.
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